L. Michael White/Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica

MF CASR Lunch with Mary Jane Cuyler

“Pagan” Statuettes from the Ancient Synagogue at Ostia


23.11.2021 - 11:30
Mary Jane Cuyler

Please join us for this MF CASR Lunch in person at the MF Library, or watch on Zoom.  (Click here for the Zoom link.)

Zoom Meeting ID: 641 0559 5003
Passcode: MFCASR

During the 1962 excavations at the ancient synagogue of Roman Ostia, two mold-made terracotta votive statuettes came to light. One statuette is a representation of Venus, and the other depicts a youth carrying a backpack and holding a patera (a vessel used for libations). Since the excavations at the synagogue were never published, these statuettes remained largely unknown, and their significance and connection to the synagogue structure has never been established.  This paper first presents an iconographical and functional interpretation of the figurines before assessing their precise findspot, which we can now reconstruct based on new excavations at the site.