La "Palaestra" d'Herculanum: un sanctuaire d'Isis et de la Mater Deum Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2010

start page

  • 229

end page

  • 264


  • 84

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0031-0387


  • The concentration of a large quantity of material linked to isiac and metroac cults inside and round the so-called Palaestra at Herculanum and the connotations of certain pieces which point to their original belonging to a context of religious and public nature induce us to look for a different interpretation of the building"s function. The architectural analysis reveals anomalies which do not correspond to the typical characteristics of Roman palaestras but far more correspond to various prototypes of Hellenistic origin. We here propose to identify the so-called Palaestra with a shrine dedicated broadly speaking to the Mater Deum, namely that under that name there could be found the Phrygian Cybel (presumably since Augustan times) as well as the Egyptian Isis (possibly added in the Flavian era).


  • campus; harpocrate; herculanum; isis; mater deum; palaestra; sanctuaire; harpocrates; mater deum; shrine