Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Building: Sanctuary of Isis (ca. 100 BCE-79 CE) Pompeii - Campania

Pompeii (Campania, Italy — Pleiades map),
August Mau, Pompeii: Life and Art (trans. Francis W. Kelsey; New York: MacMillan, 1902) 168-182 = Nielsen 2014, 68-70 = AGRW ID# 23943


For relevant documents on this site, see: RICIS 504/0209-0210.

Description:  Located near the so-called Triangular Forum and adjacent to the theatre (in Regio VIII, Insula 7), the sanctuary of Isis was first built around the end of the second century BCE and subsequently rebuilt and expanded after the earthquake of 62 CE.  Portions of the older building, including columns and capitals, were reused in the new construction.  An inscription at the entrance (located in the northeastern corner = I) clarifies that Numerius Popidius Celsinus (with the help of his parents, since he was only 6 years old) was responsible for the rebuilding (CIL X 846).  The expanded structure, which generally followed the basic pattern of the original, measured 31 x 20.8 m (620 m2) and consisted of a portico (C) surrounding a courtyard, where the temple proper (A + B) was located (3 x 4.7 m), and there were several other smaller rooms, including a dining room (G, measuring 4.8 x 3.62 m) and a kitchen (H). There were three larger altars and five smaller ones, each of the smaller ones between the columns.  Seven steps led up to the foyer (pronaos) of the temple (B) and there was a podium for images of the deities at the rear of the temple itself.  The larger hall or Ekklesiasterion (E) in the northwestern area was likely for assemblies and the smaller room to the south (D) may have been used for rituals.  Although the temple itself shows connections with the civic leaders and the civic council, there are indications that other groups of Isis-devotees frequented the temple.  In particular, two graffiti nearby attest to the involvement of groups of Isis worshippers (Isiaci) in pressing for the election of particular candidates for civic office (RICIS 504/0209-0210).

Translation by: Harland

Plan of the Sanctuary of Isis at Pompeii. Adapted from Mau 1902. Public domain.

Plan of the Sanctuary of Isis at Pompeii.

Adapted from Mau 1902. Public domain.

Item added: April 7, 2016
Item modified: April 7, 2016
ID number: 23943
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