Sunday, December 4, 2011

Alex and Rebecca at the British Museum - Part 1... Roman Gods and Goddesses in England

Alex and I took a 'learning day' and headed off to the British Museum, where we went on three (yes, count 'em THREE) of the eye opener tours.

Votives (Roman influences)

First one was the "Romanized England" tour.  This was basically the period where Rome was busy colonizing England (roughly 100 to 400 AD).  We learned that 10% of Rome's soldiers were stationed in England, and that 70% of England's silver went to Rome.  Indeed, the guide talked about the golden age of english silver production (which was a bit odd.... to have a golden age of silver).  Still, it was fun looking at the little votive figures, looking at the ways in which the Brits adopted Roman gods, and practices of worship.

The Hinton St. Mary's Christ

We also got to get up close with the Hinton St Mary Mosaic.  It is one of the first known representations of Christ in the British Isles... it was fun listening to her explain how they can tell this one is Christ, rather than one of the Roman gods. ...part of the challenge for the mosaic maker would have been figuring out how to do a representation of someone he had never seen (as there were not yet lots of images around... it was easier to do roman gods since they all had attributes to help you recognize them: ie. lyre, arrows, trident, apples, etc).  We learned that the two letters behind his head are the first two letters of his name. We also learned that the romans invented concrete.  how did i not already know that?!


Also new to me was the "Ashwell Hoard".  In 2002, a guy out with a metal detector located a bunch of gold and silver wrapped in a bundle and buried in the ground.  He contacted the museum, who thus not only got their hands on this find, but could also learn more by exploring where the cache was found.  Amongst the jewelry and votive pieces was a votive statue named "Senuna".  Until 2002, she was apparently unknown.  They think now she was one of the local gods (celtic?) who was being worshipped alongside Minerva (the roman influenced goddess).... tells something about the mixing of local and foreign religious practices.  They don't know why the stuff was buried, but there you go.... always as much left unknow as stuff figured out.  Sort of like my life....


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.