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+39 0736 253562
Piazza Arringo, 28 - 63100 Ascoli Piceno
+39 0736 253562
Piazza Arringo, 28 - 63100 Ascoli Piceno


Roman religion is a public issue: a Roman citizen had to worship the gods to ensure health and prosperity of the State. Traditional gods were worshipped. However, the imperial period corresponded to the beginning of the cult of the princeps who was often honoured not only after his death but also during his lifetime.  Council of priests were composed of high-rank figures, and were created to perform ceremonies to honour the emperor. 
Together with the State religion, there were many cults that were linked with private sphere.   On one side, there were the most ancient ones with domestic altars where small bronze statues were preserved; they depicted Lares, i.e. the gods that were guardians of the household and its inhabitants.    On the other side, there were more recent cults introduced thanks to trade among the cities of the Mediterranean and Asia Minor; in particular, the ones dedicated to Egyptian deities had to be connected to the traditional ones, e.g. the connection between Isis and Juno.


Statue of Isis

Unknown provenance
Marble beginning of 2nd century AD

It is a high quality, smaller than life-size statue of fine marble; head, right arm, and left hand are missing. According to Hellenistic standards, it wears a tunic (chiton) so thin that it looks transparent, and it reveals the sensual outline of the abdomen; a string fastens the tunic under the bosom. On top of the tunic, there is a cape (himation) loosely envelops her, and covers her legs. Because of the small size, the statue is thought to be a sacred image that was venerated in a private location rather than in an important shrine. The same hypothesis has been formulated about a very similar statue that had been found in 1948 near the Duomo of Fano and it is preserved today in the same town. We do not know the provenance of our statue. According to Giulio Gabrielli, who used to be the Museum Director, the statue was donated in 1867 by the brothers Domenico and Giuseppe Giosafatti, who were heirs from the famous sculptors from Ascoli.

Stele depicting Telonii

Ascoli Piceno – Ponte di Cecco
Travertine – mid 1st century AD

The stele was found among the blocks reused for an old restoration of the Ponte di Cecco, the bridge of the Via Salaria that went out from Ascoli towards east. It had been placed in the medieval gatehouse of the bridge where it had later been heavily damaged by spray paint. To avoid more damage, it was placed in the museum in the early two thousand. The first exhibition deliberately included the spray paint writing to increase awareness among visitors about the lack of respect for cultural heritage; the new exhibition features the cleaned stele, but a photo shows the prior state. It is a funerary monument of a rich family of freedmen, the Teloniis. Telonia Atalanta commissioned the construction of this funerary monument, and dedicated to herself, her husband Diceo, her sister Sabina, and her brother Meleagro. The two men were priests of the imperial cult; they performed rituals honouring the emperor so as to win popular support. A peculiarity may be noticed about the post: priesthood honoured Augustus and Tiberius. The latter was never deified; therefore, sacred honours bestowed on him by the city of Ascoli as its own initiative; perhaps Ascoli was linked to Tiberius by bonds of gratitude that we do not know.

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