The devine statue

The sacred area of Baal was the most important sanctuary in Hadrumetum before the Roman arrival. We know the popularity of this cult in Africa, particularly in localities where Carthaginian influences are felt. This cult was replaced by that of Saturn/Kronos who inherited the popularity of Baal in Roman Africa[1]. A temple of Saturn had thus to be erected in Hadrumetum most likely in place of the old Tophet. A life-size marble statue shows him as an old man (senex) standing, resting on the right leg, with a naked body, except for the head and shoulders. According to experts, the technique of execution allows to date this statue back to the Antonine period, probably during the reign of Commodus (180-192)[2].

Saturn/Kronos

Saturn/Kronos

The cult of Apollo was probably introduced by the Greco-Roman community strongly present in Hadrumetum since the fall of Carthage in 146 BC. A statue represents Apollo standing, resting on the right leg, the left knee forward. The slightly marked musculature indicates he was raising his arm. We can easily identify him carrying a zither of which only the tip above the left leg remains.

Statue of Apollo

Statue of Apollo

The statuette of Diana/Artemis, represented, like her brother Apollo, the right leg slightly bent back, the left leg put forward.

The statuette of Diana/Artemis

The statuette of Diana/Artemis

The attributes of the huntress goddess are evoked by a sitting dog that looks at her, a quiver behind the right shoulder and boots that rise up to mid-calf the top edge of which contains a hunted animal. By her position, Diane appears on alert, ready to hunt prey[3].

[1] For more information on Saturne in Roman Africa, see M. Leglay, Saturne Africain, 1966 (2 vol.).

[2] N. de Chaisemartin, Les sculptures romaines de Sousse et des sites environnants, École Française de Rome, 102, 1987, p. 18-20, n° 7.

[3] L. Foucher, Hadrumetum, 1964, p. 152 ; N. de Chaisemartin, Les sculptures romaines de Sousse et des sites environnants, École Française de Rome, 102, 1987, p. 27, n° 17.

 

 

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