The Roman Sculpture of Corinium

Corinium Museum

Religion was an important part of everyday life for the people of Corinium. Gods and goddesses, both classical and Celtic, were worshipped in large public temples and at small shrines in private houses. As the Roman period progressed native gods and goddesses often became linked to classical ones, creating a complicated blend of cultures.

Classical Deities
Bacchus. Dating to the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD this Corinthian capital was found in 1838 near the centre of Corinium. It is thought the capital was once part of a 'Jupiter Column', a tall freestanding sacred column topped with a statue of Jupiter, the king of gods. The carvings on the capital depict characters from the story of Bacchus, the God of Wine.

Romano-British limestone sculpture of Fortuna. Fortuna now headless & damage on the front of the stone, is seated upon her throne.

Romano-British limestone relief of Fortuna holding a Patera in her right hand.

Romano-British limestone head and shoulder carved figure of the goddess Ceres. Found in Kingsholm, Gloucester in 1876.

Romano-British limestone sculpture. Skilful portrayal of a river God, or perhaps Neptune with luxuriant hair and beard in a typical reclining position.

Romano-British limestone base of Diana, The feet are of slender proportions and shod. Behind the right foot are two large paws of a very big seated hound. Another paw appears between the two feet.

Romano-British limestone head. Youthful head broken from a statuette. 2 lumps above forehead probably the remains of wings, thus Mercury is a strong possibility.

Romano-British limestone relief. Mercury is shown in a relaxed stance carved in high relief within a round-headed niche. Inscription DEO MERCVRIO

Head from a limestone statue of Mercury. Beneath the god's petasos (travelling hat) a mass of luxuriant curls fringe his forehead. Distinguished example of Cotswold-school sculpture.

Fragment of a Romano-British limestone statue, depicting the hand and purse of Mercury.

Romano-British limestone votive relief depicting a horned or antlered deity, possibly Cernunnos. Find location is uncertain but thought to be Cirencester.

Roman marble head, found on Bathurst Estate, Cirencester. Thought not to be a British find due to the hole containing corroded iron presumably subsequent to manufacture.

Romano-Celtic Deities: Mother Goddess
The cult of the Mother Goddesses was one of the most popular religious cults in Corinium. They were fertility goddesses, and often depicted carrying baskets of fruit, loaves of bread, or with children or small animals. An example of a Romano-Celtic hybrid cult, they were often depicted in threes - a number sacred to the Celts.

Romano-British limestone relief. Three Matres seated on a bench one holds a swaddled baby.

Romano-British limestone votive relief of the three mother goddesses (deae matres)

Genii Cucullati
The Genii Cucullati was a popular local cult. These mysterious figures were always shown wearing hooded cloaks, and probably represent guardian spirits of local areas. Like the mother goddesses they are usually depicted in threes. In a number of reliefs, found in and around Corinium, the genii are accompanied by a single mother goddess.

Romano-British limestone relief. Three hooded figures, presumably Genii Cucullati scurrying towards the left. Carved on a rectangular panel in low relief.

Romano-British limestone relief. Portraying three Cucullati, two with their cloaks pulled back and one hooded. The Mother Goddess is seated on left.

Discovered in c.2010 beneath a collapsed wall on the edge of Cirencester. On the left are three cucullati and on the right a goddess, with what appears to be a child is standing in front of her.

Romano-British limestone relief. Beneath a shell canopy, three hooded Genii Cucullati and a seated Goddess(Mater)with long hair holding a Cornucopia in left hand.

Romano-British limestone relief.The Goddess is seated in a basket chair. Dedicatory inscription has been recognised as CVDAE LO(..)V(.)

Credits: Story

Heather Dawson, Corinium Museum

Credits: All media
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