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SA Cult Niche

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SA Cult Niche
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Photo Comments

View looking west into the cult room of the Sacellum (chapel) of the Augustales (priests in charge of Emperor Worship).  Directly ahead, on the west side, on the vertical podium a statue, or bust, of the emperor was venerated.  The white, faded, paint above the podium was the latest style—based upon Neronian examples found in Rome.  The light blue paint in and above the arch was made of a substance that included lapis lazuli that was imported from Afghanistan!

On both side walls are two different frescos of Hercules—see next images.  Below the frescos is barren plaster that previously was covered with marble sheeting—removed during the early tunneling/mining expeditions.  On the floor is a well–preserved marble floor—see image following.

Professor Tuck (see below) suggests that this room was renovated shortly after the death of Vespasian in A.D. 79, early in the reign of Titus—which implies that the room was soon buried by the pyroclastic flow from Vesuvius—ca. 24 August 79.

Tuck, Steven L.  "Worshipping the Emperors at Herculaneum," Lecture 21 in Pompeii: Daily Life in an Ancient Roman City.  Produced by the Great Courses/The Teaching Company, Course No. 3742, 2010.