Are there significant traces of Etruscan families, along with the Greeks and the population of the river Sarno, among the people who founded ancient Pompeii?
The question was made by Professor Massimo Osanna (the superintendent of the ruins of Pompeii) during a meeting which took place in mid-November in the auditorium of the excavations.
The observations of the famous archaeologist are based on insights concerning the meaning of the findings that emerged from the last century excavations (partially resumed in the current management) at some urban and suburban shrines of Pompeii. The attendance of some Etruscan families in the territory were derived from scientific investigations into the remains of a temple found in the “fondo Iozzino” (in the historic center of modern Pompeii).
This excavation was started in the '60s and was resumed in the ‘90s and gives us back a lot of votive material made in bucchero with some important inscriptions. The information given by these inscriptions confirm a significant Etruscan presence among the community of various origins who founded Pompei.
In addition, the frequent recourse, in the dedications engraved on the findings, of the word "APA" (which in Etruscan means "father") leads to the belief that the sanctuary was dedicated to the god Jupiter Meilichios, since on the inscription in Osco of a tombstone located in Porta di Stabia, is precisely quoted the sanctuary of Jupiter Melichios. It was a cult born in Magna Grecia. Also it emerges from other studies that the temple located in the “Fondo Iozzino” stands on the direct road connecting Pompeii to the temple of Zeus Meilichios.
Another interesting sacral space, investigated with the help of researchers from the Universities of Naples, covers the area inside the archaeological site of Pompeii, the Triangular Forum where there is the Doric temple dedicated to Athena and Heracles.
In that area they are still continuing the excavations in order to understand some newe aspects of that mysterious sanctuary. The presence of a "tripartite" altar – in the opinion of Osanna - would be due to the practice of the cult of "nymphs" linked to Athena. This aspect made the temple a religious center of the brides’ protection (from the protection of the virginity to the mating ritual, up to the social function of the motherhood represented by nymphs). In this context, it explains the presence of a well and of a series of underground tanks (recently explored). Also significant was the discovery of the metope representing the "Ixion Judgement", dedicated to the myth that defends the purity of ritual of virginity.
So, Pompeii is always fascinating thanks to all of these new discoveries made through the Great Pompeii Project.
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Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.