Roman Coins and Votive Offerings Recovered from Hot Springs

Italy Ear VotivesTUSCANY, ITALY—CNN reports that excavators working in central Italy near the village of San Casciano dei Bagni discovered statuettes and coins thought to have been left behind by Roman visitors to an ancient Etruscan pool fed by hot springs. The objects may have been offered to the gods believed to have provided the hot water in thanks for relief from respiratory problems and aches and pains, according to Jacopo Tabolli of Siena’s University for Foreigners. Some 700 of the 3,000 coins are still shiny, he added, and may have been thrown into the baths in the third century A.D. by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Carus to honor the gods who watched over his health. The statuettes include objects shaped like a phallus, a rare womb made of bronze, a pair of breasts, legs, and arms. Such objects are thought to have been offered in thanks for healing of those body parts, while bronze ears are thought to have been thrown into the pool to call the gods’ attention to prayers. Remnants of fountains, statues, and altars dedicated to Apollo, the god of prophecy and medicine; Isis, the goddess of fertility; and Fortuna Primigenia, the goddess of the first born, were also uncovered at the site. To read about a 3,500-year-old ritual pool unearthed in northern Italy, go to “Italian Master Builders.”


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