Religion in Beneventum

The temple of Isis found in Beneventum may hold the key to unlocking the religion of the city.   As Isis is an Egyptian god, the city may or may not have based their religion on Egyptian influences.  In 88 A.D. the Temple of Isis was endowed with Egyptian sculptures and obelisks depicting the deities of Egypt such as the Obelisk of Domitian seen to the left[1].  The Egyptian goddess Isis may be the oldest deity in Egypt, as she is seen as the queen of the gods[2].  She is the patron of woman, mothers, children, magic, medicine and life, which may explain the women priestesses that presided over the temple of Isis at Beneventum.  Occasionally the priestesses were said to have acted and donned the appearance of the gods themselves, and statues of these priestesses have been found in the temple[3].

Though not much is known about the funerary practices of Beneventum, there is evidence that points out only a small degree of difference in the practices of freeborn and freed members of the elite.  This implies that many men could reach an affluent rank in society, regardless of previous status[4].

Left: From left to right: Isis, Osiris, Bastet [i]
Above: Isis [ii]

1.John R. Patterson. 2006. Landscapes and Cities: Rural Settlement and Civic Transformation in Early Imperial Italy. Oxford, Ney York: Oxford University Press. 110.                                                                                                                      2.David C. Scott. 2004. Isis. (accessed December 8, 2008).                                                                                3.Sharon Kelley Heyob. 1975. The Cult of Isis in the Graeco-Roman World. Brill Archive. 100.                                                                                                  4.Patterson. 113.                                                                                                           i. Egyptian Statues. (image). World Heritage Shops. < > (accessed Dec 2008).                                                            
ii. Egyptian goddess Isis. (image). < > (accessed Dec 2008).