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DESTRUCTION OF PAGAN MONUMENTS BY CHRISTIANS

Various pagan structures seem to have been destroyed by Christians, after the conversion of Constantine. To the south of the Caseggiato di Diana is a little square (Piazza dei Lari) with a crossroads-shrine, a compitum. To the shrine belongs a round, marble altar. Parts of the upper cornice and the inscription have been hammered off, and the reliefs were heavily damaged. Some of the fragments were found nearby, one had been used for the repair of a road. The statue of Mithras in the Mitreo delle Terme del Mitra (I,VII,2) was seriously damaged, and parts were thrown in a drain. It is probably not a coincidence that a Christian oratory or little church was built on top of the mithraeum, in the second half of the fourth or in the fifth century. The Mitreo di Fructosus (I,X,4) was destroyed thoroughly and set on fire. According to Becatti the Edificio con Opus Sectile, outside Porta Marina, was a Christian building that was, at the end of the fourth century, destroyed by pagans. Zanker maintains the opposite (pagan building destroyed by Christians). The worshippers of the Magna Mater seem to have been prepared. Many dedications by the guild of the reed-bearers (cannophori) were found in the central niche in the back wall of the podium of the Tempio della Magna Mater (IV,I,1), walled in. Several objects from the nearby Santuario di Attis (IV,I,3) seem to have been hidden in the porticus along the south side of the Campus of the Magna Mater.



The podium of the Tempio della Magna Mater.
Statues had been walled in in the central niche of the back side (left).
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.