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|Title:||Apollo and the Mundus of Caere: An Interpretation of the Palm Tree Frescoes of the Hypogaeum of Clepsina|
|Keywords:||Hypogaeum of Clepsina;Caere;Apollo;mundus;palm tree;chthonic;Roman religion;Etruscan religion|
|Abstract:||At the heart of the Etruscan city of Caere exists the Hypogaeum of Clepsina, an underground ritual chamber which scholars theorize to be a mundus, a liminal space linking the earthly realm with the underworld. It was a place where chthonic rituals were conducted in honour of the infernal gods and the ghosts of the ancestors, and its creation was tied to notions of civic foundation. The hypogaeum was constructed or renovated around 273 BC, at the time when the city of Caere was officially converted into a Roman praefectura. As one of the earliest projects undertaken in the newly established Roman Caere, the hypogaeum likely had a symbolic significance, reinforcing the establishment and stabilization of the territory under Roman control. Consequently, gaining a deeper understanding of the mundus of Caere, especially in terms of the cult worship and rituals that occurred within it, contributes to our knowledge of the role that religion played in Roman expansion in Italy during the Republican period. One of the most remarkable features of the hypogaeum is its painted niche, which is adorned with frescoes of two large palm trees. This thesis will explore the symbolic meaning of the palm trees, since these frescoes provide important clues as to the deity originally worshiped within the ritual chamber. The connection between the palm tree motif and Apollo will be investigated, as the god’s cult was imbued with strong solar, oracular, and chthonic associations in Etruria and Central Italy. He was syncretized with the Italic deity, Soranus, otherwise known as Śuri, a deity who received cult veneration at the important sanctuary of Caere’s port settlement, Pyrgi. Apollo Soranus, or Śuri, was a chthonic deity equated with the ruler of the underworld, and thus was a god altogether fitting to preside over the mundus of Caere.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Neufeld_Naomi _L_Final Thesis Submission 2015_MA Classics.pdf||Thesis||6.04 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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