Essay On Isis Welcoming Io

1505 Words7 Pages

The fresco of Isis welcoming Io into Egypt is a key artwork that helps us understand today how Pompeians interacted with religion. It was located in the Temple of Isis in and was painted in the late 1st Century BC. We can see the link between two cultures and religions coming together through a shared story. Its existence in a city dominated by Roman-Hellenistic culture and beliefs shows Roman tolerant attitudes towards foreign religions. The Hellenistic depictions of Isis, as well as the story that this fresco tells shows its significance and allows the modern viewer insight into Pompeii before its destruction.

The subject matter of the fresco helps the audience understand the painting in the context of mixing Hellenistic and foreign deities. …show more content…

Many Pompeian women in particular flocked to the Temple of Isis, as she was the ‘ideal image of a wife and mother’, and because of her role as the goddess of fertility. The temple was seen as a sanctuary for women, particularly female slaves. Also, she was a revolutionary influence on the women in Pompeii and even their views on Roman culture and the traditions that they had been raised with. As a part of the initiation into the cult of Isis, there was a cleansing ritual that freed members of their past sins and grievances (this was not a common practice in Roman religion). It also allowed women to rise to the level of men in a religious context, as they were able to become priestesses in the public domain - something that was not achievable in mainstream Roman religion. They were also seen as more knowledgeable, as association with Isis and devotion to her went hand in hand with acquiring information about religious teachings. This all could have changed the outlook of Roman women on their lives, and made them question their own culture. It was also mainly lower class Pompeians that were drawn to the cult of Isis, as Isis was famed for her ability to revive people (and even gods such as Osiris), which gave them a hope for life after death. In traditional Greek and Roman religion, it was believed that the afterlife was separated into three main divisions, and that the majority of people (those who were average) were set to the fields of Asphodel where they would wander aimlessly for eternity. Because lower class people were far more unlikely to become heroes and get to Elysium (the Hellenistic version of heaven), the idea of life after death was likely very appealing and a change from what they had been raised with. While it makes sense that Greek and Egyptian cultures overlap, it was not to the extent that they did in the

Open Document