By Dr Joanne Berry
Last updated 2011-02-17
The worship of Isis is depicted in this wall-painting from Herculaneum. The high priest stands at the entrance to the temple and looks down on the ceremony beneath him, which is supervised by priests with shaven heads.
One priest tends the sacred fire and another behind him leads the faithful (gathered in two ranks) in worship. In the foreground of the painting can be seen two ibises, sacred to Isis, and to the right is a flautist.
Much evidence of the worship of Isis has been found at both Pompeii and Herculaneum, demonstrating the popularity of this eastern cult during the first century AD. Indeed, the Temple of Isis at Pompeii was the only temple to have been completely restored (at private expense) after the earthquake that devastated the town in AD 62.
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