The Sensory Experience of Caracalla’s Supplication at the Pergamene Asclepieion
An imperial visit to a city was a grand affair, from the emperor’s adventus, to sacrificing at local shrines, to the commemorative acts which followed. This article aims to examine the multi-sensory impact of an imperial visit to a sanctuary and the lasting effects of these supplications via the case study of Caracalla’s worship of Asclepius in Pergamum in AD 213-14. This visit was commemorated on a series of medallions struck shortly after the event, which depict the acts of the emperor as he moved through the city to the Asclepieion and from secular to sacred space.
This article will bring new depth to the study of imperial and divine relations as well as address the issue that often events such as these were not as neat and as clean-cut as is sometimes imagined nowadays. This article will address the following questions: How does our understanding of an imperial visit and supplication change when the sensory nature of such an event is examined? And for what reason are the senses manipulated in these images?
Aldrete, G.S. (2012), ‘Hammers, Axes, Bulls, and Blood; Some Practical Aspects of Roman Animal Sacrifice’, JRS, 104, 28-50
Betts, E. (2011), Towards a multi-sensory experience of movement in the City of Rome’, in Laurence, R. and D.J. Newsome (eds.) Rome, Ostia and Pompeii: Movement and Space, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.118-132
Bradley, M. (2013), ‘Colour as a Synaesthetic Experience in Antiquity’, in S. Butler and A. Purves (eds.) Synasthesia and the Ancient Senses, Durham: Acumen Publishing, pp. 127-140
Braund, S. M. (2004), Juvenal, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Burkert, W. (1972), Homo Necans: Interpretationen altgriechischer Opferriten und Mythen, Berlin: W. de Gruyter
Burrell, B. (2004), Neokoroi: Greek Cities and Roman Emperors, Brill: Leiden
Cary, E. (1927), Dio Cassius Roman History, Volume XI, Books 71-80, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Detienne, M. and J.P. Vernant (1979), La cuisine de sacrifice en pays grec, Paris: Gallimard
Faraone, C.A. and F.S. Naiden (2012), ‘Introduction’ in C.A. Farone and F.S. Naiden (eds.) Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice, Ancient Victims, Modern Observers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-12
Fowden, G. (2005), ‘Late polytheism', in A. K. Bowman, P. Garnsey and A. Cameron (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History 12: The Crisis of Empire, A.D. 193-337, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition), pp. 519-72
Gilhus, I.S. (2006), Animals, Gods, and Humans: Changing Ideas to Animals in Greek, Roman and Early Christian Ideas, London: Routledge
Gordon, R. (1990), ‘The Veil of Power: Emperors, Sacrificers, and Benefactors’, in M. Beard and J. North (eds)., Pagan Priests: Religion and Power in the Ancient World, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 201-31
Hamilakis, Y. (2014), Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Harl, K. (1987), Civic Coins and Civic Politics in the Roman East AD 180-275, University of California Press: Berkeley
Jones, W.H.S. (1963), Pliny Natural History, Volume VIII, Books 28-32, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Johnston, A. (1983), ‘Caracalla’s Path: The Numismatic Evidence’, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 32 (1), 58-76
Kadar, Z. (1986), ‘L’importance religieuse et artistique du culte d’Asklepios-Aesculapius sur les medailles de Caracalla a Pergmon’, in Acta Classica Univ. Scient. Debrecen., 31-35
Lehnen, J. (1997), Adventus Principis. Untersuchungen zu Sinngehalt und Zeremoniell der Kaiserankunft in den Städten des Imperium Romanum, Frankfurt am Mein: Prismata
Magie, D. (1924), Historia Augusta, Volume II: Caracalla, Geta, Opellius Macrinus. Diadumenianus. Elagabalus. Severus Alexander. The Two Maximini. The Three Gordians. Maximus and Balbinus, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Naiden, F.S. (2012), Smoke Signals for the Gods, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Nollé, J. (2003), ‘Caracallas Kur in Pergamon: Krankheit und Heilung eines römischen Kaisers im Spiegel der Münzen’, Antike Welt 34, 409-417
Ostenberg, I. (2009), Staging the World. Spoils, Captives, and Representations in the Roman Triumphal Procession, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Ostenberg, I., S. Malmberg and J. Bjørnebye (eds.) (2015), The Moving City. Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome, London: Bloomsbury
Petropoulou, M.-Z. (2010), Animal Sacrifice in Ancient Greek Religion, Judaism, and Christianity, 100 BC to AD 200, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Rackham, H. (1940), Pliny the Elder: Natural History, Volume III, Books 8-11, Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Mass.)
Rowan, C. (2013), Under Divine Auspices: Divine Ideology and the Visualisation of Imperial Power in the Severan Period, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Rowan, C. (2014), ‘Showing Rome in the Round: Reinterpreting the ‘Commemorative Medallions’ of Antoninus Pius’, Antichthon 48, 109-125
Rüpke, J. (2007), The Religion of the Romans, Polity: Cambridge
Rushton Fairclough, H. and G.P. Goold (1999), Virgil Georgics, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Scheid J. (2007), ‘Sacrifices for Gods and Ancestors’, in J. Rüpke J. (ed.), A Companion to Roman Religion, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 263-272
Scheid J. (2012), ‘Roman Animal Sacrifice and the System of Being’, in C.A. Faraone and F.S. Naiden, (eds.), Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice, Ancient Victims, Modern Observers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 84-92
Scott, M. (2012), Space and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Key Themes in Ancient History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Thackeray, H. St. J. (1928), Josephus The Jewish War, Volume III, Books 5-7, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Van Straten, F. (1995), Hiera Kala: Images of Animal Sacrifice in Archaic and Classical Greece, Brill: Leiden
Weddle, C. (2013), ‘The Sensory Experience of Blood Sacrifice in the Roman Imperial Cult’ in J. Day (ed.) Making Sense of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, pp. 137-159
Weisser, B. (2005), ‘Pergamon as Paradigm’, in C. Howgego, V. Heuchert and A. Burnett (eds.), Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 135-142
Whittacker, C.R. (1969), Herodian: History of the Empire, Volume I, Books 1-4, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press
Copyright (c) 2016 Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), which permits use and redistribution of the work provided that the original author and source are credited, a link to the license is included, and an indication of changes which were made. Third-party users may not apply legal terms or technological measures to the published article which legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
If accepted for publication authors’ work will be made open access and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license unless previously agreed with Exchanges’ Editor-in-Chief prior to submission.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. (see: The Effect of Open Access)