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Eros and wedding, a never seen chariot found in Pompeii - EXCLUSIVE


It is an ancient Pilentum. Osanna: "In Italy a unicum". Franceschini: "Development and research" (ANSA)

Elegant and light, amazing for the complexity and refinement of the tin and bronze decorations, incredible in its completeness, with the traces of the cushions, of the ropes to hold the wreaths, even the imprints of two ears of wheat left on a seat .

In Pompeii, the excavations of the villa of Civita Giuliana do not cease to amaze and return an extraordinary parade float, painted red and covered with erotic-themed decorations, perhaps destined for the cult of Ceres and Venus or more likely for an aristocratic ceremony of wedding.

“For Italy a unicum-anticipates Massimo Osanna to ANSA

, outgoing director of the Archaeological Park and scientific director of the excavation - a discovery of great importance for the advancement of knowledge of the ancient world ”.

"Pompeii continues to amaze with its discoveries and so it will be for many years and with twenty hectares to be excavated", comments

the minister of culture Dario Franceschini.

"But above all it shows that you can enhance it, you can attract tourists from all over the world and, at the same time, you can do research, training and studies. The new and young director Zuchtriegel will enhance this commitment.

It could be, explains Osanna, a


, that is what ancient sources describe as a ceremonial chariot, a vehicle used only by the elites and only in ceremonial contexts.

“One like this in Italy had never been seen before.

The comparison can only be made with a series of chariots found fifteen years ago in a Thracian tomb in northern Greece on the border with Bulgaria, ”says Osanna.

One of these Thracian chariots in particular, he points out, "looks a lot like ours, but it is not decorated".

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The pilenta, cited by Claudiano and others, could in fact be painted in blue or red, as in the case of the Pompeian find.

Reserved for the wealthier classes, they were used for religious cults, but they were a bit like a high-profile car.

The discovery of these days therefore reopens the mystery about the owners of this large villa built at the gates of the ancient city which today is being brought to light also to stop the havoc of the grave robbers, who in the past years have dug tunnels around these rooms by plundering and destroying.

And that today they are on trial, albeit still on the loose (The house of one of the accused is located right on the ground in which it is being excavated)

thanks to the investigations still underway by the Procura di Torre Annunziata, led by Nunzio Fragliasso.

“A very large villa and particularly precious for historical investigations, because unlike many others that had been emptied by the renovations following the earthquake of 62 AD.

C., in the days of the eruption it was still inhabited ”, remembers Osanna.

To be clear, it is the same dwelling in which the remains of two men were found a few months ago, perhaps a gentleman with his slave, which the archaeologists of the Park reconstructed with the technique of casts.

And right here, in a stable a few steps from the porch that housed the cart, the remains of three horses came to light in 2018, one of which sumptuously harnessed, ready, it seemed, to set out.

Not to mention the fresco with graffiti the name of the little Mummy, perhaps a child of the house, which emerged on another wall, always a short distance away.

The general's Sauro Bardato has been found

The discovery of the chariot therefore appears as a new, precious piece in the complicated puzzle of this story.

Especially since he was not even the only one, because in the current trial a witness mentioned the presence of another chariot also with rich decorations, unfortunately ended up in the hands of the marauders and then disappeared.

But the question remains: what was this pilentum decorated and sparkling like a jewel for?

Who were really the rich owners of this estate that with its fabulous terraces reached down to the sea?

In Pompeii the mystery of the little Mummy

“On the hardened ash removed from one of the two seats we found footprints of ears of corn,” reveals Osanna.

A detail, he clarifies, that could make us think of the cult of Ceres, who in Pompeii was honored together with Venus, and therefore “the presence in the villa of a priestess of these cults”.

But not only.

Because more simply, she says, it could be a fertility wish: "The ears on the seat could be an indication of a marriage recently celebrated or that was ready to be celebrated."

The mystery of who the hosts were, in short, remains.

Although in support of the second hypothesis, namely that of an upcoming or just celebrated wedding, it seems to somehow also push the decidedly erotic nature of the refined tin decorations applied on the bronze support to adorn the back and sides of the chariot: a series of cupids and of couples of satyrs and nymphs engaged in passionate embraces.

It will be the restorations, already started in the Park laboratory, and the studies, of course, to clarify more.

But in the meantime, Osanna concludes, "since the ancient sources allude to the use of the pilentum by priestesses and ladies, it is not excluded that it could be a chariot used to lead the bride to the new home".  

Source: ansa

All life articles on 2021-02-27

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