The Sanctuary of Santa Venera at Paestum II

The Votive Terracottas
Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Examines almost three thousand terracottas found in archaeological excavations at the sanctuary of Santa Venera at Paestum


Rebecca Miller Ammerman sheds light on a ritual that lay at the heart of the Graeco-Roman religious experience—the votive offering of a figurine made of baked clay. Examining evidence over the span of more than 600 years, she provides an extensive study of religious practice at Santa Venera, the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paestum, as the city passed from Greek to Lucanian and, finally, to Roman hands.

The author documents some three thousand votive terracottas recovered at Santa Venera. While each figurine represents a single act of religious devotion, the assembled corpus of votive gifts attests to the performance of a dedicatory rite. The terracottas thus offer a window onto the collective religious beliefs motivating such ritualized giving in the classical world. Ammerman also offers a comprehensive study of the history of Aprhodite worship at the site, from its Greek origins and association with Astarte through her incorporation by the Romans and their assimilation of her and Venus.

Each figurine from Santa Venera is illustrated and systematically treated in terms of technology, style, and iconography. The Santa Venera terracottas are also considered within the context of broader distribution of technologically related figurines. Ammerman offers new understanding of the development of the terracotta industry at Paestum and the distribution of the terracottas—figurines, busts, statues, anatomical models, animals, and fruit--throughout southern Italy.

This comprehensive volume is sure to be a major reference work for classical archaeologists. It will interest students of the archaeology and history of Magna Graecia, ancient cult, classical sculpture, and minor arts. It will also appeal to those interested in ancient history and Greek and Roman religion.

Rebecca Miller Ammerman is Associate Professor of Classics, Colgate University.

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Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 8-1/2 x 11.
  • 560pp.
  • 6 drawings, 540 photographs, 10 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10899-2

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  • $169.95 U.S.