THEME: LIFE STYLE, WORLD
By Serge K | November 21, 2015 11:38 pm
An underground chamber that was a place of worship for a mysterious pagan religious cult is now opened to the public.
This chamber was found under solid tufa volcanic rock on the outskirts of modern Rome by accident during the construction of a railway line from Rome to Cassino, small town located in Southern Italy.
Basillica is lavishly decorated with stucco images of gods, goddesses and winged cherubs.
This secret shrine, which predates Christianity, was built by a rich Roman family who were devotees of mysterious cult called Neopythagoreanism.
There were lots of cults in 1 century AD Rome and usually the empire was in general fairly tolerant towards them, but this one was seen as a threat because it undermined idea of Divinity of Roman Emperor.
2,000 years old secret cult basilica found in Rome
Said Dr. Giovanna Bandini, director of excavation site
The basilica was build by rich and influential Statilius Family.
But they were accused of practicing black magic by Agrippina, scheming mother of Emperor Nero.
The head of the family, Titus Statilius Taurus, was investigated by Roman Senate for “black magic superstitions” and committed suicide in 53 AD.
The basilica eventually fell into disrepair and was sealed up during the reign of the Emperor Claudius before being totally forgotten.
The basilica consists of three sections and six rock pillars, decorated with exquisite images of centaurs and satyrs.
There are depictions of classical heroes such as Achilles, Orpheus, Paris and Hercules.
Entrance of basilica is guarded by horrific head of Medusa Gorgona.
Everyday team of restorers remove thick layers of calcium deposits first by hand, with scalpels, and small drills.
-This place is absolutely unique for Roman Empire of 1 century AD in terms of its architecture and design. It was a precursor to religious temples built in during the Christian era, centuries later.