Religio Romana

College of the Augustales, Herculaneum

The Augustales were freed slaves, priests of the cult of the Emperor Augustus. Although freedmen could become wealthy in Roman society, they were barred from magistracies, but could hold priesthoods in the Imperial cult, formed into boards of 6 priests.

The College at Herculaneum is located next to the forum and was a prominent building in the town. The interior contained a beautifully painted cell with mythological scenes, including the images of Hercules entering Olympus and Hercules battling Acheloo (both pictured).

The College was built by the brothers Aulus Lucius Proculus and Aulus Lucius Iulianus, both commemorated on a dedication plaque at the entrance.

A caretaker’s room was built into the College. The skeleton of the final occupant was found lying on the bed, having died in the AD79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

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    Il Sacello degli Augustali
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