Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sacred seals

In a sanctuary devoted to Jupiter Dolichenus in Turkey, classical scholars from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster have made an impressive discovery. Over the past several years, they have uncovered more than 600 stamp seals and cylinder seals consecrated at the site as votive offerings by worshipers of the weather god. The devotees, who had to undergo initiation rites to be accepted into the cult, had the seals and amulets (EXAMPLES ABOVE) crafted from glass, stone, and quartz ceramic. Some depict men praying before divine astral symbols. Others show royal heroes fighting animals and hybrid creatures. Strung with a chain and worn around the neck, they were intended to ward off bad luck. "The large find provides new impetus for research to answer unsolved questions of cult practices, cult continuity and cult extension – above all, these are important for the understanding of the early history of the sanctuary in the 1st millennium B.C., which had been unknown until recently," says excavation director Engelbert Winter. It's another step forward in unraveling the history of a mystery religion...

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