enter image description hereenter image description hereBoth are paintings in the same house near Naples. They were excavated from the ashes of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

Apparently, they picture the same kind of object. But what is it?

  • You need to click that small Number/Link at the bottom. I might delete one of the other two though, to make it easier. I tried to add more "overview" pictures as well, but stackexchange would not accept the file size.
    – HannesH
    Jun 25, 2017 at 20:47

2 Answers 2


These images are from the Villa Poppaea, and seem to represent an ornamental torch used in Roman religious rites. The first image is from the base of a full wall fresco shown here representing a view of a sacrificial tripod resting on a column:enter image description here

The image from the question is a bit distorted, but you can see and read more here, where the item is described as (emphasis mine) a

'Villa di Poppea, Oplontis, room 15, detail from a wall-painting depicting the torch of Apollo and a sacrificial bucranium (bull's skull)'

So it appears this is an ornate torch, probably meant specifically to start sacrificial fires in worship of Apollo. (More about the bucranium here, which can be seen better in the answer by sempaiscuba).

The second image, from a different room, may represent a similar sacrificial scene. From this article discussing sacrifices:

A third class of unbloody sacrifices consisted of fruit and cakes. The former were mostly offered to the gods as primitiae or tithes of the harvest, and as a sign of gratitude.

The second image seems to represent this type of scene, showing the fruits and cakes waiting to be sacrificed to ensure a good harvest.

  • 1
    You beat me to the punch! +1 :-) Jun 25, 2017 at 22:01
  • 2
    @sempaiscuba Same source even, funny. I wasn't sure about legality of image from there, so just did the link, probably the difference in time.
    – justCal
    Jun 25, 2017 at 22:04
  • I did read the guide on citing and referencing from Southampton University (the source is from a site on their servers), and I think it's OK to post the image with attribution. I was trying to avoid the "link-only" type of answer. If there is a problem I'm happy to remove the image and replace it with a link to their site. Jun 25, 2017 at 22:12
  • @sempaiscuba should be ok to use then.
    – justCal
    Jun 25, 2017 at 22:24

The object is a "Torch of Apollo":

Torch of Appollo

As Maurice Owen explains, this was often used (along with other imagery) to indicate a sanctuary dedicated to the god Apollo.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.