Wax infant votives in Cyprus: ancient and modern parallels

Maureen Carroll is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. Her recent research has focused on infancy and earliest childhood in the Roman world, and she is currently working on a project entitled ‘Mater Matuta and Related Goddesses: Guaranteeing Maternal Fertility and Infant Survival in Early Roman Italy’. In this post she discusses…

Saint Bartholomew of the Groom: The Church as a Votive

Margherita Clavarino is a PhD candidate in the History of Art at the Warburg Institute, where she is researching miraculous prints in early modern Italy. She has an interest in both printed ex-votos and votive offerings related to miraculous printed imagery.  The Church of Saint Bartholomew of the Groom, in the namesake seaside town of…

Ex votos in Pompeii – an interview with Monsignor Pietro Caggiano

This week I interviewed Monsignor Pietro Caggiano of the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii – home to a significant collection of ex votos which has accumulated since the Sanctuary’s foundation at the end of the nineteenth century. Monsignor Caggiano has written about the theology of ex votos, and he is currently curating an exhibition of ancient…

Banner carried by fujenti

The Festival of the Madonna dell’Arco

Earlier this week I visited the Catholic sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Arco in Campania on the day of its annual festival, which takes place every Easter Monday (or ‘Lunedi in Albis’). The festival centres around the battenti or fujenti – guilds of devoted pilgrims who walk or run to the church from towns and villages across…

Devotion and Cultural Patrimony

How can we understand the relationship between religious devotion and cultural patrimony? How does the performance and documenting of sacred rituals intersect with the construction of collective memory? These questions are explored in a new volume entitled Linguaggi della devozione. Forme espressive del patrimonio sacro [‘Languages of Devotion: Expressive Forms of Sacred Patrimony’ ] edited…