Roman Worship

The people of Aquae Sulis visited the baths and temple to worship the goddess Sulis Minerva. In this area you can see some of the private altars that once littered the temple courtyard and find out about the sacrifices made there.

The Facade of the Four Seasons

This unusual building is known from various sculptured stones found in the excavations that took place for the building of the Pump Room in 1790. A facade with carvings of the four seasons was surmounted by a decorated pediment containing an image of the goddess Luna.  The purpose of the building is not clear, but it may have been a place where worshippers might spend the night in the sacred courtyard next to the Temple of the goddess. Here they might have visions in their dreams.

The curse tablets

Some very special objects are the curses, with messages inscribed on sheets of lead or pewter, which were then rolled up and thrown into the Spring where the spirit of the goddess dwelt. The Roman Baths collection of Roman curse tablets, which include Britain’s earliest prayers, has now been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register of outstanding documentary heritage.

Image: Curse tablets on display in the museum
Image: Curse tablet on display in the museum

The Tholos

Three large curved and decorated blocks supported by a stone column survive from the frieze of a tholos, a kind of circular temple, which probably stood to the east of the Temple of Sulis Minerva.

Visitors pass beneath the tholos blocks as they descend a staircase in the displays, so they can see the decoration as it was intended originally – from below. Temples like this are known from the eastern part of the Roman Empire and from Gaul, but this is the only one known from Roman Britain.

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