The Roman House at Hopkins | Household Gods

Etruscan Priest with Patera and Incense Box

By Laura Hutchison

Accession Number: JHAM K27
Measurements: Height: 8.9cm, Width: 6.8cm
Material: Copper alloy
Culture/Date: Etruscan, 3rd-2nd c. BCE
Provenance: Unknown

Statuettes of this type have been found in both Etruscan and Roman sites. This statuette of a priest bears a patera, or shallow ritual offering dish, in his right hand and an incense box in his left. This figure features many of the iconographic hallmarks of Roman depictions of Lares. However, the figure’s dress, modeling, and fabrication suggest an Etruscan date (ca. 3rd-2nd c. BCE). The similarities in posture and attributes between this priest and later representations of Lares illustrate the continuity between Etruscan and Roman religious practices.