Isiopolis

Let’s stay in the Isis cult in late antiquity and talk a bit about some Isiac votive figurines that I find, well, completely charming. They are usually identified as images of Isis-Aphrodite and they show the Goddess either totally nude, but for a Vegas Showgirl-sized headdress and a lot of attitude, or lifting up Her skirts to give us all a good look at “the naughty bits.”

Why do I find them so charming? Mostly, it’s the expression on their faces as they bare themselves to our sight. Their expressions are never of the smiling, fuck-me, Playboy-approved type. Often, they gaze directly at you—or even past you—looking serious or self-possessed, or sometimes even a bit disgusted with you for looking at them like that. Sometimes, I’m sure this was due to the skill of the artist or the fact that these were mostly molded and mass-produced terracottas. Othertimes, I wonder…

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