Friday, 1 March 2013

Greco-Roman Pagan Lego

There are no shortage of Lego set ups engaging with Greco-Roman themes, however they tend to be scattered across cyberspace. Here follows my attempt to bring the best of them together in a Pagan setting. I humbly acknowledge that I became aware of many of these set ups through godbricks.blogspot.com, which is a blog dedicated to Lego set ups with a religious motif.

"Legionaries Ready!" by ACPin. The God of the temple is not indicated (presumably a military God would be appropriate, such as Mars or Bellona) but it is still a great set up. The Sphinxes at the front of the temple are a nice touch.
See more at pinlac.com/LegoRomanTempleDeparture

In another Lego tribute to the God of war (in this case it is definitely Mars), this is "Roman Temple" by Casper.
See more at www.flickr.com/photos

Even great soldiers may be felled by Cupid's arrows. This beautiful set up is called "Amor's Arrow" by Jojo.
See more at www.flickr.com/photos/chutspe

"Templum Vestae" by Gema. Vesta is the Roman Goddess of protecting hearth fire and ritual fire. Within her famous temple/shrine at Rome a continuous fire burnt. Extinguishment of the fire was associated with ill fortune. Indeed, within 20 years of Vesta's protecting flame being permanently put out, during Emperor Theodosius' persecution of Paganism in the 390s, the Visigoths sacked Rome and the fall of the western Roman empire was essentially complete.
See more at www.flickr.com/photos/brickilla

"Palladium in ignis" by lokosuperfluoLEGOman. I love this one - it depicts Pontifex Maximus (high priest of Rome), Lucius Caecilius Metellus, rescuing the sacred Palladium (a wooden statue of Minerva/Pallas Athena said to have been brought to Rome by mythological founding father of Rome, Aeneas) from a fire in the temple of Vesta in 241 BCE. 
See more at www.flickr.com/photos/lokosuperfluolegoman

"Temple of Claudius, Colchester" by peggyjdb. The temple of the deified emperor Claudius (Templum Divi Claudii) was built in Camulodunum (Roman Colchester) after the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 CEIn 60 or 61 CE, during Boudica's uprising, Camulodunum was laid to siege. Boudica's army set fire to the temple and the whole city was eventually destroyed by fire. 
See more at www.flickr.com/photos/peggyjdb

"Pantheon, Rome" also by peggyjdb. Originality the Pantheon was a Pagan temple dedicated to the Gods of Rome. In the 7th century (by which time Paganism in Rome had been suppressed for over 200 years) the temple was repurposed by the Pope as a Church, as it remains today. For other Pantheon set ups see here and here.

See more at www.flickr.com/photos/peggyjdb

"The Mithraeum" by mikey. A Mithraeum was a place of worship for the followers of Mithraism - a mystery religion, adapted from Persian religion, that was especially popular with the Roman military. Mithraea were usually either an adapted natural cave or cavern, or a building imitating a cave. 
See more at flickr.com/photos/37943614@N06

"Nikaia Antipolis" by Krazy Kastle Krak Guy. A reconstruction of the ancient city of Nikaia in Illyria, Greece.
See more at www.brickshelf.com

"Lego Temple to the Gods (Greek)" by Anthony Callaghan. 
See more at anthony-callaghan.deviantart.com

"Temple of Athena" by Justin R Stebbins. The design of this set up is inspired by the Parthenon. For other set ups inspired by the Parthenon see here and here.

See more at www.saber-scorpion.com/lego

"Greek Temple" by Matija Grguric. Greek temple in Doric style; dedicated to Poseidon, God of the sea.
See more at www.flickr.com/photos/matijagrguric

"Plato's Allegory of the Cave" by lokosuperfluoLEGOman. The allegory of the cave describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
See more at www.flickr.com/photos/lokosuperfluolegoman

If you are looking for official Greco-Roman Lego set ups the best option definitely lies with Lego's "City of Atlantis" - a legendary island first mentioned by Plato (in circa 360 BCE). According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BCE. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".
See more at www.brickset.com
Lego also has some great mini figures:

Series 9 - Roman Emperor 

Series 9 - Cyclops

Series 7 - Ocean King


Series 6 - Roman Soldier

Series 6 - Minotaur


Series 5 - Gladiator

Series 5 - Egyptian Queen/Cleopatra


Series 2 - Spartan Warrior

If you are still hungry for more Lego with a Greek or Roman Pagan theme check out these websites:

Postscript (Dec 2013): here is my own Lego tribute to Saturnalia - it is meant to be Saturn and his wife Ops on a dais, with a mill and barn in the background, and farmers in the foreground, as tribute to Saturn's agricultural nature. The legionary adds an added touch of Roman-ness and the Wizard is just for fun.

And here is another fabulous Roman setup:
Source: www.flickr.com/photos/jaredchan

Written by M. Sentia Figula; find me at romanpagan.blogspot.com and Roman Pagan on Facebook

6 comments:

  1. Although not directly related to this post, I'd like to express my opinion about your blog, noble Figula. I'm a recent Roman pagan, I'm beginning with all this stuff after a decades long spiritual path. I think I've arrived home, the home I shouldn't have ever left, my Fathers' home. Nevertheless, when a new pagan tries to find information on the Internet about his beliefs and faith (I think you don't like words like those ;-D relating paganism) it's quite easier to find about the formal aspects of the religion than about the philosophic and spritual path a pagan has to face. You can find how to make a sacrifice or how to celebrate the Kalends ritual, but it's difficult to find the questions, the answers and the doubts a person must deal with when he or she becomes a pagan in a modern world (because our religion is not a spawn corpse or a zombi, it's a living body of beliefs and practices about normal people's daily life in XXIst. century world) Your blog fills that void space and it's been very helpful and pleasant to me, even though I don't agree you sometimes your opinions. Thank you, noble Figula, I'll be following your posts in the future with most interest. May Hermes-Woden-Mercurius Interretialis inspirate you. Be blessed with Dii Inmortales.

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  2. By the way, could a Lego build lararium be a worthy shrine to worship gods, or could it be considered irreverent?

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    1. Many thanks for your lovely comments, it was wonderful to read them. As for your query as to a Lego Lararium - please consider this quote from one of the world’s foremost scholars on ancient Rome:

      “… one of the most distinctive and easily recognisable features of Pompeian houses is shrines that we now call by the Latin word lararium, shrine of the Lares or household gods … some of these are quite elaborate affairs … But many others are much simpler and often placed in the kitchen or service areas … In many cases statuettes of gods and goddesses stood on the ledge or shelf of the lararium. Sometimes these depict the Lares themselves, but a much wider range of deities has been found … The big question is what ritual, if any, took place at these shrines? … the problem in reconstructing the religious life of the home is that rituals such as this very rarely leave any archaeological trace … [Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town by Mary Beard at 295-298]”

      What this means for contemporary Roman Pagans is that we should understand that there is not one person who knows what ritual ancient Romans performed at their household shrines. Also, given the multicultural nature of the Roman era, the ritual almost certainly varied from region to region and possibly even home to home. The same goes for the appearance of the Lararium – household shrines come in many shapes and forms. In general, I tend to think that it is better to have a modest shrine than no shrine, but it is better to have no shrine than to have a shrine which mocks the dignity of the Gods. It is difficult to find pleasing images of the Gods, especially of household Gods and the Lares, so I can understand the appeal of using Lego, however I really don’t think you need images of the Gods you seek to honour. You will probably have heard of the Numa tradition, wherein Numa (King of Rome in the 7th century BCE – before it became a Republic) is reputed to have forbidden "the Romans to represent the deity in the form either of man or of beast. Nor was there among them formerly any image or statue of the Divine Being; during the first one hundred and seventy years they built temples, indeed, and other sacred domes, but placed in them no figure of any kind; persuaded that it is impious to represent things Divine by what is perishable, and that we can have no conception of God but by the understanding [Plutarch’s Lives: Numa]". Thus there is no need to feel that you must represent the Gods you wish to honour at your shrine, invoking them with words as you perform your Lararium ritual is enough.

      I think using Lego as a tool to create works of art that honour the Gods is worthy, and if they are really well done then why not display them in the home, but I, personally, would prefer not to use Lego on a shrine, it would feel a bit irreverent to me. That is not to say one should not use Lego constructs on a shrine – if you can do so with genuine reverence then it should not be a problem.

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  3. Thank you very much, Figula. In fact, that was the question. I have no figures in my lararium and I've seen some websites where they can be bought. But figures usually sold look like my granny's small statues and pictures of saints and virgins and I don't like them at all. Of course, I never considered a Lego Minerva to be worthy of adoration, but maybe the very same shrine could be built with that small pieces.

    I was afraid not having any image of any god, or any built shrine of any class could be considered impietas by gods, specially by homely gods, though I knew about Numa's rules. After your words, I feel more sure about my prayers and sacrifices: a decent, clean and severe shelf with a nice tableware could do it. Anyway, I like drawing and painting, maybe I could paint the images of my lares, genii and my patron gods. It would be a good offering. Thanks again, Figula. May gods protect and be with you.

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  4. Once again, LEGO proves to be the greatest invention in the history of toys. This is fantastic, and has brightened my day.

    Thank you for this!

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