The temple of the goddess of life beyond death has – believe it or not – survived Pompeii nearly untouched.
As the goddess of nurture, good fortune, the sea and travel, it’s not surprising that ancient Egyptian goddess Aset - more commonly known as Isis, her Greek name - was one of the most widely worshipped deities in ancient Egypt. What is surprising, however, is the deity’s popularity across the sea in Pompeii! Amidst the ruins of the city, Isis’ ancient temple stands tall and largely unscathed - which is appropriate enough, seeing as she is the goddess of life beyond death.
What brings Isis to the Romans? The answer remains neatly hidden in the folds of history. It is said that the temple was the site of a mystery cult reserved for the initiated, which held its meetings in a large hall that could be seen behind the temple. Destroyed by an earthquake within the last few years of BC, the temple was promptly rebuilt to survive the infamous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The Isis Temple is a rich destination for seemingly esoteric exploration. Its mainly intact structure allows visitors to roam the temple, gazing at the preserved paintings depicting scenes of the goddess’s myths and her legendary rescue of her husband Osiris from the dead.
Beyond the actual geographic site of the Temple, tourists can take a look at the temple’s ancient furniture and décor items at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.