The basilica is located inside the Celio Military Hospital and dates back to the mid-2nd century AD. Discovered at the end of the 19th century and largely excavated the following century, it was identified as a place of worship for Cybele and Attis and the seat of the religious congregation of dendrophores.
Thanks to the discovery of an inscription on the base of a statue and a portrait head found inside, it was possible to know that the basilica was built by Manius Publicius Hilarus, a rich pearl merchant and follower of the cult of Cybele.
The building consisted of a central courtyard preceded by a vestibule for access to other rooms and was equipped with an upper floor that no longer exists. In the vestibule there is a mosaic with some animal figures arranged around a human eye pierced by a spear, which had the magical-religious function of warding off evil influences.
In the third century a chapel was built which housed the pine sacred to Attis - Arbor Sancta - whose cult is attested by ancient sources. Starting from the 4th century, some of the service rooms were occupied by plants for productive activities and, between the 5th and 6th centuries, the site was definitively abandoned.
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