In San Casciano dei Bagni (Tuscany), the site of an Etruscan and later Roman sanctuary currently under excavation, archaeologists have announced the discovery of a nearly two-meter statue of Apollo Sauroctonos, the god depicted playing with a lizard. The model for the Roman copy is attributed to Praxiteles. Once again, the significance of the find is underscored by the context of the sanctuary
Particularly noteworthy is the travertine altar with a bilingual inscription in Etruscan and Latin, a rarity known to exist in only a few dozen examples. This altar is identified as a votive offering, a gift to the gods. The discovery in 2022 of a votive deposit with the now-famous bronze statues, showcased up to the Quirinale, the residence of the Italian Republic’s president, adds to the historical richness.
Now, from the thermal waters, numerous elements are emerging to enhance the understanding of this sanctuary with a long history, dating back to the Etruscans, at least based on the currently available data. The sanctuary was associated with water rituals, much like the thermal baths that visitors still frequent in this small Tuscan village. The sacred site was certainly in use until the 5th century CE.
Beyond its classical archaeological value, the statue is a significant piece in connecting the site directly to the presence of Apollo. The lizard, in turn, may be linked to requests for healing from eye diseases.
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