In 2015, the Roman basilica was opened to the public in honour of the esoteric deity, which is located 12 meters below the street level. The structure is made of hard volcanic tuff and was located on the outskirts of the “eternal city”.
The walls are decorated with numerous reliefs of deities, panthers, cherubim, panthers and pygmies. The sanctuary was discovered by accident in 1917, during the construction of the railway line from Rome to Cassino in the south direction. The busy years of renovation allowed the unique monument to be made available to visitors. The underground basilica, dating back to the pre-Christian period, was financed by a wealthy Roman family that belonged to a little-known sect of Neopitagoreans. These included more enlightened citizens and open minds. They turned to monotheism. One of the main followers was a certain Nigidus Figulus, next to Cicero, the famous defender in criminal trials, Cicero himself or Vatinius. In the excavated site, asceticism and teaching based on the writings of Pythagoras and Plato were preached. Perhaps the sanctuary was used for meetings to spread the teachings of Apollonius of Tiana, who called himself the Son of God.
The Romans, as a rule, were a very tolerant people, agreeing to religious differences. However, the sect in question was treated as a threat, mainly due to undermining the divinity of the emperor and his mediation between the gods and the people. They were accused of witchcraft and bizarre rituals. The person who encouraged the persecution of the group at the beginning of the empire was Agrippina the Younger – the mother of Nero. The head of the family that founded the basilica – Titus Statilius Taurus – was questioned by the senate and finally forced to commit suicide in 53 CE. The sanctuary was closed by Claudius (Agrippina was his wife at the time). After the trial and the suicide of the former consul, the Statilius property was confiscated and Agrippina was given the beautiful Horti Tauriani.
The gradual basilica fell into disrepair. Currently, employees are working on the renovation of the interior.