Fire Worship on Soratte: from Prehistory to Present Days


  • Mario Falchetti Department of Molecular Medicine Sapienza - University of Rome
  • Laura Ottini Department of Molecular Medicine Sapienza - University of Rome


Fire Worship, Mount Soratte, Hirpi Sorani, Sorano Apollo , Fire walking


 Fire has always been involved in human thoughts, believes and actions. For many psychological reasons fire has been considered as living power: red as the human blood, warm as the human body, clearly shines in the night. Fire worship is very common, especially in regions where terrestrial fire is believed to be the image of the heavenly fire. Fire worship has represented the base for symbolic systems involved in the cultural-anthropological evolution of populations settled close to mount Soratte. Fire cults in this region have originated in independent and long-time separated contexts, according to available knowledge. Hirpi Sorani, ancient inhabitants of mount Soratte territory, celebrated Sorano Apollo by a famous fire walking ceremony, with a likely cathartic and apotropaic meaning, as reported by ancient Roman writers. The victory of Christianity over paganism caused the decline of these religious practices. The beginning of the XIX century witnessed the establishment of a new kind of devotion to the Virgin Mary at the mount Soratte.