Statue of Bes I

The statue (fig. 1) smaller than the real one and with its head missing, portrays Bes, a minor divinity passed from the Egyptian pantheon to the Punic and then the Roman one. The god is portrayed as an obese midget with large feet, and is a beneficial, healthy divinity, assimilated to the god Aesclapius. The only garment worn is a skirt falling to the ankles, held at the waist by a twisted, knotted belt, with a wide band going downwards.

Fig. 1 - Statue of Bes (photo by N. Monari  - RAS Archives).

The Bes one is a popular cult, widespread in Sardinia in the late Punic and Roman period, in both rural areas, as the Maracalagonis (fig. 2) proves, and in towns, as those found in Cagliari (fig. 3) and Bithia (Torre di Chia-Domusdemaria) (fig. 4) show.

Fig. 2 - Statue of Bes from Maracalagonis. III-I cent. B.C. (photo Archaeological Superintendence Cagliari).
Fig. 3 - Statue of Bes from Cagliari. III-I cent. B.C. (from Barreca 1986, p. 137) III-I sec. a.C. (da Barreca 1986, p. 137)
Fig. 4 - Statue of Bes from Bithia. Roman period (from Barreca 1986, p. 137)



  • F. BARRECA, La civiltà fenicio-punica in Sardegna, Sassari 1986.
  • G.GARBATI, Il tempio "di Bes" e i "devoti sofferenti" di Bithia. Memorie locali e attualità del culto, in Tortosa (ed.), Dialogo de identitades. Bajo el prisma de las manifestaciones religiosas en el ambito mediterraneo (s. III a.C. - s. I d.C.), Merida 2014, pp. 289-302.
  • A. STIGLITZ, Bes in Sardegna, in S.Angiolillo et alii (edd.), Meixis. Dinamiche di stratificazione culturale nella periferia greca e romana, Roma 2012, pp. 133-151.
  • A. TARAMELLI, Fordongianus. Antiche terme di Forum Traiani, in Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1903, pp. 482-484.