The paper aims to provide comments on the worship of Hercules as a protector of Roman stoneworkers, focusing on an inscription from Upper Moesia — a tabula from the Iron Gates gorge dedicated to Hercules by the lapidarii of the legions VII Claudia and IV Flavia.
In this article, we offer some philosophical notes on the so-called Plotinus sarcophagus, currently exhibited in the ‘Vatican Museums’ (inv. 9504), which has been dated to the end of the third quarter of the 3rd century. Since the sarcophagus in question has been the subject of discussion among experts since the 1920s, our aim is to contribute to the scientific debate with a number of philosophical remarks to assist in the interpretation of the iconographic representation of the teacher teaching, accompanied by two Muses, but also to make particular reference to certain passages taken from the On the Life of Plotinus, written by his disciple, Porphyry, three decades after the death of his teacher.
Some Considerations on the Praefectus ripae legionis primae Ioviae cohortis et secundae Herculiae musculorum Scythicorum et classis in plateypegiis
This article examines the passage XXXIX, 35 from Notitia Dignitatum, the only literary source referring to the fleet commander in the Roman province of Scythia. The document mentions the praefectus of the fleet and two types of naval units under his control. Several questions can be raised about the status of the commander, the place where he or she resided, the nature and attributions of the fleet. Although the text has been studied by many historians, several reading proposals being advanced, the issue of the military fleet on the Scythian border remains open.
‘Rock Salt Around the Clock’. Ethnoarchaeological Research Concerning Traditional Extraction of Salt for Animal Consumption
In Romania, an EU Member State since 2007, there are several mountainous areas with enduring ancient practices of animal husbandry and exploitation of salt resources. Here, shepherds quarry rock salt from outcrops two to three times per year as nutrients for their sheep flocks, for which they travel up to 20–30 km. Salt thus becomes an essential element for increasing the spatial parameters of pastoral mobility. Complex ethnological models emerged within a broader research project (cf. ethnosalro.uaic.ro), opening new windows to understanding the prehistorical or historical pre-mining phase of rock salt exploitation.
The authors analyse all the archaeological finds coming from ancient Greece on the territory of Kosovo, also presenting an overview on the commercial exchanges between the actual territory of Kosovo and Greece, with a particular interest on trade routes. The social differentiation in Dardania at the beginning of the Iron Age made possible the aristocracy’s interest for the luxury products from Greece. The commercial exchanges existed from the Bronze Age. The study also focuses on the influence of Greek products on the local production in Dardania.
The article presents the preliminary results of the archaeological and ethnographic explorations of the site with remains of salt exploitation from Gherla–Valea Sărată. The site is located at ca. 1800 m south-west of the city of Gherla, Romania, and covers the valley of a salt creek measuring ca. 3000 m (N–S) × 550 m (E–W). In the northern sector of the site, around a salt water basin that was recently developed, on a surface measuring ca. 70 m (N–S) × 60 m (E–W), there were identified and studied various archaeological remains: traces from structures of wooden poles and wattle, ceramic fragments and a stone axe. They date from the Neolithic or the Eneolithic, the early and middle Bronze Age, and the modern period. The discovered remains are, by most probabilities, related to the exploitation of the salt water. In the northern and central part of the site there are numerous cavities and earth mounds, as well as other soil irregularities of anthropic origin, for which it was not possible to advance a dating. The northern part of the site yielded several structures from the recent period: two roofed salt water wells with timber shafts, both recently re-developed using fresh and reclaimed timber. Across the entire site there are several salt springs with basic furnishings. In the northern and central part of the site there are several “scalde” — pools with basic furnishings used for treatments with salt water and mud, without any supervision from healthcare personnel. Near the largest of these “scalde”, there have been discovered fragments a wayside crucifix, specific to the area. It was most likely dedicated to the curative properties of the “salt place”. According to the interviewed denizens, the saline manifestations from Valea Sărată are exploited to a large extent in the traditional economy: for cooking and preserving human food and animal fodder, and in folk medicine. Also relevant is that Valea Sărată is one of the preferred grazing locations for sheep according to the local shepherds, who mentioned that animals particularly like the grass growing in saline soils. The brine from Valea Sărată is considered by the locals and inhabitants of the surrounding villages as “the best of the area”, so that people from multiple settlements around a 10 km radius come regularly to Valea Sărată for collecting brine and for bathing. The site has a high potential for more in-depth interdisciplinary research.
Both in scientific literature and popular mind the Romans are considered e the symbol of aggression, militarism and conquest, but the more thorough analysis shows that many of Roman wars were really defensive or at least began as a war of defence and Th. Mommsen’s idea of “defensive imperialism” has a good deal of sense. The fetial law with its concept of “bellum iustum” stands at the foundation of Roman idea of international relations and was (despite all possible speculations) an important step in the world of undeclared warfare of “civilized (Greeks, Carthaginians) or “uncivilized” (Gauls, Germans and others) nations. Most wars (about 60 of 100) of 5th-3rd centuries BC are depicted in Roman tradition as self-defence, while the period from the Samnite Wars till the time of Julius Caesar becomes the time of the defence of numerous Roman amici and socii. On these principles grows the global doctrine of the defence of “human civilization” against the “barbarian world” and the establishment of world order, based on law and justice. One may consider this picture as an instrument of propaganda, but many of these ideas and declarations were real truth.
According to Julius Caesar, of all the gods Celts revered Mercury the most, regarding him as the inventor of all arts. The cult of Mercury became widespread not only in Roman Gaul, which was one of the most thoroughly Romanised provinces of the Empire, but also in Roman Britain — the farthest western area governed by the Roman Empire. In both provinces Mercury was worshipped as the patron of commerce, which befitted him as the Roman god of trade and profit. At the same time, in both Gaul and Britain Mercury was syncretized with the Celtic horned god of fertility. Archaeological findings from these regions also suggest that the Mercury worshipped in Britain and Gaul during the Roman rule was also the guardian of military affairs — a role absolutely untypical of the original Roman god, but necessary for the supreme god of Celts who was the divine warrior-patron of Celtic tribes. Besides, the magical-chthonic aspect of Celtic Mercury likened him to Hermes, the god of eschatological and mystical endeavour of humankind in the religion of the Ancient Mediterranean.
The civil settlements from Capidava emerged probably next to the camp which constituted the siege of many auxiliary units. The texts attest uexillationes of the legio V Macedonica, but the camp was mainly occupied by two cohorts: I Vbiorum and I Germanorum ciuium Romanorum. Next to the cap there were the canabae and another civil settlement. I shall analyse the population coming from the civil settlements from an epigraphic point of view. I shall also discuss the origin of the population in the rural milieu of Capidava and the reasons of the newcomers’ presence in this area.
Although found more than 130 years ago and thought to be lost in the Bulgarian science, this votive monument from Nicopolis ad Nestum was “re-discovered” by the author in the exposition of the museum in Drama, Greece. The votive with the represented on it gods from the Graeco-Roman Pantheon is devoted to Pluto. The iconography of the monument is of the type Pluto on the throne. According to the inscription, Pluto is not only a chthonic deity of the Underworld, but also as “Πλούτος”–“Plutos” is the god of fertility, abundance and richness. Hermes is also depicted as “Ploutodotes“/“Κερδώος”, while Asclepius is represented as healer, giving strength and restoring, also of possibility of abundance and richness. The dedicators of the votive descent from a rich Thracian family and probably are part of the elite of Nicopolis ad Nestum. Their names reveal that these people have received Roman citizenship with the Constitutio Antoniniana after 212. The votive relief is made of a local marble, and is a work of the local masters, knowing well the iconography of the Graeco-Roman deities and the one of the imperial portraits of Julia Domna and Caracalla from the Severan dynasty.
Swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations (Almgren 232) from the Roman period in Dobrudja (Moesia Inferior)
Discovered in a large number in the Balkan-Danubian provinces of the Roman Empire, the swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations are in most cases attributed to the military. The iconographic motive and form are the artistic expression of Thracian traditions specific in the Lower Danube regions. The precursors of this type of brooches are the silver brackets found in Thracians princely graves discovered in Romania and Bulgaria dated in the 4th century BC. Chronologically framed in the 2nd–4th centuries AD, the roman fibulae are discovered mainly in military environments. On the territory of Dobroudja (Moesia Inferior), four brooches of this type are known, one at Ulmetum and three in the civil settlement near the camp of Durostum, at Ostrov-Ferma 4.