29. Cult & religious practices

29. Cult & religious practices

Dr. Ivan Radman-Livaja

Affiliation: Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

Time Presenter (s) Presentation
09.00 Introduction
09.20 Anton Ye Baryshnikov Of pigs and borders: lost in translation, found in interpretation?
09.40 Ozren Domiter The Danube Horsemen Cult
10.00 Koos Rauws The dea nutrix along the Roman Limes


10.50 Ivan Radman Livaja A puzzling votive inscription by an officer of the cohors I Belgarum
11.10 Kelly Gilliking Schoueri Home is where the aedes is. Simulating Roman military identity and loyalty in locations of transition

Of pigs and borders: lost in translation, found in interpretation?
Anton Ye. Baryshnikov, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Ljubica Perinic, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Based on the military religious calendar as well as the votive inscriptions dedicated by soldiers it is clear that religious observances created a certain social structure in the life of the soldiers as well as it ensured discipline, loyalty, rewards for certain credits or penalties, and the explanations of traditions. While being stationed in Sisak (Siscia), beneficiarius consularis Lucius Virilius Pupus, erected the monument dedicated to Jupiter Heliopolitanus. In his dedication, there is nothing out of the ordinary that couldn’t be found on hundreds of votive inscriptions throughout the Roman Empire. What is compelling is the warning about bringing pigs near or at the monument that is written at the end of the inscription. While we may and will discuss whether that warning was for the accidental passers-by or was it for someone who wanted to honour the same god at the same monument, we are also offering two different perspectives from two sister disciplines. For a historian, this inscription can be utilized for the general narrative about religious cults of the Roman Empire or serve as a curiosity. Nevertheless, the understanding of this particular inscription requires more complex work, where archaeologists, historians, epigraphists do not follow the seductive easiness of ‘big’ interpretations but look at the evidence as it is. In general, this case once again highlights the need for an interdisciplinary and systematic approach to every source available, but also it indicates the need to revise existing data.

The Danube Horsemen Cult
Ozren Domiter, The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

The Danube Horsemen Cult is a cult fusion phenomenon dated to the 3rd c. AD and the first half 4th c. AD. The highest density of chance finds is located on the fines of so-called middle Danube provinces. The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb preserves a dozen of such finds, lead plaques in particular. Some of them are well known to the scholars while some of them will be firstly presented in this paper. Combining spatial distribution of the finds with the typology of the plaques, iconographical analysis of depictions and the rare epigraphical evidences, my intention is to discuss the origin of the Danube Horsemen Cult, distribution of its artefacts along the fines and eventually detect worshipers of the Cult or their social affiliation at least.

The dea nutrix along the Roman Limes
Koos Rauws

The terracotta statue of the Dea Nutrix may symbolize the limes because, apart from the Allier valley in France where the potters worked, they form “border markers” left behind by the “Roman” soldiers. The shape and distribution of attention that the maker has given to certain parts of the figurines is unusual. In particular the basket chair with a very old artistic presentation of an ordinary stake-and-strand braiding pattern.

A puzzling votive inscription by an officer of the cohors I Belgarum
Ivan Radman-Livaja, Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

An unpublished fragmented votive altar dedicated by a decurio equitum of the cohors I Belgarum equitata was brought from Dalmatia to the Zagreb Archaeological Museum between the two world wars. It remained in the storage rooms for many decades and was only recently noticed during the revision and databasing of the stone monuments’ collection. While the name of the dedicant, Publicius Clementinus , his rank and unit are clearly stated, the name of the divinity appears in an abbreviated form which cannot be unequivocally interpreted. At first, the most likely reading appears to be [B](onae) D(eae) R(eginae) Aug(ustae) but this interpretation is riddled with uncertainties. Not only there are no analogies for this combination of epithets but it is also a rather unusual votive monument for a Roman soldier. The paper aims to present this monument as well as different, more or less likely interpretations.

Home is where the aedes is. Simulating Roman military identity and loyalty in locations of transition
Kelly Gillikin Schoueri, University of São Paulo/ Maastricht University

Dispersed across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Roman soldiers found themselves in diverse locations and among hostile locals. As a means of mitigating the stress of this movement and unifying a multi-ethnic group, prescribed military religion was a constant and stabilizing observance. Indeed, an aedes, or sacred shrine, was mandated for the center of every Roman camp as a place to host the standards, the eagle and a bust or image of the emperor. But what about Roman military personnel on the move? How and where might these symbols of military worship be manifested? What kinds of multi-sensory experiences would be evoked when encountering such mnemonic triggers? Insight into the ways official military religion was maintained outside of the camp may be provided from the case of the lararium from excavations at Area E of Apollonia-Arsuf, a site from late 1st cent. CE Roman-occupied Israel. The Roman style building at Area E has been recently re-interpreted as a Roman mansio or statio for the use of military personnel as a way of ensuring movement and control over a province dealing with the aftereffects of the First Jewish War (66-73 AD). Methods of 3D simulation and accurate lighting scenarios of the well-preserved niche-style lararium indicates an objective, non-verbal discourse between the occupants and visitors of the building. Using this virtual interpretation alongside historical and archaeological evidence and theories of multi-sensoriality, it is argued that the lararium of Area E’s building should be considered an aedes for staging Roman imperial symbols of loyalty, duty and worship. Alongside these values, the physical and visual impact of such displays would have also provided a sensation of familiarity for military personnel far from home, in addition to re-orienting them as they move about the province and find themselves outside the official military camp.