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Second Thoughts about the Built-in Relief from the Northern Necropolis of Salona

Dražen Maršić ; Sveučilište u Zadru

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 383 Kb

str. 191-201

preuzimanja: 107


Puni tekst: engleski pdf 383 Kb

str. 191-201

preuzimanja: 103



Ten years ago, while he was researching into built-in reliefs in Istria and Dalmatia, the author found his attention attracted by the drawing of a relief with an epigraph discovered in the area of the northern necropolis of Salona; however, attempts to locate the actual relief in the Archaeological Museum in Split were unsuccessful. But while the rear yard of the Museum was being put in order, it was found after all, and soon re-inventoried (AMS-A-4538) and stored in the epigraphic collection repository (66bh). The re-discovery allowed the details of the structure, art, typology and chronology to be investigated one more time. The front of the monument is on the whole in good correlation with the drawing, but there were some small differences in the depiction of the breaks. The other sides are seen for the first time. The rear side has hardly visible traces of a toothed chisel and is of hemispherical cross-section. The corners have been secondarily carved and lowered a little, particularly the lower right corner. On the left side there are several dots that tend to suggest corroded clamps in stone, but are nevertheless superficial. It is not possible to guess how they were formed. As compared with the drawing, there are minor differences in the execution of the inscription: the siglum of the personal name (praenomen) is done with a final vertical line, many figures have richly formed serifs, in the lower row there are two punctuation marks missing in the drawing, and the last letter is a somewhat dropped tall T. The first row of the epigraph was filled by the name of the client and the owner of the monument, a man, most likely in the three-name formula, perhaps with filiation, which is not clear, however. In the event of the presence of filiation and/or some longish cognomen there might be room on the relief for three characters, and without filiation and/or with a short cognomen, just for two (which is certain from the inscription). The woman’s name was probably in the two-name formula. To the left the alignment of the dative uxori and the punctuation that follows open up questions whether in the sequel there was some moralising epithet or text that refers to a third person, then obligatorily linked with the conjunction et. Bulić recognised the gentile name of the man as Bellicus or Bellinus, but Alfödy’s restitution of Bellius is almost certain. On a title from Kaštel-Sućurac CIL 3, 2591 = 8647 (HD052752) there is a Bellia Chrysorhoe, and on an urn from Salona, AMS-A3261 = ILIJug 3,2142 (HD034636) a certain Bel. Cresce(n) s, whose first name is almost certainly an abbreviation of the name Bellius (something accepted in all major digital epigraphic databases: EDH – HD034636, EDCS – 10101102, Ubi erat Lupa – 24755; the last database has a picture of an urn). A name that could theoretically be considered is Bellicius, but it has not been found in Dalmatia in full form. Names with the stem Belli- appear primarily in Celtic provinces, most used as cognomen. The name Bellius is mostly found in Gallia Lugdunensis (5) and if to the epigraph from Sućurac we add those from the Salona urn and the relief under consideration, then as long as elsewhere the number has not been enlarged, Dalmatia would be the second province in terms of number of confirmations. This detail probably reveals the origin of the Salona family, which perhaps came to Dalmatia in the early 1st century AD.
After everything referred to, the transcription of the epigraph should be slightly corrected from that given earlier, and without claims to recognise the first letter in the deceased woman’s name, should read: C(aius) Belli[us? ...] / v(ivus) f(ecit) sibi et [... ...] / uxori [...].
What is left of the portrait is just most of the left bust, in which it is reasonable to recognise a man because of the bunching of the drapery on the left shoulder, typical of a toga, and the fact that it is above the part of the epitaph with the name of the owner. On the basis of a drawing and the remains of the epigraph it has been concluded that the deceased is dressed in tunic and toga (pallium or bracchio cohibito type). The autopsy of the relief changes this however. The lower stratum of the drapery consist of V-shaped pleats below the neck, which clearly belong to a tunic, and above that are the folds of a toga, which is clearly imagined as if it had a sinus and a deeply dropped balteus. Because of the shaping of the cloak on the chest the types indicated by H. R. Goette with the letters C, D and E can be ruled out, and the depicted type of toga should be recognised as that indicated by the letter B, i.e., the Early Imperial type in fashion from the middle of the Augustan period, but shown in a format in which the defining elements such as sinus, balteus and umbo cannot be seen.
The transversal conception of the epigraph, the assumed appearance of the pictorial field and the format in general (no gable) and the execution of the rear side of the Salona relief show it belongs to a group of reliefs that were built into some one of the forms of sepulchral architecture, or simply represented the front of some pedestal. There are good local comparisons in a relief from Plomin and the relief of T. Bibius Justus from Rab, The first such example from the eastern coast of the Adriatic was recognised by N. Cambi, whom we are celebrating in this volume (the sepulchral relief from Rab, today in the Lapidarium of that place). The biggest problem, and that most difficult to solve, is the issue of the time of the making of the relief. Tending to support an early dating in the 1st century is the type of the monument; but the onomastic elements, the epigraphic formulae and the palaeography permit a later date, up to the Antonine period. Alföldy dated the epigraph from the relief to the later Principate, like other inscriptions of members of the Bellius family, At this moment it seems reasonable to date it to the period from the 1st to the early 2nd century AD.
From all the digital databases on the Web and printed corpora of Latin epigraphic material, the inscription on the relief is given only in ILJug 3, no. 2568 (pp. 302-326). A. and J. Šašel labelled all the Salona fragmentary epigraphs from volume 1 to 47/48, while the current example is given on p. 321, with the basic data (but without the restitution) accompanied by a brief mention that on the epigraph the name of a man appears, C. Belli]-]. This paper should prompt this shortcoming to be corrected.

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