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Roman Tropaea in Dalmatia

Nenad Cambi ; Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (694 KB) str. 125-150 preuzimanja: 1.236* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Cambi, N. (2010). Rimski vojni tropeji u Dalmaciji. Adrias, (17), 125-150. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Cambi, Nenad. "Rimski vojni tropeji u Dalmaciji." Adrias, vol. , br. 17, 2010, str. 125-150. Citirano 22.10.2019.
Chicago 17th Edition
Cambi, Nenad. "Rimski vojni tropeji u Dalmaciji." Adrias , br. 17 (2010): 125-150.
Cambi, N. (2010). 'Rimski vojni tropeji u Dalmaciji', Adrias, (17), str. 125-150. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 22.10.2019.)
Cambi N. Rimski vojni tropeji u Dalmaciji. Adrias [Internet]. 2010 [pristupljeno 22.10.2019.];(17):125-150. Dostupno na:
N. Cambi, "Rimski vojni tropeji u Dalmaciji", Adrias, vol., br. 17, str. 125-150, 2010. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 22.10.2019.]

Tropaea were the commemorative monuments erected on battlefields to celebrate recent victories or on other prominent places chosen by the triumphant side. The aim of such monuments had two basic purposes: to commemorate the victory (especially the important one) and to serve as a warning (memento) so as to demonstrate the military supremacy of the victors. The only archaeological evidence of a Greek tropaeum was found in Stari Grad (Pharos), a colony of Aegean Parians, on the island of Hvar in Dalmatia. Only a rectangular block with the inscription: ΦΑΡΙΟΙ ΑΠΟ ΙΑΔΑΣΙΝΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΩΝ ΣΥΜΑΧΩΝ ΤΑ ΟΠΛΑ is preserved (fig. 1). The translation: Parians (consecrated) the weapons conquered from Iadasinians and their allies. The last two lines are erased. Several naval battles were waged in the eastern Adriatic during the last centuries BC. But only one was very important for the city of Pharos, which occurred shortly after the foundation of the Greek colony. The local people Iadasini (Liburni from Iader/Iadassa or an Illyrian tribe originating from the surroundings of Salona) attacked Pharos. These autochthonous people were defeated according to Diodorus in 385/4 BC, after Dionysos, tyrant of Syracuse, sent a fl eet (either from Lissos or from Issa) to help the Parians. Thousands of Illyrians were killed or captured. Romans introduced the erecting of tropaea in the period of the social and political development and the rise of Roman official elite involved in the state services in the 4th century BC. But they appeared only much later in Dalmatia. In his Res Gestae August mentioned that he succeeded in returning the lost military standards from Illyrians, conquered earlier from another commander (Gabinius) which he stored in Mars Ultor`s temple (Rome). But, this Illyrian event was very significant for the future emperor since it belonged among his extremely outstanding successes ob signa recepta. This event in Illyricum had to be commemorated by a monument on the very battlefield. Whether it was a provisory image or a structure, it is unknown.
At the end of the 19th century two fragments of a tropaeum were found within the territory of the Roman military camp (7th Roman legion Claudia Pia Fidelis) Tilurium, in the small village of Gardun some 30 kilometres north from Split. One fragment is an entire slab with the inscription panel which is kept in the Archaeological Museum in Split (fig.4). Another smaller fragment is kept in the Museum in Cetinska krajina in Sinj (fig. 5, 6). Obviously both of them belong to the revetment of the concrete nucleus of the monument (cf. Fig. 7, 8) (ideal reconstruction). Unfortunately, the site was never excavated. G. Picard suggested that the Gardun tropaeum belonged to the period of the second triumvirate or several years later. This suggestion is based on the analysis of the armour appearing on the plaques, especially of the cuirass with pteryges, but without the leather straps. However, it is much more likely that this tropaeum is of a much later origin, since the acanthus scrolls of the ansae of the tabula are very close to those of Ara Pacis. In stylistic terms, the decoration of the ansae inscription (acanthus scrolls) reveals the strong impact of the later period.
So the Gardun plaque chronologically belongs to the Augustan period and consequently the tropaeum must have been erected in honour of the victory over the two Bato`s rebellions from 6th to 9th AD (Bellum Batonianum). Two cuirassed torsos of Roman emperors, found in Dalmatia, show a Roman tropaeum in the centre of the breast. The first is kept in the Archaeological Museum of Zagreb (fig. 15). It was found in Issa (today Vis). The second was found in Salona (recently sold in Sotheby's auction) (fig. 16). In my opinion both of them are from Tiberian period and show the tropaeum placed somewhere (Gardun- Tilurium?) in Dalmatian hinterland after the defeat of Illyrians and Pannonians (6 – 9 AD). Since both statues belonged to two diff erent groups of imperial statues from diff erent shrines (Issa and Salona), it is possible that they represented the same emperor and displayed the same Dalmatian tropaeum. Recently a fragment of a tropaeum, unfortunately badly damaged, was found in the vicinity of the forum in Narona, a Roman colony in the central Dalmatia (figs. 17, 18, 19). It depicts the prow (prora) of a war galley with a heavy iron spike (or spikes) on the pole (rostrum). On both sides there is the same depiction of a woman's head and an eagle carrying a wreath in its claws. A woman who wears a tunica with a loose right shoulder strap is a probably a goddess (Victoria?) or a mythological figure (an Amazon?). The best parallel for such a monument is the Octavian's tropaeum erected for the victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium (Nikopolis) preserved on Octavian's coins and several other representations (fig. 20, 21). This monument is of high quality and made of Proconnesian marble. Possibly it was a copy of this famous Octavian's tropaeum which was erected in Naronitan forum in order to commemorate his victory since the colony was founded in the early Augustan period. In this period (only slightly later), occurred the foundation of the imperial shrine of municipal character. An allusion to his naval victory at Actium appears in the centre of the cuirassed statue of August in the Naronitan shrine (Nereids riding the sea horses and dolphins beneath). The Actium tropaeum type made a strong impact in the Roman world. So it, for example, appears on an antefix, now in the Museum in Bonn. A marble tombstone from Museo Nazionale Romano delle Terme shows a commercial ship with the base for a column. This monument is under the strong iconographic influence of the Actium tropaeum (fig. 23), although in a slightly modified way. After these early tropaea there is no more evidence of later monuments in Dalmatia.

Ključne riječi
Dalmatia; Roman-Illyrian wars; tropaea

Hrčak ID: 74542



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