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Fragmented Stele Showing the Image of a Child in the Archaeological Museum in Split

Dražen Maršić ; Sveučilište u Zadru, Odjel za arheologiju, Zadar, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (6 MB) str. 71-82 preuzimanja: 491* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Maršić, D. (2012). Fragmentirana stela s likom djeteta iz Arheološkoga muzeja u Splitu. Tusculum, 5 (1), 71-82. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Maršić, Dražen. "Fragmentirana stela s likom djeteta iz Arheološkoga muzeja u Splitu." Tusculum, vol. 5, br. 1, 2012, str. 71-82. Citirano 08.05.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Maršić, Dražen. "Fragmentirana stela s likom djeteta iz Arheološkoga muzeja u Splitu." Tusculum 5, br. 1 (2012): 71-82.
Maršić, D. (2012). 'Fragmentirana stela s likom djeteta iz Arheološkoga muzeja u Splitu', Tusculum, 5(1), str. 71-82. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 08.05.2021.)
Maršić D. Fragmentirana stela s likom djeteta iz Arheološkoga muzeja u Splitu. Tusculum [Internet]. 2012 [pristupljeno 08.05.2021.];5(1):71-82. Dostupno na:
D. Maršić, "Fragmentirana stela s likom djeteta iz Arheološkoga muzeja u Splitu", Tusculum, vol.5, br. 1, str. 71-82, 2012. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 08.05.2021.]

In the back yard of the Archaeological Museum in Split, in a group of unclassified Roman stone artworks, there is a small fragmented stele with an acephalic portrait (Figure 1). Preserved are two thirds of its original height, the upper third of the corpus being missing. It is made from local limestone, 0.66 m in height, 0.45 in width and 0.12 in depth. Its origin is unknown, but having in mind origin of the surrounding monuments, it appears its Salonitan origin should not be questioned.
The lower part of the stele is designed as a transversally extended inscription field of the titulus form. Its profiled frame is made of the cyma reversa form, whereas outer frames are plain straight stripes, the upper and the lateral ones being roughly of the same width, whereas the bottom one is the highest, since it makes the base of the monument. The upper horizontal and lateral frames are of flat and polished surface, same as the cyma reversa mouldings, whereas the bottom frame is formed with a toothed chisel, but left unpolished. The inscription field is treated in the same way, except for the very edges along the mouldings. The unpolished base is but a measure of economy at the part of the monument that is not exposed to direct view anyway, whereas the similar treatment of the inscription field is a subsequent intervention on the finished monument. This is evident from the inscription field surface being, treated with toothed chisel, higher than the smooth edges, obviously bearing an inscription in the past.
Above the inscription field is the field with the image of the deceased, originally of about the same height as the inscription. The portrait of the deceased is shown in a reduced semi-figure segment. The head is cut together with the top part of the monument. The hands are bent in elbows and laid parallel across the chest. On the right forearm is shown a bird with its head down. Such position was probably to show the bird pecking from the hand. Appearance of the bird may lead to conclusion that the deceased shown is a younger person. Images of birds as pets appear in a number of stelai, e.g., the stele of Titus Fuficius of Salona, the stele of the girl Procula of Zenica, etc. The relief workmanship quality may be assessed as medium. The deceased is presented with his hands bare, because under both shoulders there are visible horizontally cut lines, most probably marking the edge of the tunica. At the level of the right shoulder there are remainders of mortar and cemented moss, wherefore it is unclear whether the deceased wore another piece of clothing over the tunica (most probably not), that could only have been a sagum. Given the character of the clothing, the person shown is most probably a boy, but his age cannot be determined. The portrait is placed in a field than can be reconstructed as a circle of which three quarters are made, meaning this is a reduced shield (clipeus) framed with an outer straight stripe and an inner cyma reversa moulding (preserved in small traces only). Given its shape and size, it is recommendable referring to it as a pseudo-clipeus. The motives that might have existed in the corners between the clipeus and the straight ending cannot be determined (DM sigla, rosettes, dolphins?).
The stela from the Archaeological Museum in Split belongs to a small but well defined group of Salonitan stelai and stelai of both Adriatic shores in general. Most of them present portraits, but in some of them the upper field is taken by vegetative decoration instead of portraits (Figure 2). Although all these stelai show certain mutual differences in shaping and meanings of accompanying elements, first of all in shaping the pseudo-clipeus and lateral fields, they have one thing in common - all of them in their upper parts have a flat, rectangular ending. Formation and appearance of this type of stelai in Salona are not perfectly clear. N. Cambi deems they were designed in a later époque by the functional principle, combining elements of heterogeneous origins - inscription field in the bottom and shield/clipeus in the upper parts. They are preceded by stelai with full clipeus, In Dalmatia appearing by more then one example only in Iadera, Salona and Tilurium (Figure 3), and are confirmed among architectural and moulded gabled types. All of them in their upper parts end in triangular gables of full format, thereby clearly differing from later stelai with pseudo-clipeus. The time of their appearance seems to be the latter half of the 1st century, the peak of their use in the early 2nd century. In Dalmatia there is no evidence of existence of monumental built tombs of walls filed with portrait clipei, wherefore their appearance should be explained by foreign influences, the new patterns arrived to Dalmatia from abroad at that time. Since the Dalmatian stelai with medallions are somewhat older than the Noric ones, even entire production of Noric medallions, it is clear that no connection between them is possible, probably only as a result of developments caused by similar processes. They also precede the beginning of mass importation of the sarcophagi and trading in marble from Rome and Aegean. The clipeus motif has not been confirmed on earlier imported sarcophagi at all. The only source left as possible, therefore, is the northern Italy, where the clipeus stelai production took place just a bit earlier, with its peak between the 40s and the 70s of the 1st century.
Stelai with pseudo-clipeus could make a further transformation of the above described type (a local development) or/and an imported idea (Noricum, northern Italy?). By their contents, the Dalmatian stelai show evident local specifics (individualised portraits), only partly comparable with the north-Italian ones.
This monument may be dated only by its structural and typological characteristics, and possibly by the character of the clothing worn by the deceased. Numerous comparisons show that stelai of this type appeared for the first time between the later Antonine and the earlier Severin periods, to have lasted till the Tetrarchian period. They were most popular in the 3rd and the early 4th centuries. The format and contents of this stele, as well as similarities with the stele of Drvenik (Figure 4) are placing it in the 3rd century AD. This dating is supported by the still "classic" shaping of the clothing (tunica rather than manicata!).
An information that the analysed stele is of Salona would be more than precious. However, since we do not have it, we are to content ourselves with the conclusion that stelai of this type are presently most numerous at the borders of the Salonitan territory - the islands of Drvenik and Šolta, and in Strožanac. It is not ruled out, moreover it is quite possible, that there are more such monuments, especially in the depots of the Archaeological Museum in Split. However, this type undoubtedly must have been known in Salona as well, its affirmation and spreading having started right from here.

Ključne riječi
stele; portrait; clipeus; shield

Hrčak ID: 89538



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