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Worshipping of Deities by Soldiers in Salona in the Principate Period

Ivan Matijević ; Department of History, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (219 KB) str. 25-32 preuzimanja: 477* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Matijević, I. (2015). Štovanje božanstava među vojnicima u Saloni tijekom principata. Tusculum, 8 (1), 25-32. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Matijević, Ivan. "Štovanje božanstava među vojnicima u Saloni tijekom principata." Tusculum, vol. 8, br. 1, 2015, str. 25-32. Citirano 08.05.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Matijević, Ivan. "Štovanje božanstava među vojnicima u Saloni tijekom principata." Tusculum 8, br. 1 (2015): 25-32.
Matijević, I. (2015). 'Štovanje božanstava među vojnicima u Saloni tijekom principata', Tusculum, 8(1), str. 25-32. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 08.05.2021.)
Matijević I. Štovanje božanstava među vojnicima u Saloni tijekom principata. Tusculum [Internet]. 2015 [pristupljeno 08.05.2021.];8(1):25-32. Dostupno na:
I. Matijević, "Štovanje božanstava među vojnicima u Saloni tijekom principata", Tusculum, vol.8, br. 1, str. 25-32, 2015. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 08.05.2021.]

Of the 259 inscriptions in Salona mentioning members of the Roman military system, 12 are dedicated to various deities. Two dedications are to Jupiter, and probably two more,that cannot be proven because of the text being damaged. Two dedications mention Hercules,nymphs and Silvanus. In one inscription Silvanus is dedicated along another, unknown,deity. One inscription contains the name of Venus, and one most probably that of Mithras, whereas in one inscription the name of the deity has not been preserved.
Preserved are marks of the status of 12 dedicants, of which only two were privates. A legionair, whose name has net been preserved, dedicated an inscription to Venus in the former half of the 1st century, whereas the soldier Marcus Aurelius Atenius, of the legio I Adiutrix, erected an altar to Silvanus Silvestris after the year 211. Both these cults were very intensely present in Salona at the time, especially that of Silvanus. In the Atenius’ case, this does not have to be adoption of the local traditions of worshipping Silvanus, because he could have familiarised with this cult in Pannonia, where his legion had been stationed.
A joint dedication to Jupiter was made by the centurion of the cohors III Alpinorum, Titus Flavius Pompeius, and the protector consularis, Vibius Vibianus, after the year 211 in the quarries of Škrip, on the island of Brač. Their dedication, simultaneous presence and the centurion’s service related to maintaining the amphitheatre in Salona, suggest they erected the altar either before commencing or after successfully completing some task. Near the same quarry, in the 2nd or the 3rd centuries, the centurion Quintus Silvius Sperat(?), of the cohors I Belgarum, dedicated an inscription to nymphs. He, too, was on Brač island with a special commission related to maintaining the theatre in Salona. His inscription is found in the central part of the island, just a few kilometres from the localities from which other archaeological traces of the nymphs’ cult origin. Similar conclusions are reached by placing
into a wider archaeological context the relief dedicated to nymphs by the centurion Lucius Bebidius Cassius and one more person in the mid 2nd century in the area between Kamen and Lovrinac, in the present day Split. Somewhat farther from that place origin many more cult items, suggesting existence of several sanctuaries of other deities. This indicates that his dedication made part of a larger cult ambient. Speratus and Cassius were obviously aware of the local religious traditions, and incorporated them into their own religious needs, which cannot be said about Titus Flavius Pompeius and Vibius Vibianus, whose dedication to Jupiter, as the main state deity, was of a much more official character. The veteran, Gaius Julius Calvin(?) of the legio X Gemina, dedicated an altar to Jupiter. Most probably he was a eneficiarius, wherefore the choice of the deity does not surprise,
because this is the deity that beneficiarii most often dedicated altars to during their active service. Member of a cohort, and obviously a higher ranked person, Gaius Beri[---] Aurelius Maximus, dedicated an inscription to a deity whose name is followed by the epithet
conservator, that would also indicate Jupiter, but does not exclude some other deities either.
Two inscriptions are dedicated to Hercules. One dates to the former half of the 2nd century, and was dedicated and placed at the entrance into the town theatre by the centurion Sextus Aquillius Severus. He was alloted this representative location by the decurions council, of which he was a member, too. The other Hercules’s inscription, with a relief of the
deity, was dedicated on the birthday of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, 26 April 179, by the veteran and former centurion, Valerius Valens. The date shows that he, even as a veteran, honoured the date, as shown by the so called Feriale Duranum, that was celebrated by military units in line with the official religious calendar.
Two inscriptions have preserved names of equestrians. Maximius aximianus dedicated an inscription to Silvanus and one more deity whose name is not preserved. Dedications to Silvanus among higher social strata members are very rare, which makes this inscription
very important. The equestrian Aurelius(?) dedicated an inscription most probably to the god Mithras and all other immortal gods. If the deity’s name is restored correctly, this is a Mithras’s follower of the highest social status among all the epigraphically confirmed followers
of his cult in Salona.
Four dedicants were active centurions, and one was a former centurion. Confirmed are a governor’s protector, a legion veteran, two privates, one soldier who obviously performed a higher function in a cohort, and two equestrians, whereas one dedicant is lacking any information except for his legion. This clearly shows that dedications were placed by highly
ranked soldiers, who made them to the deities whose worshipping was already deeply present in Salona. There is not a single deity that can be said to have arrived from »outside«.
Two inscriptions belong to the early Principate, others to the late Principate. Existence of only 12 inscriptions dedicated to deities by soldiers shows that their participation in the religious life of Salona in this way was very much sporadic.

Ključne riječi
Salona; soldier; legion; cult; dedication; Silvanus; Venus; Jupiter; nymphs; Hercules; Mithras

Hrčak ID: 148895



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