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  • Author or Editor: Radu Ota x
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Abstract

In this paper, the author draws the attention of experts to a new glyphic discovery from Apulum. It is a schematic portrait of the Gorgon Medusa, depicted on a three-layered sardonyx. Based on parallels and the manufacturing technique, the author concludes that the piece originates from the workshops of Viminacium, Upper Moesia. The cameo is dated in the second half of the second century AD, prior the time when the canabae of the XIII Gemina legion rose to the status of municipium (ante AD 197). It is the only glyptic piece that bears the image of Medusa that's Dacian origin is certain. From an artistic point of view, it is a modest quality of execution, below the average provincial level. Furthermore, the author makes some remarks on the gems found in the collections of the National Museum of the Union in Alba Iulia, with a few additions and clarifications regarding the place of discovery and the possibility of the existence of a workshop of cavatores gemmarum at Apulum.

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This paper synthetises knowledge concerning the spread of the paredros type statuette in Roman Dacia. Thus, we examined their manner of distribution, the workshops, and most importantly their significance. The author notes that these statuettes were discovered solely in Dacia Superior and Porolissensis, especially in the former. He highlights the fact that these statuettes were found in the area of the most developed urban planning, along the Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa–Apulum–Potaissa–Porolissum line, in highly Romanised towns with important military units stationed nearby. Similarly, it shows the important role the Apulum urban centre played in producing and distributing these votive statuettes. The author concludes that these statuettes are additional evidence of the lower classes’ affiliation to imperial power. Due to the spread of the Jupiter cult in Apulum, it is no wonder that people sought to obtain a cheaper variant, accessible to the poor. Due to this aspect, as well as the sober, rigid stance of the characters, we attribute them to the deities Jupiter and Juno. Considering that such statuettes were not found in burials, it is unlikely that they were funerary offerings that were more likely to depict the divine couple Pluto and Proserpine. The statuettes cannot represent local Dacian deities since the conquered population is rarely mentioned in provincial inscriptions with anthroponyms (just over two percent), and sculptural or epigraphic monuments do not represent the deities of the ancient local pantheon. Furthermore, in the urban environment where these votive terracottas were produced, the presence of the Thracian-Dacian population is almost never mentioned epigraphically (more than 1% of epigraphs depict anthroponyms) or archaeologically.

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Abstract

The authors discuss herein, and present the specialists, a recent find related to the classical Graeco-Roman pantheon. It is a bronze figurine of Minerva discovered in a waste pit from the southern cemetery of the urban centre at Apulum, located on the Furcilor Hill-“Podei”. Although archaeology records no workshop making such pieces, this figurine, rather modest in artistic terms, had likely been produced at Apulum or in one of the workshops from the Roman province of Dacia. It is a solid cast, in the “lost-form” technique, sized as follows: height – 7.2 cm, width – 1.9 cm, thickness – 0.9 cm. On the basis of its execution, which lacks accurate rendering of facial features, yet also the absent Gorgon on the aegis, the votive figurine may be dated to the 3rd century AD. Since it was not discovered in a grave, but in a waste pit, it is rather difficult to make a connection with any possible funerary function of the goddess. The ancient prototype of this kind of representation is the cult statue of Athena Parthenos of Phidias, housed on the Acropolis of Athens. The other six bronze votive figurines of Minerva discovered in Dacia do not resemble that discussed here.

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The first known representation of Artemis from Ephesus in Dacia was recovered in the spring of 2006, the small bronze statuette being part of one of the biggest private, archaeological collections looted from various Roman sites. In this article, the authors present the iconographic features of the statuette, the religious significance of the object and through the modern story of the artefact will reflect on the biography of ancient objects once used in religious contexts.

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