O tipu 'istočnodalmacijskog' cipusa
The East-Dalmatian cippus type
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Under the name 'East-Dalmatian' cippus, we consider a specific type of grave monument which has been recorded up to now in the east of the Roman province Dalmatia, in the Drina valley from Skelani and Bajina Bašta on the north to Foča on the south, in the Lim valley around Prijepolje and in Plevlje and its surroundings. The type of grave monument can be determined as a two-pieced non-epigraphic funerary form with relief representations, as a novelty taken from Roman sepulchral art. The East-Dalmatian cippus type is included in a wider sense in the group of Mediterranean cippi which appear from Spain to Hersonnesos. In a narrower sense it belongs to the group of so-called 'South Illyrian' or ' Adriatic-Illyrian' cippi which are known on the south Adriatic territory of Apollonia and Durrachion. The attribute 'Illyrian' has no ethnic significance because this type of cippus can be ascribed to a heterogenous ethnic population. From a social point of view they belonged to the middle class w...hose aim was to approach higher social spheres through emulation, but at the same time, remained bound to the ancient cultural tradition. The East-Dalmatian cippus represents a type of grave monument which in its original form developed from autochthonous grave monument, connected to earlier autochthonous forms of burial. In the period of Roman domination it received its final morphological shape due to the combination of various influences from Greek, Celtic, Illyrian and Roman sepulchral art and Illyrian cultural aspects. Twenty nine monuments of this type are recorded up to now of which 26 are found alone and three with various additions. According to the form of the addition, we distinguish three variants of this cippus type. Variant I has a cube form with rectangular additions, a profiled pediment and acroteria. It developed under the influence of coastal Dalmatia and its immediate hinterland, by imitating an ash casket. Variant II is formed by the combination of the addition in the form of a cone with a cube which imitates the ancient tradition of burial beneath mounds. Variant III has an addition of a pyramidal form after the models in Roman sepulchral art. Pyramids arrived into this region from two directions: Pannonia and Dacia. It is possible that the tribe of Illyrian miners Pirusti transferred this form from Dacia. The cube form developed possibly by transferring the shape of a rectangular grave pit to a grave monument. The closest analogies to grave cubes are to be found in the region of Boka Kotorska and Budva, then around Apollonia and Durrachion. Further analogies are recorded in Germany, around Regensburg and Augsburg. The relief representations on the grave cubes are a novelty which was taken from Roman sepulchral art. A comparative analysis of grave monuments of stele and cube type shows that relief representations as well as the form of the relief fields which appear on the cubes had steles as their immediate model. Relief repre sentations on the grave cubes appear on three fields - the frontal and the two side ones. On the frontal field the funeral feast is always represented, either with the deceased on the bed or with the deceased in the company of his relatives. The iconographic representation of the deceased corresponded probably to a 'scenic' representation of his personality which, in a wider sense, replaced a text representation of the deceased, i.e. titulus. A particular characteristic of this cippus type is that they are non-epigraphic which can be understood as the continuation of the ancient tradition of an indigenous population. The retaining of the indigenous tradition is visible also in the representations of the costume and jewellery details on the relief, mostly in the case of women and to a lesser extent of men. The grave monuments of the cube type served to mark graves with cremations, and a round opening along their length served for libations. Chronologically this cippus type appears from the second half of the 2nd to the middle of the 4th century, but how the variants appeared, is not, because of a restricted number of monuments, determined precisely. The appearance of this cippus type deep in the hinterland in relation to other cippus types, and in particular those from the surrounding of Budva, Apollonia and Durrachion, can not be explained at the moment either by a penetration from the south coastal area or by creation on this territory. Chronologically they represent the latest morphological shape of cippus of the 'South-Illyrian' or 'Adriatic-Illyrian' cippus group. On the basis of the tectonic of grave monuments of the cube types with various additions one can not say whether they were formed and to what degree through the effect of immigrant groups on the natives during the period of Roman domination, or whether they were formed in the period before the arrival of the Romans, through joining, permeating and assimilating various elements of indigenous culture, immigrant and native. Grave cubes appear on the territory which corresponds to the territory of the tribe Autariatae in the Early Iron Age. The time interval is too long to suppose that these later groups were connected with the Autariatan tradition. However, on the basis of various archaeological material, it is possible to notice a prolongued retention of some characteristics of the material culture from the Early Iron Age. The epigraphic evidence shows also that the repertory of names of this area is close to Dalmatian, which is included in the so-called middle Dalmatian name region. All these elements have to be taken into consideration in future research work in this region. The question which needs an answer is the chronological and ethnical determination of the genesis of the cippus type grave monuments of the cube form with various additions.
Source:Starinar, 1997, 48, 173-183
- Arheološki institut, Beograd