Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Monday, November 30, 2009

Roman Souvenirs

Here are some interesting and extremely rare finds from Roman Britain. I feature these bronze bowls in my second novel, Eleri's Tale.

The bowl to the right is called the Staffordshire Moorlands cup and it was discovered in 2004 by experienced metal detectors out for a walk.

The bowl has the names of the first 5 forts on Hadrian's Wall engraved along the top outside rim, and originally had a handle and might have been used as a type of skillet. It dates to the 2nd century.

It has elaborate Celtic-style curvilinear design and possesses much of its original decoration which was done in vivid turquoise, blue, red, yellow and purple enamel.

In the photo below you can see the name "DRACO" inscribed on the top left. It is uncertain if Draco was the owner of the bowl or the person who manufactured it.

The photo below is of a copy of the Rudge cup, found at the bottom of a well at the site of a Roman villa in Wiltshire, England. It shows a representation of Hadrian's Wall with its turrets and milecastles. The cup dates to the first half of the second century and also lists forts on the Wall.

It is believed that these bowls are military souvenirs of the time, much as we would go on a trip and buy a coffee cup or a set of salt and pepper shakers with "Niagara Falls" or "Las Vegas" emblazoned on it. Probably only high-ranking Roman officers could afford to purchase these.

I visited Hadrian's Wall in northern England in 2008 while I was writing Eleri's Tale. Fascinating country!



1 comment:

  1. It's great to think that only the 'elite' forces of ancient cultures could afford or receive such tremendous artifacts as we see them. I'm more akin to the thought that the grunts, or peons of those forces actually used the artifacts they were given in their daily lives and service requirements. 'Here's your bowl and monthly salt payment' ( as salt was a much needed substance in preserving food in those days)'. You kin, get up there and make sure the promenade looks great for the leaders wedding next month.' 'Yes, SIR!" says the lowest level workers as they know they have the next month to look forward to digging the trenches of whatever cruddy project vs. a presdigious project of making the scene a beautiful one. So, of course, they take it. And during that time their 'artifacts' they received are used and abused during the normal wear and tear of daily life. It's not a surprise that there are so few artifacts from the old days. I suspect people used what they had and didn't really think about preserving them so that some futurian could uncover their 'horde' and showcase it to the modern world. They used what they had to enable their kids to morph the world into what it is today. I can't begin to think of the countless ancestors I have and what they DID go through in order for me to be here today. It's monumental. We can trace our family back by about five generations ago. Beyond that things start to get fuzzy. Prior to that it's anyone's guess as to what happened . I'm glad to be here and making a difference in the lives of those I influence. I can only imagine what effects I might have on the next five generations. I hope that it is a preserving one. Along with the funny. I'm really good with the funny. You know that I am. Kiss, Kiss. Will I still be perfect, tommorow?

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