Stone funerary stele with the portraits of Vadica Titua and Pasina Voltisa

Stone funerary stele with the portraits of Vadica Titua and Pasina Voltisa

The grave stela made of white limestone ends in a pediment atop which there is a Gorgon. From the lateral sides, the acroteria are formed into the head of a horned deity depicted in profile: Jupiter-Ammon. Below the stela's pediment is a niche with an arched vault. Busts of two women are depicted on it, with symmetrically formed drapery. The inscription field is moulded with a frame. It is in the middle of a stela, while the lower third is filled by a door to the afterlife: "This is a richly decorated door with richly moulded coffers that frame the functional elements of a household door: a nicely formed knokcing ring, handles shaped like lion protomes" (Rendić-Miočević 1989: 578). This type of "door to the afterlife" is Oriental in origin and a typical Hellenistic motif. The link between the Gorgons and Jupiter-Ammon on the pediment indicates the same link found on the architecture of northern Adriatic forums, including the one in Zadar. Of the three symbolic layers mentioned above pertaining to this link, the first is tied to the imperial cult and Roman arms, the second is tied to the power of the sea, while the third indicates the netherworld. In this case, it is certainly a matter of the third symbolic figuartion of Jupiter-Ammon and the Gorgons. In response to the question I posed at one point as to whether the motif of the horned deity is a sign of reverence for Jupiter-Ammon (Selem 1997: 61), I can today respond negatively. It is not and cannot be a matter of the cult of Jupiter-Ammon, but rather of the complex symbolism tied to the afterlife.


F(ilia) TITVA V(iva) F(ecit)
Q(uinti) F(iliae) VOLTSAE


Vadica Titua,
daughter of Aplus, during his life
to herself and Pasina,
Voltisa, daughter of Quintus,
to her mother,
With the help of Aetor and
Ceunus. The Vadici did this
for themselves.


The two last lines of the inscription are carved in smaller letters. They were certainly added subsequently, which spoiled the refined harmony of the whole. All of the names which appear, with the exception of Quintus, are epichoric. Some were partially known in the Liburnian sphere, and generally they belong to Illyrian onomastics. It is difficult to ascertain the kinship between the persons mentioned on the basis of the inscription. It would appear that a woman provided gentilicium, which is entirely unusual. Could this be associated with the special significance of women in Liburnian tradition and in the Liburnian municipium? The question remains open. The stela as a whole exhibits a high quality of workmanship.

Catalogue entry

Stone funerary stele with the portraits of Vadica Titua and Pasina Voltisa
Archaeological Museum in Zadar, Zadar
Inv. no. AMZd 7302; old inv. nos. 213
Predgrađe kod Benkovca (Asseria)
Roman Empire, the middle of the 1st c. A.D.
limestone: carving 
253 x 67 x 18 cm


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