Faces and Names

by Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue August. 27, 2018 2680 views

The village Neumarkt im Tauchental is not spectacular, but it has at least an archaeological treasure worthwhile to photograph. Almost 30 years have passed since I have been the last time in Neumarkt. I’m sure, I was back then assisting my brother-in-law to photograph the Roman tombstone (200 AD). The marble tombstone (155 cm x 70 cm) is masterfully carved and shows perfect portraits of a Roman family with Celtic roots. It is walled in the south side of the bell tower.

The man on the right (point of view: if you look at it) wears a toga and a tunic. He holds with his left hand the Roman civic role and touches it with his right hand as if he would take an oath.

The woman on the left side wears a traditional Celtic costume. Two large (typical for this region) fibula are holding the dress, two smaller fibula are holding the undergarment. She wears a double necklace and a bracelet on her right arm. She is holding something (maybe a fruit or a spindle) in her right hand. Her left hand is resting on the shoulder of the younger woman in the middle.

The young woman in the middle also wears a traditional Celtic costume. She has a choker made of four necklaces, two of them maybe made of pearls. Some other eye catching jewelry is attached on the dress. She has a bracelet on her right arm and several rings on her fingers. She is holding a large bunch of grapes. Btw, Romans didn’t introduce viticulture to Pannonia or Noricum. Wine was at least well known and produced in the region since Iron Age. The oldest grape seeds were found in a grave in Zagersdorf, which dates back to 700 BC.

The inscription, which is walled in on the west side of the bell tower belongs to this family.

C ˑ S A M V C O N I V S
SPECTATVUS ˑ ET ˑ AMVCA
BVRRANI ˑ F ˑ V ˑ F ˑ SIB ˑ ET ˑ
RESPECTILLE ˑ F ˑ DEF ˑ
AN ˑ XX ˑ

C(aius) Samuconius
Spectatus et Amuca
Burani f(ilia) v(ivi) f(ecerunt) sib(i) et
Respectill(a)e f(iliae) def(unctae)
an(norum) XX

Caius Samunconius Spectatus and Amuca, the daughter of the Burranus, built during their lifetime (the tomb) for themselves and their daughter Respectilla, who died at the age of 20.

Caius Samunconius Spectatus is the name of the man. The three names, as well as the scroll in his left hand, signify him as a Roman citizen. The names Samuco, Samuconius is the Latin form, Amuca and Burran are Celtic. The name of the daughter, Respectilla, is Latin.

When I photographed the portraits I was really pissed off. There is some renovation going on, but they just stored the fences right in front of the best piece of the whole place. Seems to be a habit in Neumarkt, because there is also a WWI Memorial, which should be cleaned and not used as a store place for all sorts of unnecessary stuff. I cropped the picture left and right to get rid of this junk. The former tavern nearby is an impressive listed building. At last but not least the church itself: the Roman-Catholic church dates back to medieval times. It was built like a small castle and used as refuge fort during Ottoman Wars. Btw. it was closed.

I stand on tiptoes and used the telephoto lens. Thanks Tom, for lending me your lens! Roland used another technique to master the fence problem ...

I stand on tiptoes and used the telephoto lens. Thanks Tom, for lending me your lens! Roland used another technique to master the fence problem ...

Mother, daughter and father looking down on visitors for 1800 years.

Mother, daughter and father looking down on visitors for 1800 years.

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There are 17 comments , add yours!
Camellia Staab 1 year, 3 months ago

Sigrid have they white washed the statues and buildings....how are they so white still? #1 is quite a hike bet you wore your comfy shoes :)  Was Roland able to capture anything from that distance?

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 3 months ago

Of course they were once upon a time colored. I'm sure they were once covered , when the church was for the first time plastered. We once excavated a grave with a reused tombstone or a door frame, which had still some red color.
https://www.photoblog.com/strohschneider-laue/2017/08/15/excavation-roman-graves/
Think about the Cathedral of S. Giusto in Trieste, which has right and left of the entrance portraits, which are called "Saints", but were nothing else but a cropped tombstone. Remains of forgotten graves are reused as cheap building material, it's the same fate as every big roman building like the Colloseum.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/Triest_S.Giusto_Portal.jpg

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
David Swatton Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 1 year, 3 months ago

This kind of re-use I think has always gone on. In the rear garden wall of my house there is what looks like part of a tombstone embedded in it

https://www.photoblog.com/davids/2014/11/04/oddities-of-an-old-house/

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to David Swatton 1 year, 3 months ago

Is this a typical form for tombstones in your area? Maybe it's something "gothic" from the last century, when these style became modern again and was well a liked architectural feature. Actually I would be proud to have such a beautiful riddle in my garden wall. Reusing old tombstones as building material is very common. In the end some very famous object survived because of it!

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
David Swatton Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 1 year, 3 months ago

The shape is certainly typical. I would guess it is 19th century but may be earlier. there are still some grave stones in the churchyard dating from the 18th century and the church itself is 1000 years old. We also have a piece of stone window frame in the garden wall which we have been told was probably robbed either from the ruined castle behind the village (built between the 11th and 13th centuries and demolished in the 17th century during the civil war), or from the ruined abbey a couple of miles away (similar age to the castle) and demolished during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries.

I do love history crown

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to David Swatton 1 year, 3 months ago

Normal people become part of history either by becoming victims or by taking something away from the rich and mighty - it seems, that all of it is summing up in your wall!
Demolishing in one place and preserving in another place - history gets a second layer, because some not so valuable items become a value of storytelling. Its like oral history triggered by objects. Fragments to fill the frame and to gain the whole picture in the future. I love it!

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 3 months ago

I was so angry, I used my Swiss army knife (yes, my handbag is packed with strange things and has a dimension of its own) to cut off the upper ends of the plastic straps (it was not vandalized!) of the curtain, because they were ruining my pictures. Just for once I wore not my Doc's but sandals. His pictures are a little bit asymmetrical, because of the worm's-eye-view (we call it Froschperspektive and I'm not sure if "Leo" is right about the translation).

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 1 year, 3 months ago

I always learn so much from reading and looking at your posts. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put on them.

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Antonio Gil 1 year, 3 months ago

Oh thanks a lot, but I assure you, there was no hard work to do. That is just a special part of my life and I like to share it. I photograph it (that is the tricky part, which I try to learn)  and the rest is just a little bit of writing (not the content but English is the tricky part).

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
David Swatton 1 year, 3 months ago

What a brilliant tombstone - not often you see them so beautifully preserved. Would this have been a high ranking native Celtic family that became “romanised”? That was very common in Britain. One of the most spectacular palaces found in Britain belonged to a native king who took on the trappings of the Roman invaders.

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to David Swatton 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes it is indeed a beautiful part of a larger piece of architecture.
Fast adaptation must be a genetic problem in Austria - it comes from the fruitful brown soil. They adapt to every system very very fast if they will benefit from it and afterwards tell everybody they have been the first victim! On the other hand the women were very traditional, although the man wears a roman toga and tunica. In this region were no Vercingetorix, no Boudica nor something similar to the three Jewish-Roman Wars. Actually The kingdoms of Noricum delivered themselves to the swords of Rome, which they sold in form of Noric steel  before. A good example for the poor outcome of a lucrative looking arms trade.

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 1 year, 3 months ago

Excellent camera work & fascinating story!

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Jay Boggess 1 year, 3 months ago

Thanks! blush

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 1 year, 3 months ago

My pleasure, as always!

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Scribe 1 year, 3 months ago

A family's story,
scattered with challenges,
showered in celebrations,
kindly sculpted into humanity's
depository of all that's
eternally, transitory four leaf clover

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Scribe 1 year, 3 months ago

You take the straight ideas from my brain and change them artistically into something beautiful. Thanks, I appreciate that a lot!

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
Scribe Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 1 year, 3 months ago

Thank you, Sigrid gift heart

1 year, 3 months ago Edited
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