The Image of Sphinx in Roman Sculpture from Lower Danube Fortresses

  • Andrzej B. Biernacki Institute of History Adam Mickiewicz University 89D Umultowska Str. PL-61614 Poznań
  • Elena Klenina Institute of History Adam Mickiewicz University 89D Umultowska Str. PL-61614 Poznań

Abstract

The motif of the sphinx, originating from the Ancient Orient and Egypt, was later taken up by Hellenistic art and eventually, around the year 30 BC, emerged in Roman imagery as the symbol of hope. At the time of Caesar, it appeared on coins together with Sibyl. In sepulchral art, it is obviously decorative, of an apotropaic nature. Furthermore, images of sphinxes on sarcophaguses, tombstones and individual statues were used to guard graves or necropolises. In the region of the Lower Danube, two fragments of sphinxes have been found. One of them was uncovered during the conservation work in the central part of Novae. Another fragment was discovered within the structure of the defensive wall in the Roman castle of Dimum. The sphinx of Novae may be dated to the 2nd century AD, and possibly to the first half of the century. The sphinx of Dimum is dated to the time between the late 2nd and the early 3rd century AD.

Published
2018-10-17