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The Pontic-Danubian Realm

in the Period of the Great Migration

ARHEOLOKI INSTITUT
BEOGRAD

POSEBNA IZDANJA, KNJIGA 51

COLLGE DE FRANCE CNRS


C E N T R E D E R E C H E RC H E DH I S TO I R E
E T C I V I L I S AT I O N D E B Y Z A N C E

MONOGRAPHIES 36

The Pontic-Danubian Realm


in the Period of the Great Migration
edited by

Vujadin Ivanievi&Michel Kazanski

ParisBeograd
2012

Published with a support of the


Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Serbia
(Project n 177021)

ii :

Association des amis du Centre dhistoire et civilisation de Byzance (ACHCByz) 2010


52 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine 75005 Paris
ACHCByz

Arheoloki Institut Beograd

ISBN978-2-916716-31-2978-86-80093-78-9
ISSN0751-0594
Composition et infographie
Artyom Ter-Markosyan-Vardanyan

Suivi de la publication
Emmanuelle Capet

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Vujadin Ivanievi, Michel Kazanski. Prface ..................................................... 7

I. The Balkans and the Middle Danube


Ivan Bugarski. Occupation of the south Pannonian soil during Antiquity
and the Migration period: ajkaka revisited ....................................... 11
Perica pehar. The Danubian limes between Lederata and Aquae during the
Migration period ................................................................................ 35
Vujadin Ivanievi. Barbarian settlements in the interior of Illyricum:
The case of Cariin Grad ..................................................................... 57
Tina Milavec. Late Antique settlements in Slovenia after the year 600 ............ 71
Federico Montinaro. Byzantium and the Slavs in the reign of Justinian:
Comparing the two recensions of Procopiuss Buildings ....................... 89
Jaroslav Tejral. Cultural or ethnic changes? Continuity and discontinuity
on the Middle Danube ca A.D.500 .................................................... 115
Zuzana Loskotova. An early- 5th-century skeleton grave with
gold neck-ring from Charvty (Moravia) ............................................ 189
Eszter Horvath. Cloisonn jewellery from the Langobardic Pannonia:
Technological evidence of workshop practice ...................................... 207
Dieter Quast. Martial writers Intellectual warriors: Remarks on a group
of Late Antique male graves ................................................................ 243

II. The Occident


Joan Pinar Gil. Ponto-Danubian traditions of dress in early Visigothic
Hispania: Chronology, dissemination, contexts and evolution............. 265
Eduard Droberjar. A propos des contacts entre lempire dOrient
et les Germains de lElbe au viesicle .................................................. 297
Dieter Quast. The Alamanni and Byzantium from the 5th to the 7th century ....... 317

III. The Northern Pontus


Aleksandr Ermolin. Durga-Oba a cemetery of the Great Migration period
in the Cimmerian Bosporus ................................................................ 339
Damien Glad. The Empires influence on the barbarian elites from the Pontic
region to the Rhine (5th-7th centuries): A case study of lamellar
weapons and segmental helmet ........................................................... 349
Alekse Fourassiev. Byzance et la Crime du Sud-Ouest au viesicle:
relations culturelles et particularits du costume fminin ..................... 363
Michel Kazanski. Radaigaise et la fin de la civilisation de ernjahov ............... 381

MARTIAL WRITERSINTELLECTUAL WARRIORS


REMARKS ON A GROUP OF LATE ANTIQUE MALE GRAVES*
Dieter Quast

In 1999, Rdiger Gogrfe and JawdatChehad(1999) published two graves from


a Roman cemetery in Hisphin in the Golan. Both burials contained parts of swords:
a pelta-shaped sword chape with a mounting suspension of ivory (Grave14), and a
complete spatha with fragments of the sheath fittings and the hilt (Grave3). These objects
along with others suggest for the burials a date in the late 3rd to early 4thcentury. Weapons
as grave furniture are unusual for this period in the RomanEmpire (Koster1993, 295f;
Palgyi, Nagy2002, 155-157).1 This is why the authors were certain that the deceased
must have been foreigners. Circumstantial epigraphic evidencean epitaph with a
Gothic name from 208 found in Imtn (Motha) in South Syriasuggested to Gogrfe
and Chehad (1999, 77f; cf.Speidel1977, 712-715) that Hisphin graves with weapons
could belong to Goths who served in the Roman army. The Goths, however, buried their
males without any weapons (Bierbrauer1975, 68f.; 1994, 55, 108, 124, 137).
A few years later Andrzej Kokowski (2003) drew attention to a childs burial (grave25)
from Ruzycanka in Ukraine dated to the period C2 (260-300/10). It contained some
beads, a ceramic vessel and, most unusually, an inkpot of bronze. This is the only inkpot
that I know of from a grave in the Barbaricum. Also for A.Kokowski, this was something
uncommon for the ernjachov culture. He thought that the inkpot in this childs grave
was a toy, even though in the Roman Empire, writing utensils were plentiful in the tombs
of children, described as school-children (Bilkei1980, 73; Radnti1957, 211).
The two examples demonstrate the archaeologists penchant for using preconceived no
tions in their interpretations: weapon graves are barbarian, while those with writing utensils
are Roman.2 But this seemingly clear-cut division becomes blurred in the rare cases of
graves that contain both weapons and writing utensils. I will comment on this curious small
group of exceptions from Late Antiquity, leaving aside the few first and second century
parallels in the West, which do not help in the interpretation of the late antique burials
(Amand, Nouwen1989, 28, fig.17 [tumulus of Berlingen]; Ambs, Faber1998, 442f).
*I would like to thank ZsoltMrv, Budapest, for very helpful critical comments and the trans
lation of Hungarian papers; KatalinBoruzs, Visegrd, for her advice on the Dombvr grave; Ivan
Bugarski, Belgrade, for a general discussion of weapon graves.
1. Against an ethnic interpretation of such graves, see Schnberger 1953, 53-55; Parker 1994. For
E.Keller (1971, 77f), only graves with swords are of Germanic origin.
2.Cf. contra Lichardus 2002, even if the objects from Zliv, Sldkoviovo and Kostoln pri Dunaji
might not be stili.

Vujadin Ivanievi and Michel Kazanski eds, The Pontic-Danubian Realm in the Period of the Great
Migration (Centre de recherche dHistoire et Civilisation de Byzance, Monographies36/Arheoloki
institut, Posebna izdanja, Knjiga 51), Paris-Beograd 2012.

244

DIETER QUAST

1. Kerch (Crimea, UA) Messaksoudi-Grave

In 1918, a rich grave was discovered on the southern or southwestern slope of Mount
Mithridates. Through Messaksoudis private collection and, later, the Louvre, its contents
reached the Muse des Antiquits Nationales in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Described
as a stone chamber under a barrow (LOr des princes barbares2000, 98-101 Cat.No.5;
Beck, Kazanski, Vallet 1988; Rostovtzeff 1923), it contained a gold diadem with the
impression of a coin of Commodus (180-192), a belt buckle, a sword with a mounting
suspension of jade, a few gold sheets in the form of strap ends and some round sheets
with impressions of coins (Pupienus, 238), as well as an inkpot (Fig.1). The form of
the gold brooch is typical for Crimea, Ukraine and northern Caucasus (Almgren1923,
74ff, fig.157; Ambroz 1966, 32f, pl.9, 18; pl.16; pl.22,2: group15, series3), but this is an

MARTIAL WRITERS INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS

245

Fig.1: Kerch (Crimea, UA) Messaksoudi-Grave, sample of objects. 1. Horse harness;


2. Ink pot with enamel; 3. Sword mounting suspension of jade; 4. Sword pommel;
5. Sword blade (after: LOr des princes barbares 2000, 100-101).

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old type in this context. What determines the dating of the tomb in the last quarter of
the 4thcentury is the horse harness. The inkpot (atramentarium), decorated with enamel
(Fig.2) was produced in the 3rdcentury, most probably in the Rhineland (Knzl1995,46;
LOr des princes barbares 2000, Cat.No.15; Teegen 1999, 217f.)3. It may have served not
as a writing utensil, but rather as a beautiful old prestigious object.

Fig.2: Distribution map of ink pots with enamel (after: Jones 1993, 164, with additions).
Graphic: Michael Ober, RGZM.

3. The list of enamelled ink pots by C. Jones (1993, 164) can be completed with Dvener 1995, 103104 (Dehlingen-Gurtelbach, dp. Bas-Rhin, F).

247

MARTIAL WRITERS INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS

2. Tarane (near Debar, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

A splendid burial built of large flagstones and spolia was discovered in Tarane (Ivanov
ski1984; 1987; Kaufmann-Heinimann2003, 129f, with figs. 121-122). Richly furnished, it
contained, among other objects, a large silver dish, a silver jug, a diatret glass (CermanoviKuzmanovi1995), a set of gaming pieces (calculli), a silver spur, an axe and a pencil
case with a silver stylos and an eraser (Fig.3-4). The gold crossbow broochtype 3c after
Keller (1971, 26-55) or type 3/4 after Prttel (1988; cf.Soupault 2003, 53-58)suggests a
date between 330 and 420, but the excavator Milan Ivanovski prefers an earlier date based
on the silver dish, which he attributes to the reign of Licinius (308-324) in accordance
with parallels from Ni. The axe found in the grave could have served as a weapon, though
rather unusually for the Roman army, or could also have been a tool.

Fig.3: Tarane (near Debar, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).


1. Plan of the grave; 2-3. Writing utensils; 4. Axe.
(after: Ivanovski 1987, 82, 89, figs.2, 6).

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Fig.4: Tarane (near Debar, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Sample of objects.
1. Crossbow brooch; 2. Diatret glass; 3. Spur; 4. Silver plate.
(after: Ivanovski 1987, 85, 87-88, figs. 3-5).

249

MARTIAL WRITERS INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS

3. Budapest III, jlak, Bcsi t 42, Grave 2

In 1993, three late Roman graves built of large flagstones were excavated in BudapestIII,
jlak, Bcsi t 42 (Fig.5) (Nagy 2005). Grave 2 contained two glass beakers, an old
and used silver crossbow brooch (Keller type 1/2), a silver belt with balteus buckles and
fittings, a follis of Galerius Maximianus minted in Heraclea in 309-310, and a long sword

4
5

Fig.5: BudapestIII, jlak, Bcsi t 42, Grave2. Sample of objects.


1. Grave plan. 2. Crossbow brooch. 3-4. Buckles. 5. Buckle and belt fittings. 6. Balteus fitting.

7. Strap end. 8. Ink pot. 9. Sword (after: Nagy 2005, 420, 429-430, 434, figs. 11, 18-20).

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of an eastern steppe nomadic type with niello decoration suggesting its production inside
the Roman Empire (Fig.5: 9). In addition to the parallels mentioned by Margit Nagy,
the long and small blade fits are known in the context of equestrian weapons, e.g. from
Brut in the Caucasus and Tugozvonovo in the Altai (Grabschtze vom Kaukasus1991, 61,
Cat.No.277; Gabuev2005, 34, Cat.No.55; Umanskij1978, 134, fig.5; 138, fig.9). The bronze
inkpot (Fig.5: 8) of a fairly simple form has analogies in the region (Bilkei1980, pl.3-4).
Nagy (2005, 476) dated the burial ca. 400, especially because of the belt fittings.
4. Zalaszentgrt (North of Lake Balaton, Hungary)

In 1970, a grave made of tiles was discovered in Zalaszentgrt. It was destroyed and
robbed, but a few objects remained in the burial (Mller1976). Next to the coins of
Crispus and Constantinus (the most recent was minted in 322 in Rome), there was a bronze
crossbow brooch (Kellertype 3c), a sword and a bronze ink pot with inlays of silver and
copper (Fig.6). The ornament of this atramentarium makes it a unique piece (Bilkei, 1980,
70f, esp. 74, thought that the ink pot could be much older than the burial). Rbert Mller
(1976, 67, cf.Tejral 1999, 232) dated the grave to the late 4thearly 5thcentury.

2c

2a

4b

2d

2b

4a
3

1
0

50

5a

5b

50

Fig.6:Zalaszentgrt (Kom. Zala, H).


1. Grave plan . 2. Ink pot. 3. Ring. 4-5. Sword chape. 6. Crossbow brooch.
7. Sword. - 7 without scale; all others see printed scale (after: Mller 1996, 50, 55, 57, figs.8, 11-12).

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MARTIAL WRITERS INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS

To sum up, this short list includes only four graves containing weapons and writing
utensils (Fig.7). Since most writing utensils were made of organic materials (papyrus
charta, parchment membrana, wooden panel covered with wax tabula cerata, pen calamus),
they are obviously missing from the archaeological record (Boi, Feugre2004, 21-41).
But inkpots, when they belong to grave furniture, are detectable without any doubt.

Weapon

Writing
Utensils

Brooch
Type

Almgren
157
Ambroz
gr. 15,
ser. 3

Other Grave
Goods

Burial
Form

Dating

Gold

Horse harness
Belt Buckle
Gold Sheet
Appliques

Tumulus
with
Stone
Chamber

Late 4th
Century

Flagstone
Grave

First
Half 4th
Century

Material

Sword

Ink pot

Axe

Pencil
Case,
stylos

Keller
3C

Gold

Diatret Glass
Silver Plate
Silver Jug
Spur
Calculi

Budapest

Sword

Ink pot

Keller
1B-2A

Silver

Belt(s)
Glasses

Flagstone
Grave

Turn
4th / 5th
Century

Zalaszentgrt

Sword

Ink pot

Keller
3C

Bronze

Destroyed
and robbed

Tile
Grave

Late 4th /
early 5th
Century

Ker

Tarane

Fig.7: Graves with weapons and writing utensils discussed in the article.

The only grave on the list from outside the Empire, the one from Kerch, contained
an old inkpot, possibly no longer in use. Inside the Roman Empire, a distribution map
of all weapon graves of the 4thcentury shows a clear difference between Pannonia and
the Balkan Peninsula. The small number of graves with weapons on the Balkans makes it
impossible to establish any patterns, but the grave from Tarne with the axe finds parallels
in the burials from Putievo, Rohatica (both BiH), Kull and Zgrdhesh (both AL) (List
no.18-19 and 25-26).
By way of contrast, weapon graves are more numerous in Pannonia, and most of
those buried have their cloak closed with a crossbow brooch, which identifies them as
members of the (military) administration (Bilkei1980, 75; Schmauder 2002, 76ff;
Kaufmann-Heinimann2003, 129f; cf. contra Deppert-Lippitz2000, 52). I.Bilkei
(1980, 75) linked the culture of writing in Pannonia with the military: 10 out of 15 late
Roman graves with ink pots in this region contain a crossbow brooch. Men with a military
cloak (sagum) and writing utensils are depicted on tombstones (Eckhart 1976, pl.16,
no. 51 and 53). The late Roman army employed at all levels of command a substantial
bureaucratic apparatus (Le Bohec 2006, 91f.), but the combination of sword and stilus

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was more common in daily life than in graves. At least 15 late Roman graves from well
studied Pannonia produced ink pots, but only two also contained weapons, even though
weapon graves from the 4th early 5thcentury are not so rare (Keller 1971, 77f.; Mrton
2002, 139f with fig. 234; cf. Fig.8). Axes appear in graves only until the first half of the
4thcentury, but it is not clear if they were all used as weapons. Alice Sz. Burger (1984, 81)
identified the man buried in BudapestII, Pasart, Grave A as a member of a curia because
of the sella curialis and interpreted the axe as part of the fasces. Among the graves with
spearheads, many include hunting weapons, like the boar spear from Dombvr;5 the
same may be true for the graves containing arrowheads (Sgi1981, 99f.). Swords are not

Fig.8: Distribution map of weapon graves inside the Roman Empire (Barbaricum is not mapped).
Sword. Spearhead. Axe. Graphic Vera Kasshlke, RGZM.
4. Some of the graves on this distribution map of weapon graves from 4thcentury Pannonia should

be deleted because of their incorrect dating.


5. List no 4; cf. the so-called Testament of the Lingon, which mentions hunting weapons as part of
the grave furniture (Le Bohec, Buisson 1991; Rodrguez 1995).

MARTIAL WRITERS INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS

253

4th early 5th-century Weapon Graves from Pannonia and the Balkans
(the list does not include graves with arrowheads and daggers)
1. BudapestIII, jlak, Bcsi t 42, Grave 2: cf. Fig.5.

Lit.:Nagy 2005, 416-427 with figs. 12-16.


2. BudapestIII, Bcsi t, graveyard no VII,
Grave 7, coffin of limestone, double grave of
two infants, spearhead, glass vessels, beads,
scissors, small bulla; 4thcentury
Lit.:Topl 1993, 71f., no 10; pl.93,10 and 173;
Mrton 2002, 139 no.45.
3. BudapestII, Pasart, Grave A: flagstone grave,
axe, silver brooch with niello, around AD 300
Lit.: Burger 1984, 65-70, with figs. 2-22,
Mrton 2002, 139 no. 46.
4. Dombvr (Kom. Tolna, H): brickgrave, axe,
spearhead, silver belt fittings, glass vessel,
4thcentury
Lit.: unpubl.; kind information from Katalin
Boruzs, Visegrd
5. Dunapentele Intercisa (Kom. Fejr, H) Grave XXII:

grave walls made of clay bricks, flagstone


cover; spearhead, early 4thcentury
Lit.: Paulovics 1927, 118.
6. Gamzigrad (SRB) Grave 1/05: cremation grave,

sword, spearhead, shield, horse bit, golden


crossbow-brooch, burned coins (second half of
the 3rdcentury); around AD 300
Lit.: Petkovi 2007, 251-275, esp. 253ff with fig.
12; ivi 2007, 277-307, esp. 277ff.; 295, pl.IIb.
7. Glle-Alshetny puszta (Kom. Somogy, H):
accidently destroyed cremation grave with
spearhead, bronze belt fittings, crossbow
brooch, 4thcentury
Lit.:Draveczky 1962, 30; Mrton 2002, 140
no. 48.
8. Gomolova kod Hrtkovaca (Vojvodina, SRB)
Grab 33: inhumation grave, spearhead, lamp,
4thcentury?
Lit.: Dautova-Ruevljan, Brukner 1992, 183,
Taf. 10,2.
9.Hrova (Jud. Constana, RO): grave,
sword pommel, belt fittings, late 4th early
5thcentury
Lit.: Goldhelm, Schwert und Silberschtze
1995, 225, no. 94.

10.

Igal (Kom. Somogy, H): grave with


spearhead, glass and coins (without further
information) 4thcentury
Lit.:Frech 1960, 33; Mrton 2002, 140 no. 49.
11. Keszthely-Dobog (Kom. Zala, H) grave 84:
brick grave of a 3-4 year old child, two small
iron axes, bronze crossbow brooch, belt, glass
beaker, seven coins (t.p.q. AD 320)
Lit.:Sgi 1981, 49-51, with Fig. 33.
12. Keszthely-Fenkpuszta (Kom. Zala, H),
Grberfeld Halszrt, cella memoria,
Grabkammer? robbed grave; axe (unsure, the
axe was probably introduced by the robbers)
Lit.:Sgi 1960, 187-256, esp. 194 with Fig. 3,14.
13. Majs (Kom. Baranya, H) grave 26 and grave
37: each with an axe
Lit.: Burger 1972, 64-100, esp. 82, figs.
28,26:1, 85, fig. 31,37:8; Mrton 2002, 140,
No. 56.
14. Mosonszentmikls-Jnoshzapuszta (Kom.
Gyr-Moson-Sopron, H) grave 28 spearhead
Lit.: unpublished, mentioned by E.Keller
(Keller 1971, 78, note 448)
15. Papkeszi (Kom. Veszprm, H) Grave 2:
spearhead, crossbow brooch (bronze, gilded),
glass vessels, coins (latest of Constantine I).
Lit.: ri et al. 1969, 171f., no 39/10; Mrton
2002, 140, no. 57.
16. Pcs Sopianae (Kom. Baranya, H) Grave
291-292: inventories of two mixed 4thcentury
graves including an axe
Lit.:Flep 1977, 52f; Mrton 2002, 140,
no.63
17. Pilismart (Kom. Komrom-Esztergom)
a.Grave 27 (1973-1974): blade fragments from
a destroyed and robbed inhumation grave
Lit.: Erdlyi, Salamon 1980/81, 147-161, esp.
151, 155, Pl. 5.
b.Grave 26 (1937)
Lit.: Erdlyi, Salamon 1980/1981, 160, note
15. Some authors mention a blade fragment
from this grave. Cf. Barkczi 1960, 111-132,
esp. 119, fig. 33,3.

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DIETER QUAST

(BiH): (uncertain, the


preservation and the spectrum of complete
objects suggests a cemetery) two axes
without context
Lit.: Truhelka, Patch 1895, 227-247,
esp.234, Figs. 17-18.
19. Rohatica (BiH): cremation grave, two
axes, 4thcentury
Lit.:Fiala 1897, 259-262, esp. 261,
Taf.68,1-2.
20.Silistra Durostorum (BG): carriage grave, two
swords, golden crossbow brooch, belt, finger
ring, carriage fittings; around AD 300.
Lit.: Vasilev, Mitanov 1974, 27-43;
Atanasov 2001, 130-136; Dumanov 2005,
310-315.
21. Szamar-Somodorpuszta (Kom. KomromEsztergom) Grave 23 and Grave 36: grave
23: spearhead Grave 36: shieldboss,
spearhead, sword
Lit.:Burger 1974, 64-101, esp. 68, Fig. 4,2323, 71, Fig. 7,36; Mrton 2002, 140, Nr. 59-60.

22.

arkamen (SRB) tumulus (object C) grave


6: cremation grave, spearhead, pottery
fragments, early 4thcentury
Lit.: Popovi 2005, 171, Cat. no. 90.
23. Tarane (near Debar, Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia): cf. fig. 3-4.
Lit.:Ivanovski 1984, 219-226; 1987, 81-90.
24. Zalaszentgrt (Kom. Zala, H): cf. fig. 6.
Lit.:Mller 1976, 33-68.
25. Zengvrkony II (Kom. Baranya, H) Grave
4: inhumation grave, spearhead, iron horse
bit, pair of bronze spurs, crossbow brooch,
coins of Constantius
Lit.:Dombay 1957, 181-330, esp. 195ff., fig.
12, Taf. 6-8; Mrton 2002, 140, no. 66.
26. Kull near Durrs (AL) grave with an axe
and a knife
Lit.:Hoti 1987, 261; 274f. Taf. 11,12.16; 12,7.
27. Zgrdhesh (AL) inhumation grave, axe,
dagger, crossbow brooch, glass vessels.
Lit.: Karaiskaj 1977/78, 212 Taf.1.

Svilengard (BG), mapped by M. Schulze-Drrlamm (1985, 565, list 3, no. 56), is not listed
because it is dated to the 2ndcentury AD (Velkov 1937, 117-170, esp. 170).

as rare as one may imagine; they become slightly more common in the second third of the
5thcentury (not shown on fig.8) (Kiss1981, 147f.). One could also mention the NoricoPannonian tumuli with weapons from 1st and 2ndcentury Pannonia (Palgyi1989;
Palgyi, Nagy2002, 86-91; Mrv2006), but there is a clear chronological gap between
them and the 4thcentury weapon graves.
The comparison with the West is instructive. In northwestern Gaul, weapon graves
of this period are more numerous and much debated (Keller1971, 77). Are they burials
of mercenaries of Germanic origin, as most notably argued by Horst Wolfgang Bhme
(2009), or just new forms of self display of the local population during times of crisis
(Halsall2009; Theuws2009)? While here is not the place to discuss the material from
Gaul, we should adhere to a clear distinction between West and East. Only one main
characteristic need be mentioned. In the West, most cemeteries have more than one
weapon grave, and the deceased are accompanied by females wearing a foreign costume.
As far as I know, none of the western weapon graves contains writing utensils.

MARTIAL WRITERS INTELLECTUAL WARRIORS

255

While weapon graves with writing utensils in Pannonia and the Balkans are few, they
share salient features, which call for interpretation:

the burials are found inside the Roman Empire


the graves are part of late Roman grave groups
the form of the grave is local/provincial Roman
the burial customs fit the provincial Roman standards (for exceptions, see below)
most of the objects in the graves are Roman products
all the graves contain crossbow brooches
some objects seem to be unusual as grave goods in an Empire context

All other late Roman weapon graves in Pannonia and the Balkans share the same
characteristics. People who buried the deceased used crossbow brooches, ink pots
and weapons to demonstrate their status. The last item has long been interpreted as a
barbarian element. This is, indeed, the impression produced by the maps published 25
years ago by Mechthild Schulze-Drrlamm (1985, 550, fig. 33-34), showing sword graves
from Barbaricum, many of them, especially from the second half of the 4thcentury, being
inhumation graves.6 But if the sword graves from Pannonia and the Balkans were added
to the map, this burial custom would lose its barbarian conspicuousness and become one
of the provincial standards. Rather than be explained as barbarian and foreign, they
can be related to the late antique barbarised army personnel, who developed a specific
form of self-presentation not only in lifetime but also in burial (von Rummel 2007, 342353). Among the symbols of high social status found in the graves, weapons could appeal
to a barbarian and more generally military audience, possibly testifying to military rank,
while crossbow brooches and writing utensils would be more meaningful for provincial
Roman dignitaries. Ink pots, however, could also have been meaningful for people of a
barbarian background as a symbol of education, which was the main divider between
barbarian and Roman elites in Late Antiquity (Geary 1996, 40f.). An inscription from
Budapest underlines the mentality of these foederati: Francus ego, cives Romanus, miles
in armis / egregia virtute tuli bello mea dextera sem[p]er (CIL III/1 1873, 453, no.3576;
Desjardins, Rmer1873, 84, no.175, with pl.30). On the underside of the 2.38m long
inscription, this Francus is portrayed in a typically provincial Roman manner with a
crossbow brooch and a sagum (Fig.9) (Nagy 2007, 174).
In the eastern part of the Roman Empire, weapon graves were always an exception.
The most probable explanation is that existing regulations or laws did not authorise such
burial practice. The fact that weapons belonged to the state rather than to private soldiers
could be a contributing factor (Schnberg1953). Other regulations applied in regions
controlled by barbarians, especially from the second half of the 5thcentury; therefore,
weapon graves are much more numerous, e.g., in Lombard or Avar Pannonia and in parts
of the former Western Empire. While the elites in these regions were acquainted with
writing (Moreau2008, 242-243; Gillett2008a-b), they attributed no symbolic value
to writing utensils. The few writing utensils found in graves in the Merovingian Empire
6. The grave of Epl in Pannonia, noted in fig. 33, is younger in fact and belongs to the first half
of 5thcentury, cf. Bemmann 2006. Swords are missing in the ernjachov Sntana-de-Mure culture
on the lower Danube, which is connected with the Goths who did not furnish their male graves with
weapons (Bierbrauer 1975, 68f; 1994, 55, 108, 124, 137).

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are not associated with weapons. They seem to be usually (Quast1994, 618), but not
exclusively (von Petrikovits1967, 460-464; Aouni1992, 87-89) connected with clerics.

Fig.9: Budapest, tomb stone 2.38m long with inscription on the right side and a male figure on
the underside (after: Nagy 2007, 174).

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257

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