Water played an important part of ancient Roman life, from providing necessary drinking water, supplying bath complexes, to flowing in large-scale public fountains. The Roman culture of water was seen throughout the Roman Empire, although it was certainly not monolithic and it could come in a variety of scales and forms, based on climatic and social conditions of different areas. This discussion seeks to define ‘water culture’ in Roman society by examining literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence, while understanding modern trends in scholarship related to the study of Roman water. The culture of water can be demonstrated through expressions of power, aesthetics, and spectacle. Further there was a shared experience of water in the empire that could be expressed through religion, landscape, and water’s role in cultures of consumption and pleasure.
Cultural change in the “barbarian” world of the North Pontic region from the 3rd century bc to the mid-3rd century ad was not a special field of interest for ancient authors. Classical narratives only contain information about certain manifestations of such processes. In Russia, interest in studying the cultural changes that took place in the steppes of Eastern Europe in Antiquity appeared in the early 18th century, in connection with the accession of new territories to the East and West. The core of the cultural-historical model, which took shape and then developed in Russian historical research, was the idea of a constantly changing succession of peoples in the North Pontic region and of the historical role of this region as a buffer zone between East and West. On this basis, an aetiological myth of the Russian Empire took root, justifying its impressive size, its length along the meta-geographical axis of Eurasia and its historic role in the destiny of Europe. This concept assumed its definitive form in the early 20th century in the works of Mikhail Rostovtsev.
This article describes an attempt of the comparison between data assembled by archaeologists and physical anthropologists relating to group burials in earth catacombs of the Eastern Necropolis at Scythian Neapolis. A coincidence was identified between variability trends in craniometric and some archaeological features. This was interpreted as evidence for the presence in the urban population of at least two initial groups of different origin, which preserved certain differences in some of the details of the funerary rite used.
This article contains a publication of a dedication by strategoi to Augustus, his heir Gaius Iulius Caesar and to the People, which was found in Olbia in 2006 and dates from the period between the year 1 bc and the year ad 4. It is the earliest inscription from post-Getic Olbia to have been discovered. Analysis of it makes it possible to suggest that Olbia was rebuilt after the rout by Burebistas in the last years bc under Roman control. The state organization of Olbia, which took shape after the city had been restored, reproduced certain features of the Roman constitution. Despite suggestions often voiced to the effect that Scythians or Sarmatians were included among its citizens, they were only granted the status of Olbian citizens later on – in the years 50-80 ad. The city was restored by Greeks who, at least in part, had come from Asia Minor and Thrace.
Human remains have been found in many settlements and fortified settlements of the Scythian period in the forest-steppe zone of the Ukraine. Yet there are substantial differences between the nature of the finds and the circumstances of their positioning in the various settlements concerned. At some sites whole skeletons or parts of skeletons have been found in pits and in habitation levels. At others mainly (and sometimes even exclusively) human skulls or their fragments have been found. A picture of this kind was recorded, in particular, at the fortified settlement of Knÿshovskoe. This article examines the places where human skulls and fragments of the latter were found in the context of cultic and domestic buildings within the Knÿshovskoe settlement. Research was focused specifically on the positions of clay altars and the link between the latter and the anthropological remains within the site. Within the investigated area of the settlement, occupying half a hectare, 110 separate fragments of human skulls were found – 52 altars and 211 pits linked to various structures. Using spatial analysis based on gis-technology, a firm link was established between the clay altars, human skulls and also the skulls or skeletons of dogs, examples of cultic figurines, distaffs and clay cones. The areas in which altars and skulls were concentrated made it possible to regard most of these as having functioned simultaneously in a shrine. Analysis of each specific archaeological find of altars and skulls made it possible to single out certain “archaeological situations” demonstrating clear differences in specific cultic practices, a key component of which was the sacrificing of human heads. The shrine was being used no earlier than the second or third quarter of the 4th century bc. Establishing the existence of cultic practices involving human sacrifice could provide a crucial step towards an understanding of phenomena, occurring in the forest-steppe zone in the second half and at the end of the 4th century bc, which eventually led to the complete disappearance of the culture of the Scythian period in the forest-steppe and steppe zones at the end of the 4th century bc.