Lavinia Grumeza

Roman Coins in Sarmatian Graves from the Territory of Banat (2nd-4th centuries AD)

Jan. 1, 2013




Coins are to be found in graves from the Tisa river basin, starting with the end of the 2nd century – beginning of the 3rd century AD. Currently 20 necropolises or places with funerary remains are known in the historical territory of Banat. We notice that coins appear mostly in rich, male graves, where the deceased enjoyed a special funerary treatment; sometimes rites that belong to the eastern Sarmatian world were practiced. us, the presence of the coin is closely connected to the status and importance of the deceased inside his group of origin. As for the practice of putting “Charon’s obolus” it is impossible to state with certainty if the Sarmatians knew and practiced this custom. It is possible that some groups of Sarmatians knew the symbolical “payment” for passage in the after-world and to fulfill the necessary rituals by offering a coin. We especially refer here to necropolises from the end of the 2nd century – 3rd century AD, where we have the majority of Roman imports, graves with coffins and where we often find a coin. Starting with the 2nd century in the Roman Empire the cults of different gods and spirits intertwine resulting an inhomogeneous syncretic amalgam. It is on this background that we register a major increase of superstitions inside different layers of the society and a spread of popular beliefs. For sure part of these beliefs and superstitions from the boundaries of the Empire, along with exported goods and ended up in the Sarmatian Barbaricum, a territory in between Roman provinces.