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