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Personal names with Vascon origin in Roman epigraphy. Stelae from the Soria Highlands

As a result of the health crisis, the museum will be open under special conditions, and this situation will remain in place until further notice.

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Inscription workshops were founded in all cities and in some rural regions. The Highlands workshop specialised in funerary stelae during the 1st and 2nd centuries. This workshop combined local traditions with fashions imported from Rome, with a sharply defined style and repetitive motifs. These motifs and the elements comprising them have a meaning and a raison d’être, as you will discover in this exhibition.

  • November 12th - 2022 january 16th
  • Tuesdays to sundays, 10:00 to 20:00
  • Closed on mondays, open on bank holiday
  • Cloisters

The Highlands or “The Sierra”, as the inhabitants call it, is in the north-east of Soria and belongs to the Ebro basin. It belonged to the Celtiberian culture during the Ice Age. When that period came to a close, during Romanisation, it was incorporated into the Citerior Tarraconense province, whose capital city was Tarraco (Tarragona). The Roman epigraphs found in the Soria Highlands provide us with information about the funerary rites and beliefs of their people in the earliest centuries of the era. As in the greater part of the Empire, they were written in Latin, but at the same time they have transmitted to us the indigenous names of the inhabitants.

Soriako hilarriak I
Soriako hilarriak II
Soriako hilarriak III

According to the latest research, some of them can be explained by Basque-Aquitanian anthroponomy, thus locating testimonies of great importance for the Basque language in the Vascon lands beyond the Ebro. As a significant sample of the forty stelae found up to the moment in that region, this exhibition gathers together six of them. The seventh stela, Andrearriaga, however, comes from the territory of the city of Oiasso, in the northern part of the land of the Vascons.

The people of the stelae

The origins of the people who lived in this region are reflected in their indigenous names. Before the discoveries of the last few decades, the few names known were believed to be related to the supposed languages spoken in Soria and the Ebro Valley, that is, Celtiberian and Iberian. But the almost non-existence of Celtiberian names in the region is clear, despite its proximity to Numancia; on the contrary, many of them have characteristics associated with Aquitanian and Vascon, considered to be phases prior to Basque.

The inscription workshop

Inscription workshops were founded in all cities and in some rural regions. The Highlands workshop specialised in funerary stelae during the 1st and 2nd centuries. This workshop combined local traditions with fashions imported from Rome, with a sharply defined style and repetitive motifs.
These motifs and the elements comprising them have a meaning and a raison d’être, as you will discover in this exhibition.  


Organizers
: Euskaltzaindia, Idoubeda Oros, San Telmo Museoa
Curator
: Eduardo Alfaro


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