A couple of days ago, the discovery and excavation of a Roman tombstone at Cirencester (Gloucestershire) – largely undamaged and still in its original setting (in situ, as the professionals say) – has been publicised in no unspectacular terms.
Since last week’s discussion of the hare mosaic I’ve been thinking again about the place of the ‘hare’ in ancient religion.
For all the talk of its potential significance in its namesake mosaic, the significance of the hare in ancient religion is a veritable mystery and uncovering the reason would add such great flavour to an already absorbing piece of art.
For the sake of a reason, my best guestimation would be that the hare, as well as the goose and cockerel, were all the zoomorphic representation of a native deity or at least the animal companion of. Such companions are widely known from ancient pagan religions such as the cockerel and ram being associated with Mercury. A parallel can also be drawn to a local belief, across the Cotswolds where a series of sculptures dedicated to a local deity all portray a figure associated with a bird, given the area possibly a wood pigeon.
This to my mind would suggest that, if the hare was taboo as food or a hunting item and looked after or revered by the native British, then being the associate to a deity would be a most plausible explanation for such behaviour and worship. Nevertheless this is just conjecture and should be treated as such, but it never hurts to enquire and it would certainly be plausible. Furthermore even if it is a valid assumption the next mystery is who was this deity, and what powers did it behold? It seems history loves nothing more than a mystery.
It is sometimes a bizarre thought to ask how Roman was Roman Britain. However it’s a valid question, a good question and one that can be rather hard to answer. Whenever you think of Roman Britain the amazing archaeology of … Continue reading →
Everybody has a favourite possession, a treasured item, the one thing they never wish to sell. For me, this denarius of Vespasian is it. Casually given to me by my grandfather it was one of the first Roman coins that … Continue reading →
All over the world, every day, heritage sites, artefacts, skills and traditions are being damaged or lost through war, neglect, development, vandalism, theft or natural disasters. The Heritage Trust aims to focus on some of these issues, as well as highlighting many of the success stories in the fields of archaeology, conservation and historical research. If you have concerns for our heritage, or just a story to tell about it, please let us know by leaving a comment or contacting us at - email@example.com