Community and Identity in the Roman Seventh Legion
Digitally mapping funerary monuments referring to Legio VII servicemen and related members of the military community in Roman Dalmatia.
This database was designed to facilitate and supplement archaeological and epigraphical research conducted as part of a Master of Research thesis submitted in December 2020. The project builds upon and digitises the robust catalogic work of scholars local to the modern region, such as Domagoj Tončinić's 'Monuments of Legio VII in the Roman Province of Dalmatia'. This database stores various types of geographical, epigraphical, visual, and historical data related to inscribed Roman funerary monuments belonging to, or commemorating, servicemen or veterans of the Roman Seventh Legion (Legio VII) in the province of Dalmatia (the modern Eastern Adriatic coastline and hinterland), as well as select relevant sacral and administrative epigraphic material. This project, and the related thesis 'Fratres Romani inDalmatia’, investigated the social dynamics of Legio VII, as well as processes of identity and community construction within the unit. It is hoped that this dataset will facilitate future research into military life in Dalmatia, as well as investigations of other corpora of Roman funerary stelae, as the general form of the dataset is transplantable onto epigraphical material from different regions of the Roman world.
Potential Applications of the Data
The dataset has been collated to facilitate further research into the seventh legion in Dalmatia and their monuments. The structure of this dataset has also been designed to best capture the types of epigraphical data which are key for investigating the social dynamics of a Roman community through their inscribed monuments, and it is hoped that future researchers can adapt this database structure onto other Roman epigraphic datasets.
This research was supported by the Croatian Studies Foundation (CSF) 2020 Community, Culture and Research Scheme, and the Macquarie University Macquarie Research Excellence Scholarship Scheme (MQRES).
Coopey, E. (2020), "Fratres Romani in Dalmatia: The Social Dynamics of Legio VII and the Construction of Community and Identity through Roman Funerary Monuments", MRes Thesis, Macquarie University. Accessible via: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/1280183
Current Disposition of the Physical Collection
The monuments are either 1) lost, 2) in states of secondary use in modern structures, or 3) are held in museums across Croatia and Bosnia Hercegovina:
- Arheološka zbirka Franjevačkog samostana u Sinju/Archaeological collection of the Franciscan Monastery in Sinj
- Arheološka zbirka Marka Matijevića u Solinu/The Archaeological collection of Marko Matijević in Solin
- Arheološki muzej u Splitu/Archaeological Museum in Split
- Arheološki muzej u Zadru/Archaeological Museum in Zadar
- Basilica of Santa Maria, Porto (Italy)
- Muzej Cetina krajina/Museum of the Cetinska Region
- Muzej Triljskog kraja/Trilj Regional Museum
- Muzej grada Trogira/Trogir City Museum
- Muzej u Humcu (Franjevački samostan u Humcu)/Museum of Humac (Franciscan monastery of Humac)
- Zemaljski muzej Bosne i Hercegovine/The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tabular data and additional documentation are available at the project's GitHub repository.
This database began with organising the epigraphic data catalogued in Tončinić, D. (2011) Spomenici VII. legije na području rimske provincije Dalmacije / Monuments of Legio VII in the Roman Province of Dalmatia. The data concerning the monuments catalogued within this work was then corroborated with that which available online on the EDCS and EDH. Geographical data was then sourced from Trismegistos, Pleiades and Google Maps, with archaeological and analytical data sourced from various pieces of scholarly literature (for bibliography see RIS/BIB in DB-SQL/). The aforementioned databases were also used to find comparanda as well as source data concerning relevant monuments which were not recorded in Tončinić (2011). When using online databases, the primary means of navigation was through their linked open data, however their search functions were also used with varying success.
The database has been roughly normalised to third normal form, even though it is intended as an analytical database rather than a transactional database. Data was hand-entered through automatic shell-scripted conversion of CSV datafiles with no intentions of supporting a front-end application. As such, no lookup tables were constructed. Views were created to strongly differentiate analytical outputs from the data sources they drew upon. Better constrained vocabulary enforcement, more thorough annotations with linked open data, and a more robust geospatial layer are all intended improvements for future iterations of this database as time and technology permits. Version control was used from the start, and this paper describes the version at release 1.0.0.
Data was not always taken from online sources ‘as is’ and was assessed for accuracy where appropriate. For instance, personal judgements were made about the dating provided for certain monuments on online, as were certain pieces of geographic data. Sometimes, the author would contact the authors/organisers of the online resource with suggested changes.
About the Authors
Ewan Coopey (primary investigator), https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8633-6418; Research Assistant and PhD candidate, Macquarie University Department of History and Archaeology.
Dr Brian Ballsun-Stanton (data scientist), https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4932-7912; Solutions Architect (Digital Humanities), Macquarie University Faculty of Arts.
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