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The lapidary, that houses the stone monuments found in and around Aquincum, is the largest in Hungary, and what is more, it is the second largest in Europe (not including Italy).

 

The lapidary, that houses the stone monuments found in and around Aquincum, is the largest in Hungary, and what is more, it is the second largest in Europe (not including Italy.

The lapidary, that houses of stone monuments found in and around Aquincum, is the largest in Hungary, and what is more, it is the second largest in Europe (not including Italy). Considering its size, it may be compared to the National Museum’s lapidary (where approx. 250 stone monuments from Aquincum are also kept). The Lapidary of Aquincum Museum puts on exhibition approximately 1000 pieces.

The exhibited finds include grave stellae, votive altars, architectural inscriptions, architectonical elements as well as household objects such as grinding stones in lower proportions. Due to the structure of the collection and the quantity of the materials stored in it, it represents a first-class resource, not only for the history, the ethnic composition, religion and the military history of the local society, but also for international classical studies. Finds without inscriptions are also widely recognized good sources for research in art history, costume history or in architectural- and industrial history.

More than half of the inventoried stones have some sort of inscription on them. These inscriptions were published in the first half of the twentieth century in the third volume of Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarium(CIL) with  contributions by acknowledged historians of antiquity such as Th. Mommsen, A von Domaszewski, and Hungarian scholars: Bálint Kuzsinszky, Sándor Fröhlich, Károly Torma, Lajos Nagy, András Alföldi, János Szilágyi, Tibor Nagy, Géza Alföldi and  András Mócsy, who published most of the important texts. The Année Épigraphique journal publishes articles annually on inscriptions from finds published in the previous year. Thus, every memorial inscription, is included in the international – and of course in the Hungarian – archaeological literature. It can be concluded that almost the whole Aquincum material has often been published in numerous corpuses and appears in the archaeological literature as a fundamental source material.

Most of the sculptural finds in the lapidary are reliefs from grave monuments (grave stellas , sepulchral structures and sarcophagi). These reliefs include busts of the deceased, sacrificial and funeral feast scenes or also carriage scenes. Graves stellas decorated with wreaths form a separate group in Aquincum. TheLupa Capitolina (the Capitolian wolf feeding Romulus and Remus) is also depicted on grave stellas. Plaques with mythological scenes were also used on grave monuments. Motif boards were used to design the se monuments ( Priamos – plaque). Sarcophagi were also richly decorated. (Attius, Genius, Eros figures, the entrance to the Underworld etc.) Carvings can also be seen on altar stones (the snake-motif altar). Varied ornaments from architectural elements can also be found on objects in the lapidarium including capitals with masks, fragments of ledges etc. Traces of different colours can also be observed on some of the finds. (Bitus’grave stella) Sculptures in the round in Aquincum collection  comprise grave sculptures,  depictions of gods (Nemesis-Fortuna for example), emperors and governors and portraits etc.

These works of art stand out among the imperial and Pannonian sculptures. Apart from sculptures carved from local limestone, the collection includes imported ones carved from marble (the governor’s torso). The lapidary’s finds date to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries AD.