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City Museum Senj - Senj Museum Society
Publication Date
  • Kult
  • Liber
  • Antička Senija
  • Cult
  • Liber
  • Ancient Senia
  • Kult
  • Liber
  • Antiken Senia
  • Archaeology
  • Religious Science


The worshipping of Liber, roman God known as a protector of wine and winery, in full equalized with a Greek Dionysus (Bacchus), was spread over the whole ancient world. The author describes and analyses material traces of the cult of worshipping Liber at Senia. So, from the inscription, which in the memory of his mother Gavia Maxima was carved by her son Lucius Gavins Optatus, we discover about the arrangement of the Liber's sanctuary (Fig. 1), while the fragment of the dedicatory inscription is a proof of its enlarging (Fig. 2). The existence of the temple means the existence of a group of worshippers. The author further makes conclusion that, in view of the meaning of God's name (liber means to be free), his worshipping at Senia might have been still more popular among the liberated persons and their descendants, meaning by the social group which in that mercantile and seaport town was quite numerous and which actively participated in all the segments of the public life. Among the monuments, which might be somehow linked to the worshipping of Liber, the author included also finds of marble composition where in the central place was a young man with an armful of various fruits (Fig. 3). The temple of Liber was located on the north-east outskirts of the ancient town, on the place of today's Čopić's settlement. In 1997 its walls were discovered quite accidentally. The temple, in which Liber's believers performed their mystic rites, was renovated in the 2nd c. Based on the archaeological finds and, in the context of the development of socio-historical events at Senia, the author is of the opinion that the function of the temple ceased by the end of the 4th c. or in the course of the 5th c, when the burials of the late ancient Senian inhabitants took place just in it. In that moment tradition of that cult place disappeared and the logic assumption is that the temple was violently destroyed in fights between the Christians and pagan religion believers. During the urbanization of the ancient Senia, on the north-east outskirts of the town were formed properties and terraces with good conditions for the cultivation of vineyards. In the 14th c. greater number of documents proved the existence of vineyards on the outskirts of the town, which belonged to the Senian citizens, as well as the production of Senian wine, whose sale was regulated by the Senian statute which gave it preference over the imported one. Against the opinion of the author, the wine-growing and wine-selling of the Middle Ages citizens of Senj, lay on the traditions developed in the ancient times. In that context, very interesting is the renaissance illustration of the small Dionysus on the stone relief, framed by an abounding vine, which used to be a trade-mark of single wine-growers or some association, producer or wine-dealer of the Middle Ages Senia (Fig. 4).

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