Divine rape as funeral motif: Example of stela from Viminacium

Sanja Pilipovic
2002 Balcanica  
The theme of rape in the decorative program of the stela of M. Valerius Speratus from Viminacium and his wife Lucia Aphrodisia is expressed in the composition of the Rape of Kore and the Rape of Europa. This paper attempts to understand the said myths and their pictorial representations as funeral symbols of the after-death journey of the soul. Possible geopolitical meaning of the myth of the Rape of Europa has also been taken into consideration. The stela from Viminacium have also been viewed
more » ... e also been viewed in relation to the monuments with the similar representations in the neighboring Danubian provinces. As is commonly recognized, the pagan antique had no declared dogma. Death, separation from the world of the living, and the subsequent journey of the soul were symbolically represented by different motifs. A special and important group of myths found in the funeral symbolism involved myths of rape of mortal being by gods. Its complex structure represented an important theme, combining ideas of love and death. One of the earliest connections between the rape myth and funeral symbolism can be found in the work of Artemidorus of Daldis. 1 This Greek UDC73.032.046.1(497.11) Original Scholarly Work Sanja PILIPOVIĆ Institute for Balkan Studies SASA Belgrade 1 Artemidorus Daldianus, Oneirocritica; Until this guidebook came out, nothing had been written, as far as we know, on the problem of funeral iconography and its semantics. This is the oldest guidebook dealing with iconography that emphasizes the relations between an idea and a picture. Great interest for 'Artemidorus' manual was shown by F. Cumont and A. Darby Nock in their work of the mid-XX century. For more information on Artemidorus work, see: M. T. Olzsewski 1998. 2 The sacred union with a divine being is represented in the myths of Zeus and Leda, Amor and Psyche, Dionysus and Ariadne, Endymion and Selene, and others. Radical change in life is represented by myths of divine rape, although there are others related to the turning points in life. One such is the moment of discovery
doi:10.2298/balc0233061p fatcat:dxd3ud5t5reyhfzq3dydumdyve