Radu Ciobanu
(Institution: Muzeul National al Unirii ; Alba Iulia ; Romania)


One of the most bizarre cult edifices from roman Dacia was discovered during Alburnus Maior archaeological research project and had been dedicated to Ianus, a mysterious and astonishing god himself.

A bizarre cult edifice because its plan is not regular like all the others we usually know and because its shape has been determinated by provisional needs after frequently ground slidings. It is a very interesting monument also because we know pretty well the origins and the background of its donors, probably an Illyrian family belonging to a certain Ansienses community well attested in its close neighbourhood. But above all the presence of this temple is closely connected to a rich symbolic space meaning as it has been placed at the crossroad of the paths reaching to the settlement, to the necropolis and to the mines nearby. As a threshold god, real or symbolic, Ianus was worshipped most of all because its great power to ease the passages from the real life (the settlement) to the after life (the necropolis), or from a miserable status like the one of the ordinary miners, to a prosperous status after some gold source findings to which they have dreamed of. The 3D restauration project covers all these investigation fields, proposing some interesting answers to the problems stressed already out here.

1) First of all the project explains how the original rectangular plan shape became an irregular trapezium with two opposite cellae on its short side corners. This almost bizzare plan is the result of some precipitated provisional refections executed after important ground slidings, attested not only here but in several spots of the investigated region, such as the so called Valea Nanului tempels for instance.

2) As a two faced god, as Ianus is already well known from the rich iconographical sources, we have here in Rosia Montana, the most original and unique architectural solution : a) two cellae exactly positioned on a east west direction, as the original Numa Pompillius Rome god’s statue was raised in the Argiletum temple and b) their entrances situated on the facade temenos, quite unusual for a cult edifice. The restoration project explains why this solution was adopted in this particular context and what were the differencies against the average cases actually known.

3) Besides, it emphasizes also the specific reality background in which the Rosia Montana Ianus temple appeared, i.e. the Illyrian miners settlements attested only by the epigraphical sources in Dacia, the donors and their Dalmatian origins. Finally the project tries to assemble all the information we actually know on this important archaeological discovery.

Ianus, iconography, symbols, roles, Dacia, epigraphy, Illyrian miners