The Urban Center of Valencia in Late Roman and Visigothic Timesx
This article draws attention to an archaeologically well-documented example of urban change in a late antique city, Valentia, in the Province of Tarraconensis. Starting with a short overview of the epigraphic record from the third to the seventh centuries ce, it gives a synthesis of the archaeological data in order to answer the following questions: which buildings were newly erected, and which were restored in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages? When, and how, does an urban space become a Christian space? How was Valentia's Christian past created? Which central buildings can be related to the city's patron Saint Vincentius? During the fourth century ce many buildings in Valentia's center were maintained but might have been used for a different purpose, as a peristyle house converted into a factory indicates. The second half of the fifth century ce shows a clear shift in the use of public space, as the first intramural cemetery was installed next to the forum. This graveyard was covered by a second in the sixth/seventh century ce. The different reasons for these intramural burials are discussed and lead to a short presentation of the episcopal complex with its two possible locations of the shrine of Saint Vincentius. Lastly, we review the first evidence of Christianity in Valentia, a fragment of a glass-bowl showing the dominus legem dat scene, and explore the impact of Christianity on the interpretation of the peristyle house.
The urban development of the ancient city of Valentia (Valencia) in the Province of Tarraconensis has attracted great scholarly interest in the last twenty-five years. The results of numerous campaigns carried out by the municipal authorities (that is, the Servicio de Investigación Arqueológica Municipal, or [End Page 131]
SIAM) from the late 1980s onwards allow for better understanding of the city's history from its foundation in 138/7 bce1 to early Islamic times.2 Besides the important localization of the monumental circus,3 the excavation next to the modern basilica of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados at the Plaza [End Page 132] de l'Almoina, which is the largest excavation in Valencia, has enriched our knowledge of the development of the city center decisively (fig. 1).4 Referring mostly to published material, I will try to give an overview of Valentia's urban center from Late Roman to early medieval times. In so doing, I will focus on the following questions:
• Which buildings were newly erected, and which were restored in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages?
• For how long, and in which urban contexts, were honorific statues erected?
• When, and how, does an urban space become a Christian space?
• How was Valentia's Christian past created?
• Which central buildings can be related to the city's patron Saint Vincentius?
Before discussing the archaeological material, it is best to begin with the epigraphic sources in order to help answer some of the questions raised above. The evidence is however scarce. For a better understanding of the epigraphic data from late antique Valentia it is necessary to take a more general look at comparable material from the Iberian Peninsula.
Since the days of the Roman Republic civic fora had served as prominent places where honorific statues were erected. Compared to the earlier third century ce, the late antique evidence for the continuity of this practice is surprisingly poor. We know of 118 imperial honorific statues set up in the Hispanic provinces during the third century ce.5 For the fourth century ce, the database of Oxford's "Last Statues of Antiquity" project contains only twenty-six entries concerning imperial honorific statues in the Iberian peninsula.6 Compared to Gallia or Raetia, this is still a significant number, as Witschel demonstrates the final publication of the "Last Statues of Antiquity" project. From the years between 284 ce and the fifth century ce, only forty-two honorific imperial statues from Hispania are known. By comparison, a total of twenty-eight statues are known from the short period between 270 [End Page 133] and 284 ce.7 Taking a closer look at the dedicants can also be informative. In the third century ce, the majority of statues honoring emperors were erected by towns or their councils; sixty-seven out of 118 statues were erected by local officials, and only five by provincial officials.8 From the fourth century ce onwards, however, the profile of the dedicators begins to change. In the fourth century, provincial officials increasingly play the role of dedicant. Out of forty-two statues, only eight were dedicated by local officials, while seventeen were dedicated by provincial officials.9 This epigraphic evidence reveals a clear shift towards a newly rising provincial elite. But how relevant is the epigraphic material to our understanding of the development of Roman fora as places of imperial and local forms of representation? Here the material becomes even more problematic. Only ten out of forty-two imperial statues can be located securely to fora. The statue bases in question were found on the fora of Tarraco, Corduba, Emerita Augusta, and Singilia Barba.10 All were dedicated in the short period between 288 and 337 ce. Except for the base from Singilia Barba, all were set up by provincial governors.
The original context of the two honorific imperial statues thus far recovered from Valentia, dated to the later third century ce, must remain uncertain. One of the now lost statues was dedicated to Aurelian. Its base was found in 1928 between the cathedral and the basilica of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, close to the forum of Roman times.11 According to the last line of the inscription, the city's veterani et veteres honored the emperor with the monument. This fits well with the dominant position of local dedicatants during the third century ce.
The base of the second imperial honorific statue from Valentia was found near the basilica of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados as well. The monument was erected to honour Aurelian's imperial successor Probus.12 His [End Page 134] statue—now lost as well—was dedicated in 281 ce by a representative of the provincial administration named Allius Maximus, the legatus iuridicus based at the provincial capital of Tarraco. Therefore, Valentia's last imperial statue indicates this already perceived shift from local to provincial dedicants, which is characteristic of the era.
In addition to honorific inscriptions, building inscriptions, including those for buildings erected ex novo as well as those recording restorations of older structures, are an important indicator for the vitality of a cityscape. Already by looking at the sheer number of building inscriptions published in the "Epi-graphic Database Heidelberg," one gains the impression that the epigraphic sources play only a minor role in answering some of the questions asked above. From the very long period between 250 and 700 ce, only fourteen inscriptions relating to building activity are catalogued for the entire Iberian Peninsula.13 Most them are related to church buildings. To this can be added an elogium in honor of Valentia's first known bishop, Justinian,14 dating from the mid-sixth century ce and mentioning churches built and restored by the bishop.15
Furthermore, Valentia provides us with a rare example of a late antique building inscription. This fragmentary inscription, found in three parts in 1904, gives notice of one of Justinian's episcopal colleagues. It informs us of his restorations of the church and perhaps too of the bishop's palace, and was found in the heart of the ancient city in the Plaza de l'Almoina. For palaeo-graphical reasons the inscription has been dated to the sixth century ce. Attribution of the inscription to Justinian himself has convincingly been refuted.16 [End Page 135]
To sum up, compared to the earlier third century ce the epigraphic record of building processes and the use of public spaces for elite representation in late antique Valentia is poor. Compared to the epigraphic evidence from Spain and other provinces (Raetia, Gallia), however, the record is above average. Moreover, patterns observed in the evidence match those perceived elsewhere.
Urban Development: The Archaeological Evidence
Urban Continuity in the Fourth Century ce
Having been founded in 138/137 bce, Valentia was destroyed under Pompey in 75 bce.17 Most probably connected to this dramatic interruption in the city's history are fourteen tombs detected by excavations at the Plaza de l'Almoina (fig. 2).18 This part of Valentia, which owes its name to a medieval hospital, adjoins the Roman forum of the colony that was rebuilt beginning in the reign of Claudius. Starting in the late 1980s and lasting until 2002, intensive excavations were carried out at the Almoina by the municipal authorities (SIAM), which have unearthed an area of approximately 2,500 square meters, including parts of the imperial forum. The forum could be identified in combination with excavations within Valentia's cathedral. It has been shown that this public space was constructed over its republican predecessor.19 The space is paved with blueish stones from the Alcublas quarry, located northeast of the city, and is sunken three steps beneath the surrounding porticus, which forms the western border of the excavation. Parts of the forum were made in [End Page 136] local limestone, on view at the northernmost part of the excavation.20 In Flavian times, the city center was almost completely monumentalized with the construction of public buildings adjoining the forum, such as a basilica, an asklepieion,21 curia,22 macellum,23 and a peristyle house of unknown purpose. Around the latter's western wall of opus vittatum, excavators discovered a burnt layer (0.2 m) and linked it convincingly to other clear signs of destruction by fire detected across Valentia. The various layers of destruction and burnt layers can be dated using ceramic evidence to the late third century ce.24
This fits well with a coin hoard dating to 270, whose latest coins honor the deified Claudius II Gothicus and were struck in the short, one-month reign of his immediate successor Quintilus.25 As a result of this destruction, no restorations or new building activities are documented in the northern part of the city, apart from those at the port on the banks of the river Turris. Therefore, fourth-century Valentia might have been distinctively smaller than the city in the second or third century.
In contrast with neighboring towns such as Saguntum or Edeta, Valentia shows just a few obvious signs of urban decline in the mid-third century ce. Except for the basilica and the so-called aedes Augusti, both destroyed in a fire in the late third century ce and never rebuilt, Valentia kept its monumental center during the fourth century ce, as clearly underlined by [End Page 137]
Ribera i Lacomba.26 The curia, the porticus surrounding the forum, the asklepieion/nymphaeum, and the macellum were all restored or still in use in the fourth century ce.27 A limestone fragment depicting a tendril and bird in low relief, stratigraphically dated to the fourth century ce and most [End Page 138] probably part of a wall revetment, may reveal the still lively interest and care for interior decoration.28
The above-mentioned peristyle house (fig. 3)—on the same insula as the macellum and connected to the cardo maximus—was newly erected at the end of the third century ce over an older building, perhaps a collegium.29 This building measures 22.5 meters from east to west. Only its northern part has been excavated. If one expects a symmetrical layout, which seems likely, the excavated 9 meters from north to south might once have reached a total of 20 meters.30
While its walls were largely constructed in opus vittatum and partly painted, it reused older building materials, such as column shafts in its courtyard. The building's original purpose is uncertain. The excavators proposed a public, administrative function. Its identification as the meeting-place of a corporation (collegium), as suggested cautiously by Marín Jordá, is doubtful.31 The buildings of Roman guilds are difficult to identify as they vary in size and layout. In some cases their identification is nevertheless possible owing to statue inscriptions found within the buildings, which name the collegium in the dedication.32
The peristyle house is remarkable too for its prominent role during the process of the city's Christianization.33 In its northwestern corner, an incised fragment of a glass drinking bowl was unearthed (fig. 4). It depicts the dominus legem dat scene, a commonplace in the second half of the fourth century ce.34 This is the first sign of Christianity in Valentia, a fact to be discussed in more detail below. In the second half of the fourth century ce the peristyle house next to the curia was partly reused as a "factory" or workshop, in which oil, garum, and other agricultural goods might have been processed. This convincing interpretation of its final purpose, proposed by Álvarez and others, is supported by the discovery of a great quantity of fishbones, grapes, and nearly intact amphorae containing the remains of garum and oil.35 The presence of three holes in the opus signinum floor of the largest room (8.94 x 6.40 square m), which connected with the [End Page 139]
courtyard to the east via a wide double door (2.05 m), may indicate the location of a former wine or oil press. A small wooden screw press would have been put onto the preserved, oval "platform," which has round corners and a beaded rim. A lacuna in the opus signinum 1.22 meters to the north may indicate the position of a container to store the resulting liquid.36 Such multifunctional use [End Page 140]
of buildings is common in Late Antiquity, as evidence from the somewhat later Casa de Cantaber in Conimbriga would seem to indicate.37
This alteration in function of a building adjoining the curia, perhaps on formerly public land, is of particular interest with regard to another prominent building close to the city's forum. On the opposite side of the cardo maximus lays a pagan sanctuary, the asklepieion/nymphaeum, which was partly restored during the fourth century. Its court was newly paved, again with rhomboidal floor tiles, as it had been in Flavian times.38 Not only was the building itself restored, but the cult of Asclepius itself continued, as shown by a fragment of a [End Page 141] Hispanic terra sigillata (TSHT 37, which is datable from around 380 until the early sixth century ce)39 deriving from the sanctuary's nymphaeum. Bearing a graffito that invokes gods associated with water, it was found together with homogeneous ceramic material (fifth/early sixth century ce) in a spolation trench in the enclosing wall.40 The peristyle house and the asklepieion/nymphaeum therefore show the coexistence of paganism and Christianity side by side in the heart of Valentia around 400 ce and maybe even later. The repair of public buildings after their destruction in the second half of the third century ce likewise proves the city's ambition to maintain its ancient urban landscape and decus. This need not imply that the buildings kept their former function, however, as the case of the peristyle house clearly illustrates.
Bringing the Dead to the Heart of the City (Fifth to Seventh Century ce)
Throughout the fourth century, the infrastructure and buildings in the center of Valentia continued to be maintained and used. Some of them, the curia and the asklepieion/nymphaeum, were still in use in the seventh century ce, but their function along with their surroundings had changed.41 This development had already begun in the fifth century ce when the late antique "factory" in the peristyle house was destroyed in the years between 420 and 430. Its final years can be dated precisely due to the large number of ceramic finds in the destruction layer (fig. 5). The destruction seems to fit well with the troubled decades of the fifth century as Hydatius colorfully describes them in his chronicle—quite literally a "history of the world's last days"42 — and as is also attested by a coin hoard in the Calle de las Avellanas and the backfill of a well in the nearby macellum.43 The destruction cannot, however, be linked to a known single historical event, as neither a siege nor a conquest of Valentia is reported in the written source record for this period.44 Moreover, the picture of constant menace and partial disruption of urban life that the written sources paint is only rarely confirmed by or documented in the archaeological evidence.45 [End Page 142]
[End Page 143]
The most dramatic change in the urban space is represented by the addition of a small intramural cemetery directly overlaying the area of the destroyed peristyle house ("factory").46 Above the massive layer of destruction were found twenty-two tombs. The majority were simple tombs a tegula (that is, alla cappuccina); the cremated remains of infants in two of the amphorae could also be documented.47 In addition to the tombs a tegula, a collective burial (no. 41) containing fifteen individuals was also located in this first intramural cemetery (fig. 6).48 The destruction of the peristyle house provides the terminus post quem for these inhumations. The ceramic evidence (Hayes 5, 29, 54) points to a fifth-century ce date for the beginning of this cemetery.49
In the late sixth- or early seventh-century ce, a second cemetery had already been superimposed over the tombs, meaning that the floruit of Valentia's first intramural cemetery can be dated to ca. 450–550 ce.50 Eleven tombs found next to the so-called Cárcel de San Vicente—only about 15 meters from the l'Almoina—can be dated on the basis of ceramic evidence (Hayes 61 and 91) roughly to the late fifth- or sixth-century ce and would therefore seem to belong to the same first intramural cemetery.51
The aforementioned second cemetery was installed some 0.3–0.4 meters above the first one (fig. 7). Two phases of this cemetery can be distinguished. Phase 1 shows collective tombs built out of three large blocks (2.25 x 1.0 x 0.50 m), most of which had been taken as spolia from the nearby forum. The interior of the tombs could be reached by ramps, which provided a secondary burial space and contained ten to fifteen individuals each.52 Early [End Page 144]
[End Page 145]
[End Page 146] in the seventh century ce, a horseshoe-shaped apse was constructed which covered parts of the graveyard (fig. 8). Comparable apsidal buildings on the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Christian monuments at La Cocosa (second half of the fourth century ce), Marialba (fourth/fifth century ce), Tarraco (sixth century ce), and Segóbriga (first half of the sixth century ce), served various functions.53 In Valentia, the apse partly overlies two tombs (no. 28, 50), while two others (no. 16, 40) have been covered by the nave of the apsidal building; all lay on the same level as the collective tombs found in the east of the apse.54 The construction of the apse directly above the tombs cannot be coincidental. Whether or not the small building was erected slightly later than the tombs, its function as small mausoleum seems as likely as the interpretation favoured by the excavator, namely that it had functioned as a martyr's shrine.55 In its second phase, the cemetery contained about twenty-five tombs, built on a larger scale than the older ones (ca. 3 x 2 x 1 m) and arranged in groups of four to six. Their form is comparable to the tombs of phase 1, but, in contrast, they did not respect but overlapped older tombs. These collective tombs contain twenty to twenty-five individuals each and expand the extent of the graveyard towards the northeast. In Phase 2, the first ossuary (no. 28) appears as an alternative type of collective burial.56 The grave goods (glass unguentarii, small ceramic vessels) help to date this last phase to the seventh century ce.57
The two cemeteries from the fifth/sixth and the sixth/seventh centuries ce are good examples of a well-known phenomenon of urban transformation in Late Antiquity.58 The different phases of the intramural cemeteries of Valentia [End Page 147]
[End Page 148] call for different interpretations. Burials intra muros were still prohibited by law at this time. The only late antique law explicitly prohibiting intramural burials was passed in 381 ce and refers to the limited area of Constantinople.59 But of course this law only reaffirms earlier ones. The prohibition of intramural burials can be traced back to republican times and can be found in the Law of the Twelve Tables (table 10, around 450 bce).60 Nevertheless, privileged burials (bishops, saints, tombs ad sanctos)61 were de facto excluded from this prohibition, and bad political conditions (war or other violence, famine, poverty) forced people during Late Antiquity to search for alternative locations for burial. Evidence for this can be found at different places and for different dates, for example at Rome (probably caused by the siege of Vitigis in 537–538 ce) and in several African towns.62
The phenomenon of intramural burial seems to be of greater importance for modern scholars than it was for the inhabitants of towns in Late Antiquity.63 In general, three different types of intramural burials must be distinguished, as Duval has proposed:
1) burials connected with Christian cult places;
2) burials in buildings and areas that are (partly) destroyed or no longer used for other purposes;
3) burials in areas and buildings still in use (as, for example, domus).64
In Hispania, Christian burials intra muros that correspond with the Valentinian examples in form and date have been found in Conimbriga in the forum and in several domus (Duval's type 3).65 One of the best examples of an [End Page 149] intramural cemetery (consisting of 106 tombs dating from the late fifth/early sixth to the seventh century ce) can be found close to Barcelona's cathedral. Forty-eight burials found within the former arena of Tarraco offer a slightly later example (late sixth century ce).66
Paleobiological examination of some skeletons from Valentia's first intramural graveyard (ca. 450–550 ce, tombs no. 3–4, 63–65) has proven that the deceased were members of the same family.67 As Ribera i Lacomba has pointed out, this is a distinguishing feature of graveyards containing members of the aristocracy, as noted already elsewhere by Fasola and Fiocchi Nicolai.68
Should these earliest tombs be older than the church, their location inside the city could be explained by contemporary dangers and disasters or other external threats. These insecure circumstances might have forced even a privileged family to bury its dead not next to their ancestors in one of the cemeteries around Valentia, but in the center of the city; and the collective burial (no.41) might be connected to the "Justinianic Plague" that appeared in Spain regularly from the 540s until at least the end of the sixth century ce, or to a comparable epidemic.69 In general, collective burials can be a response to epidemic, fire, famine, unfavourable climatic conditions, other calamities (for example, earthquakes), or violent conflict.70 It seems less likely that a violent conflict provided the direct cause for the first intramural burials in Valentia, for if this were the case, one would expect more skeletons would bear clear signs of a violent death.
The position of the second cemetery (and possibly some graves of the first cemetery) can be explained by the adjoining sixth century ce cathedral and a shrine that may have been dedicated to a martyr.71 Although burials intra muros may not be usual at this time, it is remarkable that none of the many canons of Visigothic church councils uphold its prohibition by Roman law.72 [End Page 150] Based on the clear differences in form and scale, and the physiology of the skeletons, which are larger than those of the two phases of the second cemetery, Calvo Gálves has proposed that the cemetery served as a burial ground for the (now Visigothic) urban elite in its final phase, which is datable on the basis of the grave goods (glass unguentarii, small ceramic vessels) to the seventh century ce.73
Allowing for the somewhat problematic dating of the early cemeteries or rather their possible connection to the cathedral complex, one might draw the following conclusion: whilst the burials of the first cemetery can be explained by extraordinary external circumstances, the two phases of the second cemetery show a significant change in burial practice that underlines the differences between Roman funerary customs and those of the early medieval period. By the seventh century ce, the (new) urban elite (mausoleum, family tombs, burials ad sanctos?) abandoned the traditional extramural cemeteries and chose instead to seek burial in the city's new Christian center, home to its episcopal complex.
The Episcopal Complex: A New Urban Center (sixth–seventh century ce)
Far and away the most prominent new building complex in the city was the bishop's church. The episcopal see of Valentia is first mentioned in 546/549, when the city hosted the provincial synod under the lead of its bishop Justinian.74 The fact that Valentia was able to host this important ecclesiastical event indicates that its see must have played a dominant role within the province and indicates that its episcopacy was already well established by the mid-sixth century ce. The year of its foundation must, however, remain an open question. An elogium to bishop Justinian mentions him restoring one church and building a new one.75 Neither the location of the church restored by Justinian nor its purpose is known. It might have been an extramural sepulchral church or the bishop's church, since both can be situated intra and extra muros. Justinian's newly built church could be identified with the building whose apse was partly excavated in the south of the Almoina site. A small part of its aisle [End Page 151] has also been revealed in a prospective trench outside of the excavation area. Given the estimated diameter of the apse, thought to have been 10.50 meters, the inner-city church must have been about 36 meters wide.76 The western end of this undoubtedly large building has not been identified, nor have any traces of an earlier church building yet been found.77 The church's placement next to the forum implies the shift of the city's former public center towards a newly erected ecclesiastical center. The forum itself was much less accessible than in previous centuries. The spaces between the columns of its surrounding porticus were partly blocked by a wall in opus vittatum, which was probably erected in the fifth or early sixth century ce.78 Whether this wall was part of a massive larger wall that separated the forum and other areas from the Christian center and its cemetery, as proposed in a suggestive 3D-model (fig. 9), must of course remain a hypothesis.79 The wall thought to have separated the forum and the new religious center would have accentuated this change in the urban landscape.
Two tombs were later adjoined to the church's apse, a typical location for privileged burials.80 Two side-buildings (possibly annexes to the church), the former curia, and a (polygonal?) building (15 m in diameter) in the north of the Almoina (fig. 10) probably also belonged to the church complex.81 In
contrast to the main building of the basilica, the side-buildings do not respect the city's former road system. Both of the side-buildings were clearly located above the cardo maximus. In my opinion, it is not possible to understand this position as a sign of different building phases, as has been proposed by the excavators. Only further investigation of the relationship between the walls of the church and those of its possible annexes could provide us with the information we might need to determine the chronology of this important building complex. For the time being, it is better to refer to them as side-buildings and not as later annexes, as the assumed connections between these structures and the aisles of the church await further investigation before they will be fully understood. [End Page 152]
The smaller (cruciform?) building in the north can be convincingly interpreted as a baptistery, based on the existence of a drain in the northern wall of its north arm.82
The cruciform side-building to its south (fig. 11) can be dated by ceramics from its foundation roughly to the sixth century ce. Its cruciform layout is more accurately described as a small, longitudinal building with a transept and rectangular apse. The barrel-vaulted building of 13 x 14 meters was used as a mausoleum, as a prominent tomb at its crossing indicates.83 Access to this tomb, which evidently belonged to a member of the aristocracy, was restricted by means of chancel screens in the nave and in front of the rectangular apse.84 [End Page 153]
[End Page 154]
The C14-dating of a skeleton buried in the central tomb supports the dating of the mausoleum to the mid-sixth century ce.85 Three other tombs can be found outside in the corners of the cross-arms and support the interpretation of the building as a place for privileged burials. This highly prominent burial site might have been intended for the tomb of the bishop Justinian himself and was in use until the eleventh century ce. During this period, its interior was subjected to several changes whose absolute chronology is difficult to ascertain. But the construction of three barrier walls in its third phase seems to indicate a change in function, which may not have occurred before the Islamic period of Valencia. In its final phase (ninth century ce), the building was used as a hammam, as indicated by a furnace installed outside the eastern wall of the apse.86 In the Middle Ages, a late-Gothic chapel, the Cárcel de San Vicente, was built above the north-arm of the former Visigothic mausoleum. [End Page 155] It is not until the thirteenth century ce that the building is brought into connection with the city's patron saint, Vincentius, when the Llibre del Repartiment (1239 ce) refers to a "domus santus Vincentius" (sic) at the Almoina.87
To summarize, by the sixth century ce the local bishop could claim Valentia's urban center as his own. A cathedral, baptistery, mausoleum, nymphaeum, and cemetery formed the new Christian focal point and were separated from the old public center, the forum, by a massive wall. By the seventh century ce, this complex may have been completed by a martyr's shrine. The mausoleum, with its horseshoe-shaped apse surrounded by collective burials and other tombs, should be interpreted as either the commemorative burial chamber of an outstanding member of the local elite or as an inner-city memorial for the local martyr, Saint Vincentius. Vincentius the Deacon, today one of the most prominent Saints in Spain, was martyred during the reign of Diocletian (284–305 ce) but was worshipped only on a very small scale outside of Valentia at least until the early fifth century ce.88 His relics, which the various descriptions of the saint's life and brutal death report as having been transferred several times, were translated "ad ecclesiam" before the eighth century ce.89 The phrase "ad ecclesiam" is not further elaborated, and may be interpreted as referring either to the apsidal building or to the cruciform side-building as the martyr's shrine. In the last case the above mentioned tomb in the side-building's crossings must be interpreted as the Saint Vincentius's.
Nevertheless, the location of the horseshoe-shaped apse above the late third century ce peristyle house has led Marín Jordá and Ribera i Lacomba to a suggestive if also hypothetical interpretation of the building. The earliest evidence of Christianity in Valentia has been found in this building: the fragments of a glass bowl depicting a dominus legem dat scene (fig. 4) of the sort that enjoyed such great popularity during the fourth century ce.90 These fragments can be dated to the late fourth/early fifth century ce. Basing their [End Page 156] argument on the Christian scene on this bowl and the fact that three rooms in the house were nearly inaccessible and thus possibly lockable, the authors went so far as to identify the building as the very prison where Vicentius was tortured before his death.91
Interesting though this theory is, there are strong reasons why the identification of a place of early Christian worship alongside a place where fish-sauce and agricultural goods were produced must be rejected. To review the facts:
•. Vincentius was martyred in 304 ce;
•. In the second half of the fourth century, the parts of the building that had supposedly served as a prison for the martyr were used for the production of agricultural goods; the glass bowl can be dated to the late fourth/early fifth century;
•. the peristyle house had been destroyed by 420/430;
•. during the fifth and the sixth century, the first intramural cemetery was developed in the area, 150 years after Vincentius' martyrdom!
•. The first intramural cemetery was replaced by the apsidal building and its surrounding burials in the seventh century, almost 300 years after the saint's violent death.
To clarify my interpretation, the identification of the apsidal structure as a shrine to honor the city's saint remains a possibility but must remain tentative; the interpretation of the structure as an aristocratic mausoleum is just as likely. But proposing that the connection between the peristyle house from the late third century ce, the drinking bowl from the late fourth century ce, and the prominent structure within the cemetery could be more than coincidental seems to over-strain the archaeological evidence. An interpretation of the peristyle house as a private domus is instead the more likely option.
The archaeological site at Almoina exemplifies in detail the process by which local ecclesiastical authorities took possession of former public space. In the fourth century ce, the urban landscape of the city seems to have been preserved, although the buildings began to display the first signs of change in their use, as for example a factory installed in the peristyle house. The first intramural cemetery, established in the fifth century ce for reasons no longer known, shows a new, more pragmatic attitude towards Valentia's cityscape in the fifth and sixth century ce. [End Page 157]
By the seventh century ce, the city's center with its episcopal complex had clearly been Christianized: what in Late Antiquity still belonged to pagan deities (Asklepios) and to local or imperial officials (from what we can know based on rare epigraphical data), clearly belonged to Valentia's bishop in the Early Middle Ages. Nevertheless, we must not forget that our perspective remains limited. Due to the lack of archaeological excavation in the forum itself, we might tend to overstate the results of the Almoina site, as remarkable as they are. We simply do not know what the surrounding area looked like, even if the new episcopal complex does seem to have dominated the urban landscape. In spite of the very prominent position which the church occupies in the landscape, it was not erected on the site of the old forum, but only next to it.92
2. Pascual Pacheco 1993; Pascual Pacheco and Soriano Sánchez 1996; Pascual Pacheco, Ribera Lacomba, and Rosselló Mesquida 1996; Ribera Lacomba 1998a; Pascual Pacheco and Soriano Sánchez 2000; Ribera i Lacomba 2005a; Ribera i Lacomba and Abad Casal 2000; Ribera i Lacomba and Martínez Jiménez 2012.
6. <http://laststatues.classics.ox.ac.uk/database> consulted June 27, 2014. Use advanced search: Place – Broad region = Iberian Peninsula; date – Earliest Possible Year = 300; Latest Possible Year = 400. Results: Total 31; 5 to imperial officials, 26 to emperors or members of the imperial family.
10. Tarraco: CIL 2.4104 = LSA-1979; CIL 2.4105 = LSA-1980; CIL 2.4106 = LSA-1981; CIL 2.4108 = LSA-1982; CIL 2.4107 = LSA-1983. Corduba: CIL 2.2204 = LSA-1994; CIL 2.2205 = LSA-1996; CIL 2.2206 = LSA-1998. Emerita Augusta: Gómez-Pantoja 2001= LSA-2008. Singilia Barba: CIL II² 5. 777 = LSA-2004.
11. CIL 2² 14, 19: [[Imp(eratori) Caesari [M(arco)]]]/[[A[ur(elio) A]n[tonin]o]]/ [[P(io) F[el(ici)] Aug(usto) p(ontifici) m(aximo)]]/[[t[r(ibuniciae)] p[o]t(estatis) I[I co(n) s(uli)] p(atri) p(atriae)]]/[[proco(n)[s(uli)] Valen]]/[[tini veteran(i)]]/[[et vete[r(es)]]]/[[[ex] d(ecreto) d(ecurionum)]] // L(ucio) Dom(itio) Aureli/ano deo/Valentini veterani/et veteres. The inscription uses an older base with erased dedication to Heliogabalus at the back, or better former front side, Alföldy 2002, 257–60.
12. CIL 2² 14, 20: [Pie]tate iustitia fo[rt]i[tu]dine/et pleno omnium v[ir]tutu[m]/principi vero [Got]h[i]c[o] vero[que]/Germanic[o ac] victoriaru[m]/omnium no[mi]nibus inlu[stri]/M(arco) Aur(elio) Pr[obo] P(io) F(elici) Invict(o) A[ug(usto)]/pont(ifici) max(imo) t[r]ib(unicia) p(otestate) V p(atri) p(atriae) co(n)s(uli) IIII pro[c(onsuli)]/Allius Maximus v(ir) c(larissimus) leg(atus) iur(idicus)/prov(inciae) Hisp(aniae) Tarraconens(is)/maiest[ati] eius ac numini/dicatissimus.
13. <http://edh-:www.adw.uni-heidelberg.de/home> consulted on June 27, 2014. Search criteria: complex search > Find spot/present location > modern country = "Portugal, Spain"; Type of inscription = building/dedicatory inscription; Chronological data = years from 250 to 700.
14. Isid. De uiris illustribus 20.
15. CIL 2² 14, 89: Pius pr(a)eclarus doctor alacer facundus/Iustinianus caelebs pontifex sacer[dos]/noba (!) te(m)pla co(n)struens vetustaq(ue) rest[aurans]/ornabit (!) festa dictis pr(a) edica(n)s in populis/virgines institute(n)s monacos(que) guv[ernans] (!)/scripsit plura posteris profutura [s(a)ec(u)lis]/hic miro maris insola[m](!) munimine sepsi[t]/in qua maris circu(m) flue(n)tib(us) undis/silice disrupto pr(a)edulce(m) repperit limfam (!)/hic Vincentium glorious(m) martirem XP(Christ)i/sat pio quem coluit moderamine vivens/hunc devotus moriens reliquid (!) (h)eredem/undecim pr(a)esentis quinquennia vit(a)e/quattuor lustris vis(que) (!) quaternis mensib(us)/connumerandus s(an)c(t)is ministrab(it) (!) antestis (!).
16. CIL 22 14, 90: Constructu(m)p[---cu]rrunt/ fastigium quis[---a?]ula/ nempe nam in[---a] nnos/ hoc probidens[---]ntis/ tertio antist[es---] anno/robore contri[--- co?]rimbi/ aptantur hi mir[---]sius idem/fulbida preterea[---]a prossus/ lammina sub lat[---]mine aur[i]/[c]ulmine cu(m) solid[---] quinque[---]. On the highly speculative attribution to Justinian by Fita 1906, 61 see Vicent 1957–1958, 220; Llobregat Conesa 1977, 24–26; 136–137. Matue y Llopis 1949, 158 would place the inscription in the apse of the church, as at San Juan de Baños, but this must remain a hypothesis. Nor can one identify the building that was restored, as [a]ula can refer to both a church or an atrium, or literally as domus regia to the bishop's palace, see Münscher 1900–1906, 1455, lin. 38–60 (domus regia); 1455, lin. 72–1456, 2 (atrium); 1458, lin. 43–71 (church). Speaking of fastigium in the context of a building, it is most likely that parts of the roof needed to be restored, Bannier 1912–1926, 320, lin. 5–73.
17. Livy's date for Valentia's foundation is confirmed by vast amount of archaeological material from the earliest layers of the settlement. This material, including a foundation offering (Ribera i Lacomba and Martínez Jiménez 2012, 82 fig.1), shows a strong connection to the Italian peninsula, especially to Campania, see Ribera i Lacomba, 2009 with further literature. For the history and archaeology of Valencia in the second and first century bce see Ribera i Lacomba 1998a.
18. These burials of fourteen armed men were found in a layer containing large quantities of late Republican ware and a denarius from 77 bce. To this a hoard of 195 denarii with a closing date of 77 bce can be added, cf. Ribera i Lacomba 2010, 83. For the Republican building phase, see Escrivà Chover et al. 2013, 53–55, fig. 1.
19. This location of the forum was already hypothesized during the first excavation in 1653, which was supervised by José Vicente del Olmo. The geographer and secretary of Valentia's Tribunal of the Inquisition was in charge of the site during the building process of the basilica Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, cf. del Olmo 1653 . For the forum in Roman times see Marín Jordá, Piá Brisa, and Roselló Mesquida 1999.
20. Seven large Attic–Ionian bases were found in situ along the site's eastern border. In addition to the excavation of column shafts 5.8 m and a stuccoed Corinthian capital, all made in a beige-greyish local limestone, see Marín Jordá, Piá Brisa, and Roselló Mesquida 1999, 10–14 with figs.; Escrivà Chover 2005, 91 A 128–129.
21. The temenos, with its central water basin and probably two smaller fountains at its northern wall, lies over a republican sanctuary. The deity worshipped there should most probably be identified with Asclepius due to two inscriptions from the Almoina area CIL 22 14, 1 and 2, statue base/altar? and an incised fragment of a late Hispanic sigillata naming the god of healing, see Albiach, Espí, and Ribera i Lacomba 2009, 418, 424; Ribera i Lacomba and Martínez Jiménez 2012, 99–100 fig. 11.
22. The building (7.48 x 8.45 m) is located on an insula that is connected to the forum by the decumanus maximus. Hardly anything besides the foundation of large, rectangular limestone blocks is preserved. Above this is a badly preserved wall with marble revetment, which recalls the once important role of the building. The floor was made of opus signinum. To the north, the curia was flanked by a building, spoliated to its foundation in the late sixth/early seventh century ce, that might have been used as tabularium, that is, an office for the duumviri or aediles. As a result of the caliphal building projects of the tenth century ce the curia was dismantled, Marín Jordá, Piá Brisa and Roselló Mesquida 1999, 15–18; Escrivà Chover et al. 2013, 61–64; Ribera i Lacomba 2010, 85.
23. The building, with its entrance from the cardo maximus, measures 17 x 17 square meters, cf. Marín Jordá, Piá Brisa, and Roselló Mesquida 1999, 21.
24. Pascual Pacheco, Ribera i Lacomba, and Rosselló Mesquida 1996, 183. A plan mapping the third- and fifth-century ce points of destruction in Valentia is provided by Ribera i Lacomba 2000, 19 fig. 1.
26. The following summary of the development of the urban center is largely based on the material published at Ribera i Lacomba 2005b, especially 209 for the comparison with Saguntum and Edeta. I will indicate clearly any points on which I differ from Ribera i Lacomba. For the basilica and the so-called aedes Augusti see Escrivà Chover et al. 2013, 59–60 figs. 4 and 5; 64–65, fig. 13.
35. The six amphorae containing olive oil (type Keay 4, 35, Africa and 52, Italy) and garum (type Keay 13, 19, and 23, Spain) were found during a sondage in an area to the south of the building, which would have belonged to the building if we assume a symmetrical layout for the complex, Álvarez et al. 2007, 329.
36. Álvarez et al. 2007, 328 fig. 4; 329 fig. 7. N. Álvarez compares the press convincingly to an example from Barcino Plaza del Rey, dated to the end of the third beginning of the fourth century ce, Beltrán de Heredia Bercero 2002, 68–69 figs. 8–9; 98.
44. For the historical circumstances of the first quarter of the fifth century ce, see Arce 2005 passim; Kulikowski 2010, 156–75. For the archaeological evidence of the "Germanic" newcomers in Iberia, see López Quiroga, Martínez Tejera, and Morín de Pablos 2006.
45. The destruction of Conimbriga in 468 ce is recorded by Hydatius, chron. 225, 237; and proven by archaeological evidence, Martínez Jiménez 2013, 80. Nevertheless, the city was not deserted after this disaster; this is clear from e.g. the fact that the forum was still in use until the sixth century ce as shown by ceramic findings, and the Casa de Cantaber was also used until the ninth/ tenth century ce, cf. López Quiroga 2013, 324 n. 201; 328. In Mérida, the destruction seen in several parts of the walls, a residential area, all tombs in the necropolis surrounding the shrine of St. Eulalia, and other areas are attributed to the attacks of Suevic troops under Heremegarius, Mateos Cruz 2000, 504–6.
47. For the form and size of the tombs and their west to east orientation with their preservation and paleobiology, see Calvo Gálvez 2000, 193–194. The common form of tombs a tegula is found in Valentia's other cemeteries from this time, such as those in its western cemetery, Arnau Davó 2005, 264.
50. Ribera Lacomba 2005b, 224–26. Given this chronological framework, its origin need not necessarily be linked to the episcopal complex of the sixth century ce, as proposed by Calvo Gálvez 2000, 193.
52. A total of fifty-eight individuals could be studied for purposes of palaeodemographic analysis: the tombs contained 43% adult males, 22% adult females, 17% infants, 9% older adult males 40–59 years of age, 9% older adult females, Calvo Gálvez 2000, 195–198.
53. Schlunk and Hauschild 1978, 12–15, 42–43. The "horseshoe-shaped apse" is of course not limited to the Iberian Peninsula nor to Christian architecture, but is found throughout the Mediterranean world. Faccani 2010, 194–206 offers an admittedly incomplete list of buildings featuring a horseshoe-shaped apse or its foundation in the area of the former western empire from the fourth to the sixth century ce. The majority of the examples are dated to the fourth or fifth century ce. For rare later examples from the Iberian peninsula, see Schlunk and Hauschild 1978, 88–89 (on Valdecebar, near Olivenza) 209–11 (on Fructuoso de Montelios, a mausoleum near Braga).
54. The tombs fit within the limits of the first fifth/sixth century ce cemetery, but can be distinguished from the earlier burials in form, funeral rite, and in the "tipologia fisica" of the individuals, Calvo Gálvez 2000, 196.
55. Ribera i Lacomba and Soriano Sánchez 1996, 226; Ribera Lacomba 2005b, 231. For discussion of the cult of Valencia's patron St. Vincentius, see below "The Episcopal Complex: A New Urban Center (sixth–seventh century ce)."
56. Calvo Gálvez 2000, 198–200. Paleobiological investigation reveals 44.6% adult females,5.3% middle-aged (40–59 years) females, 5.3% elderly females, 16% adult males, 9% middle-aged males, 14% infants.
58. Ribera i Lacomba 2005b, 236 refers to the partly comparable episcopal cemeteries in Segobriga, Corinth, and Barcelona. Barcelona is by far the best analogy, cf. Bonnet and Beltrán de Heredia Bercero 2000, 480–84.
60. Leges XII tabularum, 10: hominem mortuum in urbe ne sepelito neve urito. For commentary see Flach 1994, esp. 191–92. For the difference between juridical norms and praxis in the Early Middle Ages, see Siems 1989, 291–306.
62. For Rome Meneghini and Santangeli Valenzani 2004, 125 sees the crucial motivator for this change of funeral habit in the insecurities of war, as had already been proposed earlier but with less evidence by Fasola and Fiocchi Nicolai 1989 1168–69. Fasola and Fiocchi Nicolai 1989, 1167 list the following intramural Christian (?) burials as examples: Sétif late fourth century ce, Hippo, Sbeitla, Haïdra all fifth century ce, Djemila fifth century ce, crypt, Aquileia, Grado.
65. Ten tombs are situated at the North of the forum's square and at the steps leading to the forum's temple; although the chronology remains open, a fifth century ce date was proposed due to the form a tegula of the burials. Inhumations within the Domus de la Esvastica, the Domus de los Esqueletos, and the Casa dos Repuxos can be dated based on numismatic evidence to the late fourth/early fifth century ce, López Quiroga 2013, 323–324.
69. The connection with the Justinianic plague is proposed by Calvo Gálvez 2000, 195. For the epidemic in Spain, see Martínez Jiménez 2013, 81, in general Rosen 2007. At Clos des Cordeliers Sens, Yonne, four mass graves containing a total of forty-five adults and twenty-four infants can be convincingly linked by chronological and molecular biological evidence to the Justinianic plague. The ten to fifteen individuals within the Almoina's collective tomb are comparable to burials connected with the Justinianic plague, Rigeade 2007, 29; 75.
70. Previously, only modern mass graves could be connected to natural disasters, Rigeade 2007, 11. Examples of collective burial resulting from violent conflict in Late Antiquity are collected by Rigeade 2007, 16–19. For other possibilities in interpreting medieval mass graves, see Kahlow 2007, 100–102.
72. Hartmann 2003, 129. From the sixth century ce onwards, burials intra muros are no longer so unusual. For Italy, see Brogiolo and Wataghin Cantino 1998. For North-Africa, see Leone 2003. For Macedonia, see Snively 1998. Cases where extramural cemetery churches do exist are also documented, see for example, the twelve tombs in and around basilica C at Gradina Serbia, Milinković 1993, 238–239.
74. The synod took place either in 546 ce, or, according to the traditionally accepted date given by the manuscripts, in 549 ce, the year following the reign of King Teudis, Llobregat Conesa 1977, 77–79, 145–47.
75. CIL 2², 14, 89.
79. Ribera Lacomba 2005b, 238 fig. 35; Ribera i Lacomba 2008, 316 fig. 17. The wall enclosing the porticus which surrounds the forum interrupted a fourth-century ce conduit, Ribera Lacomba 2005b, 227–228, fig. 24.
80. As an example compare S. Nazaro in Milan, Löx 2013, 87 with note 549. In Valentia, the tombs around the apse were situated on a level clearly higher than the church and its side-buildings, see below, Soriano Sánchez 1994, 177–179 figs. 7 and 8.
84. The chancel screens displayed today within the Carcél de San Vincente are too large to belong to the small mausoleum, see Ribera i Lacomba 2005a, 45. Although the screens were found covering tombs of the Islamic period in the mausoleum, they must have once been part of the Cathedral's liturgical decoration. Berlanga, Ribera i Lacomba, and Rosselló Mesquida 2003, 131; 134. The floral ornaments in low relief, similar to wood carving, resemble in their style and motifs later monuments such as Sta. Maria de Quintanilla de las Vinas Burgos, seventh/eighth century ce. Compare Vidal Álvarez 2005, cat. C8, tab. 57a, 1; Berlanga, Ribera i Lacomba, and Rosselló Mesquida 2003, 134 put them in the late sixth/seventh century ce.
88. La Roqueta was seen as the original martyr's shrine of the late Roman and Visigothic times, Ribera i Lacomba and Soriano Sanchez 1987, 147–49. If one follows this interpretation, Valentia would have had a small Christian place of worship in its suburbs. Similar development extra muros can be detected at Tarraco, Alcalá de Henares, Toledo, Mérida, and Ávila, see Martínez Jiménez 2013, 80 with further references.
89. Considering the results of SIAM's excavations, it seems less probable that St Vincentius's final resting place was located in the area of Valentia's cathedral, whether under its altar, as favored byV. Saxer, or in a building next to the cathedral, as proposed by N. Duval in the discussion of Saxer's presentation, Saxer 2002, esp. 17–18.
90. For further details on this bowl see Arbeiter 2002. For the iconographic discussion of the dominus legem dat-scene, see Lexikon Christlicher Ikonographie 4, 1994, col. 347–351, s. v. traditio legis W. N. Schuhmacher.