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Stone dedicated to the Aufanian matrons

Bild aus CA-Sammlung MatronaeAufaniae

Bild aus CA-Sammlung MatronaeAufaniae

 In summer of 1909 a Roman temple was excavated in Netterheim (near Euskirchen). It consisted of three buildings, which are situated within a square (Temenos), and a fourth one outside it. The biggest of the three buildings had a circulating exterior hall, in which votive monuments were erected between the wooden columns supporting the roof of the hall. One of these monuments was a rectangular stone with the form of an aedicula in its upper part. One can see three matrons sitting on a bench under a saddleback roof. The youngest of them is seated in the middle flanked by the older matrons. All of them have small baskets and fruit in their hands. The sides of the stone also feature fruit and food. The stone, whose casting is preserved in Halle, comes from a Beneficarier - a soldier who was exempted from munera and who supervised an intersection base for a particular period. At the end of his supervision period Marcus Pettronius Patroclus donated this stone dedicated to the so-called „Aufanische Matronen“. Matrons are female divinities who are frequently admired in threes. They were very common in the area Niederrhein at that time and were admired predominantly by soldiers and important citizens - whereas matrons are often admired by the rural population. Nevertheless, the donations featured here are fruits and food. The reason such a piece was admitted to a collection for Christian Archeology and Ecclesiastical Art is (similarly to the stone of dedication for Dea Nehallenia) was firstly to compare different religious phenomenons and, secondly, to illuminate the religious situation in the provinces of the Roman Empire at the time when Christian communities were beginning to be established.