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Historical novels from the 2nd für das 21st century


Dienstag, 12. Juli 2016

Restitutus' Stone: A Roman inscription that is very special for me

I have quite a special relationship to this inscription. Its original was found in the centre of my home-town of ‪#‎Wiesbaden‬, near the Upper Germanic Limes, andit is kept by the local museum. This replica, made with the original colours restored, is on display in the museum of the Kult-Ur-Institut in Bettendorf, Germany. 

The plate was once attached to the wall of a temple, dedicated to the Gaulic goddess Sirona, that must have been located near the Schützenhof well in Wiesbaden. The dedicant was one Caius Iulius Restitutus, introduced here as "Curator Templi" (it is not known what functions were allocated to this office), who paid the inscription "DE SUO POSUIT", from his own assets.

Restitutus is the only citizen of Roman Wiesbaden - or Aquae Mattiacorum - who is attested twice, for he reappears in a fragmented name list of dedicants of another edifice. For some reason, this fact touched me when I learned about it, and it stuck in my mind. Thus, when I started planning to write "Romanike", a six-volume series of novels set at the Upper Germanic limes, it came quite naturally that I made Iulius Restitutus my protagonist. I am afraid I did not treat him too well, and the actual Restitutus would be horrified if he knew what I have done to him! :-)

Years of actively dealing with this character have somewhat blended reality and fiction in my mind. Now, when we visit our local museum again or that in Bettendorf, and regard this epigraph, I get a feeling as if it was "my" Restitutus who has left his authentic record there. And I know that my wife feels the same.

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