Collection highlights

THE VAČE SITULA

Its quality design and craftsmanship in figurative representations make the situla – a situla is a decorated bucket-shaped vessel – from Vače near Litija one of the finest artefacts of situla art. It is even more important that it was crafted by a skilled local artisan. It is exceptional for its excellent preservation.
 
It was placed in the grave of a wealthy warrior, together with his helmet, two spears, battle-axe, a bracelet and a military belt. Only the skull of the young warrior's skeleton has been preserved to this day. In the Iron Age, young warriors had a special role and the most distinguished became the leaders of their communities
 
This famous situla which was crafted in the Iron Age is decorated with three horizontal bands – friezes, showing human and animal figures. The scenes that read in a sort of comic book sequence of events tell the story of the important acts and events from the noble's life. Situlas were supposed to have been used as ritual vessels to serve beverages.
 
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BOUNDARY STONE

Founded in 818 BC, Aquileia was the oldest city whose administrative territories extended to the territory of modern-day Slovenia, and the town of Emona (today’s Ljubljana) was established in the second decade AD at the latest. Comparison with other Roman boundary stones suggests that both towns shared an equal legal status and they both belonged to the same administrative unit, in this case Italy and not Illyricum, or, later, the Pannonia province. 
The boundary stone was discovered in the bed of the Ljubljanica River below Bevke. On the boundary, it was fixed about one metre deep in the earth next to the river bank. The upper part, 30 cm high and smoothly polished, of the boundary has three inscriptions: FINIS (delimitating line) on the upper panel, and AQVILEIENSIVM ([territory] of Aquileia) and EMONENSIVM ([territory] of Emona) on either side. 
 
 
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IMPERIAL STONE INSCRIPTION

The fragments of a marble plaque with a Latin inscription suggest that the first Roman Emperor Augustus and his successor Tiberius ordered the erection of a public building, perhaps a walled fortification in the city, and a plaque was fixed on this structure. The inscription most likely has to do with the construction of the Roman colony of Emona, though an older Roman settlement had been established about half a century before.
 
The inscription on the plaque reads in English as follows: 
 
Imperator Caesar Augustus, son of the divine (Julius) the high priest, 
thirteenth consul, twenty-first Emperor, in the thirty-seventh year of authority as tribune,
father of his country (and) Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of divine Augustus, 
second consul, sixth Emperor, in the sixteenth year of authority as tribune – 
had given to (the city) [the walls with towers].
 
At the permanent exhibition, you can see the reconstruction of the stone inscription in its full size.
 
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EMONA CITIZEN – A GILDED BRONZE ROMAN STATUE FROM EMONA

A gilded bronze portrait statue, known locally as "Emona Citizen", is the only preserved monument with a statue on a column that was erected for a civilian – i.e., not a member of the imperial family – in the entire territory of the Roman Empire. Only three column monuments from the Imperial Age have been preserved, but they are all dedicated to Emperors.
 
The Emona Citizen is a 145 cm high statue, slightly less than life size, of a young man of the Trajan period wearing a toga – a typical male garment of ancient Rome that could only be worn by free citizens. The entire column monument, composed of the column, capital and statue, was about five metres high and captured the attention of a traveller approaching Emona from the direction of Trojane (Latin: Atrans) from far away.
 
The original statue of the Emona Citizen can be seen at the Lapidarium of the National Museum of Slovenia, while the full-size reconstruction of the funerary monument's column is part of the permanent exhibition.
 
Here you can watch a short documentary on the famous statue. 
 
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IVORY DOLLS

These dolls are extremely rare examples of preserved ivory dolls from the Roman period. Their material and exquisite workmanship made them valuable even at the time they were made. They were placed in the tomb of a girl from a wealthy Emona family. These jointed figurines (movable shoulder, elbow, hip and knee joints) were most likely crafted in Rome itself and painted with vivid colours. The main indication as to the time they were made and used is their hairstyle, the hair combed back behind the ears and reaching the shoulders in the back.  
 
Much the same as today, the girls from the Roman period played with similar less valuable dolls made from terracotta, bones, wood, and wax. When they got married, girls gave their toys to deities thus they can only rarely be found in graves.
 
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