Bronze Tablet (enforcing the law of hospitality)

UnknownRoman, July 11th, 152 BCE

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

This bronze tablet inscribed in Latin is important evidence for Roman laws concerning hospitality. The Greeks too recorded the texts of contracts and other legal documents on bronze tablets, transcribing them verbatim so as to make them visible to everyone and to ensure their longevity. Like many other tablets, this one is crowned with a triangular pediment that takes after temple architecture. Marks on the edges of the tablet indicate that it was worked separately from a decorative frame that was later soldered on. As in other similar tablets, palmette acroteria likely decorated the peak and corners of the pediment. [... ] The very carefully inscribed text is divided into two parts, each of which begins with the date and the name of the eponymous consul – allowing the tablet to be dated to an exact year and day. Both parts present a contract between two families of the Asturian branch of the Zoelae clan, the Desonci and Tridiavi, establishing a hereditary right to hospitality for both parties.

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  • Title: Bronze Tablet (enforcing the law of hospitality)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Roman, July 11th, 152 BCE
  • Provenance: The piece is known to have been in Spain already in the seventeenth century. In 1698 it came to Berlin to join the collection of the electoral prince of Brandenburg, who had acquired the important antiquities in the collection of the Roman art scholar Giovan Pietro Bellori (1613–1696) to which this item belonged.
  • Type: Bronze Tablet
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Inv. no.: Fr. 2501
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External Link: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Johannes Laurentius || Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, The Antikensammlung: Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Pergamonmuseum, A publication of the Antikensammlung of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin edited by Agnes Schwarzmaier, Andreas Scholl, and Martin Maischberger, p. 281, || Text: Norbert Franken, Translation: Stephanie Pearson.
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz