The Roman Period

The lapidarium on the ground floor contains a rich collection of stone monuments from the period of Roman rule. The most numerous among these are funerary monuments that bear the names and other data regarding the lives of the inhabitants of the Roman colony of Pula, and they are exhibited on the ground floor corridor. On display in Hall I are the more prominent funerary, honorary and votive monuments from nearby Nesactium, from the territory of the colony of Parentium (the present-day Poreč), and from other locations in eastern and northern Istria. Votive monuments dedicated to emperors, Roman and Histrian deities, as well as sections of architectonic decoration, capitals, architraves and cornices that were collected in Pula, are shown in Halls II and III. Featured in Hall IV are funerary monuments dedicated to prominent citizens, priests of the imperial cult and soldiers, as well as reliefs with depictions of arms. On the walls of the staircase and in the corridors on the upper floors are selected monuments decorated in relief. Located on the first floor corridor are sections of the forum enclosure together with the column bases; these bases are decorated with reliefs showing the bearded head of Jupiter-Amon with ram horns, whereas the partition slabs feature depictions of the marine deity Triton, and pairs of eagles and erotes carrying garlands richly decorated with fruits, cones and leaves. Limestone statuary that belonged to the vanished, lavish, temple-shaped funerary structures, is exhibited on the corridor of the second floor. Sections of statues that adorned the temples and other public buildings in the colony of Pola are likewise displayed there.

Smaller objects that reflect the culture of the period of Roman rule in Istria are located in halls on the first floor. The first hall gives a brief presentation of the Roman city of Pula together with the corresponding communal territory, as well as a display of finds that are characteristic for Roman graves from the 1st and 2nd centuries. A selection of Roman coins, exhibited in chronological order from the early republican period to the end of the empire, can be seen in the wall showcase. Roman coins from the 1st to the 5th century always carry a portrait of the emperor or a member of his family on the obverse side, which was depicted in profile initially, and with a face as seen from the front from the 3rd century onwards. Depicted on the reverse side were symbols of ideological and political programs, often personified with a figure of a young woman. There is a particularly noteworthy marble slab that displays a decree by the city council of the Roman colony of Pula, concerning the allocation of public space to a meritorious citizen for his religious services, which features the full formal name of the Roman city.

Exhibited in the second hall is a selection of marble decorations and statuary, as well as objects used in everyday life: iron implements, pottery tableware, bronze ware and oil lamps, jewelry and items of attire, cosmetic accessories made of bone, glass balsamaria, vases and grave urns. Hanging on the walls are reproductions of etchings from the end of the 18th century, showing Pula at the time, together with its most attractive monuments.

Examples of Roman kitchenware, jugs and amphorae, oil lamps and roof tegulae featuring workshop stamps, are on exhibit in the third hall. The production of pottery in Istria can be corroborated with moulds used in the manufacture of oil lamps, and the discovery of a pottery kiln at Fažana, where amphorae and roof tegulae were made that were equipped with stamps of the workshop proprietors, members of the senatorial dynasty of Lecanius Bassus, and of their workshop managers. Also on display in the same hall are different modes of tiling floors, as well as pottery and lead conduits, and a reconstructed Roman anchor.

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