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Lower Danube: Silistra Tomb painting of a male servant (4c AD)


In the north and south panels of the Silistra tomb, individualized portraits of male and female servants are shown carrying garments and toiletries to the heads of the family. The servants include people who appear to be Goths, such as the man shown (fig.1).

There are two somewhat differing views on the dating of the late antique Silistra tomb. D. P. Dimitrov and M. Chichikova date the structure to the last quarter of the 4th century. Based on the style of mural painting, however, Drs. V. Popova and J. Valeva prefer an earlier date in the fourth or fifth decade of the 4th century, on the grounds that such an elaborate example of tomb architecture would have appeared unlikely after the disastrous Gothic invasion of AD 376-378. That event severely ravaged the region, ushering in years of disorder and economic collapse.

[Fig.1: Male servant, middle field on north wall (Silistra Historical Museum, archives).]

[plan of the tomb: ]    [general view of tomb paintings:]


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