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Grave-slab of Gundebebius

 

Width: 24.000 cm

M&ME OA 9295

Prehistory and Europe

    Grave-slab of Gundebebius

    Hispano-Visigothic, 6th-7th century AD
    Found at the Roman site of Itálica, near Seville, Spain

    A fashionable Visigoth

    This marble grave-slab consists of a re-used, Roman architectural fragment. It may have been set into a wall, or placed at the head of a grave. The slab is simply inscribed in Latin, beginning with a Germanic name after a cross: 'GVNDEBEBIVS FAMVLVS DEI VIXIT ANNOS PL[VS MINVS ...]', ('Gundebebius, servant of God, lived ... years').

    Both the cross and the wording of the inscription show that the deceased was a Christian. The Visigoths adhered to the early Arian heresy until their conversion to Catholicism in 589 under King Reccared, following the Third Council of Toledo.

    It is notable that the language of the inscription is Latin, not Gothic: Roman schools survived as the Visigoths became assimilated by the local population. Some native inhabitants, possibly like the man commemorated here, also adopted Germanic names as they became fashionable. But, as the name is so unusual, it is more likely he was a Visigoth and, possibly, from a ruling family settled there.

    O.M. Dalton, Catalogue of Early Christian a (London, British Museum, 1901)

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