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Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine

 | 
Arthur Muller
, 
Ergün Laflı

2.1. Bâtiments privés et publics

Terracotta Figurines from the Hellenistic Bath Complex in the Agora of Thessaloniki

Figurines en terre cuite du complexe balnéaire hellénistique de l’agora de Thessalonique

Elektra Zografou

Résumé

In the Hellenistic Balneary, which has been discovered in the southeast corner of Thessaloniki’s Roman Agora, has been identified, among others, a two-storey tavern. Through the study of artefacts and architectural remains emerges the conclusion that at the ground floor the owners of the tavern kept their supplies, prepared and served food and drink to the customers, while it is evident that these activities were accompanied by small-scale theatricals and dancing. The upper storey was divided into small separate rooms, where sexual services were presented. Among the most representative finds that led to the identification of the rooms are the three hundred or so fragments of terracotta figurines. They include a great number of theatrical masks of all theatrical genres, which were primarily meant for active use. Terracotta figurines presenting gladiators, a child riding a cock, puppets, cradles, eagles, statuettes of Aphrodite, Athena, Great Mother Goddess and her consort Attis, young Telesphoros, Sirens, Medusas’ and other apotropaic symbols, operate as a source of information about their cultic preferences, their prejudices and superstitions, and even their toys.

Le complexe balnéaire mis au jour à l’angle Sud-Est de l’agora romaine de Thessalonique comportait une taverne à deux étages. Au rez-de-chaussée on stockait les denrées et préparait les repas ; c’est là aussi que les clients mangeaient et buvaient, activités qui s’accompagnaient de petits spectacles de théâtre et de danses. L’étage était divisé en petites chambres individuelles destinées à des prestations sexuelles. Dans le mobilier qui a permis de reconnaître les fonctions des différents espaces, près de trois cents fragments de figurines de terre cuite : parmi eux un grand nombre de masques relevant de tous les genres théâtraux, destinés à l’origine à un emploi effectif. Des figurines de gladiateurs, un enfant chevauchant un coq, des poupées et berceaux, des aigles, Aphrodite, Athéna, la Grande Mère et son suivant Attis, Télésphoros, des Sirènes, des Méduses et autres symboles apotropaïques témoignent des préférences cultuelles et superstitions des clients et mêmes de leurs jeux.

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Extrait du texte

In the southeast corner of Thessaloniki’s Roman agora1 a Greek-type Hellenistic bath complex2 was found (fig. 1) that dates from the 2nd century BC until the end of the reign of Vespasian (AD 78). Unfortunately, its position in the contemporary city prohibits anything more than a partial exploration of the monument. As a result, while five separate areas have been identified, a clear picture emerges only of two: the laconicum, or steam room, a circle-in-square chamber fitted with 25 built-in tubs, and the two-storey tavern to the north. The close connection between these two areas, which were apparently destroyed by fire,3 is confirmed by the communicating doorway and the continuous mosaic flooring.

Fig. 1. – Plan of the Balneary’s Complex in the southeast corner of Thessaloniki’s Roman Agora.

Image

After Adam-Veleni 1998, plan 1.

The tavern,4 as was customary, marks the end of an insula – in this case the northern end, although the street door seems to have been on the east side. The variet...

Auteur

Ministry of Culture, 28th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Serres, Greece.

© Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2015

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