The famous bronze tablet contains the oldest surviving Senatorial decree in the Latin language. It prohibits the observance of the Bacchanalia festival, rites related to the cult of Dionysus/Bacchus. The mystery cult of Dionysus was celebrated in secret ceremonies and rituals. Festivals to honour the god sometimes led to ecstatic excesses, and the adherents of the cult were also accused of involvement in a conspiracy that threatened the state. This decree was designed to bring about the final dissolution of the cult of Bacchus. The present tablet is the only surviving copy of the edict, it also contains a command to announce the decree as well as its stipulations and penalties and to publish it in a readily accessible place. The tablet was found in 1640 during construction of a palace for the princes of Cigala in Tiriolo and was given a Baroque tortoise-shell frame that is inlaid with mother-of-pearl and gold. On the precious frame is a Latin dedication to Emperor Charles VI from the year 1727.
186 v. Chr.
Tiriolo , Kalabrien, Italien
27,3 cm × 28,5 cm × 0,4 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Antikensammlung
Antikensammlung, III 168
Kaiser Karl VI. (Geschenk 1727); Hofbibliothek; 1847 Übernahme
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