The archaeologists from the team of Assoc. Prof. Lyudmil Vagalinski found another confirmation, that in Heraclea Sintica, a very sanctified and visited sanctuary existed, the one of the goddess of the swift retribution Nemesis. It is the only one that is being studied on the territory of Bulgaria.
The newly discovered fragment is one of the largest and the most crafted votive plate, found on the site so far. On the preserved 24 cm piece from it can be judged, that the whole was about 40 cm high, to 35 cm in width and certainly made of quality marble 6 cm thick. It was not easy to break, but that’s what the early Christians did, when they invaded the pagan sanctuary just before the great earthquake of the 4th century. Unlike other fragments, however, this was not found within the sanctuary’s boundaries, but outside, dropped into the forum and then buried in debris. The quake probably collapsed the buildings around literally days after the attack on the sanctuary, experts suggest. Whether survivors have accepted it as a punishment, sent by the angry Nemesis?
It might have happened that way, and this has further exacerbated the conflict between the Christians and the Pagans in Heraclea Sintica. The fact that the cult of Nemesis had long-lasting roots there, suggests the inscription of the newly discovered tile. The ancient languages specialist Nikolay Sharankov already read the few preserved words in old Greek: “…dedicate, as he promised in his prayers…”. The name of the person at the beginning of the sentence is missing, but it’s clear that it’s a “thank-you” formula. It was used when people prayed to Nemesis to punish their enemies, and waited for the retribution to overtake them.
And on this fragment the goddess holds the scales and stands on a lying figure – probably the same girl, symbolizing sin, as in the other pieces of tiles found so far. Gladiator attributes are not missing – helmet and a short sword, close to which is the saved inscription. From the fabrication and repeating iconography of the image can be judged, that this tile was made in the same local workshop as the rest, considers Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vagalinski. According to him it is certain that in the most important city of Middle Struma in Antiquity had been held the favorite in the whole Roman Empire – gladiatorial games.