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SOLIMARIACA or Solicia, Soulousse-sous-Saint-Elophe, Vosges, France.

A way station along the great Langres-Trier road, at the crossing of the small river Vair. In antiquity two names were applied to the site. Solimariaca (Antonine Itinerary) and vicani Solimariacenses (CIL XIII, 4681, 4683) may be the name of the establishment of Celtic origin on the hilltop, whereas Solicia (vicus Soliciae: CIL XIII, 4679) may designate the valley settlement. Several campaigns of excavation were conducted on the site between 1822 and 1890. Of particular note was a small rectangular fort of the 4th c., built to control the river crossing. Its walls were built of disparate elements, among others reused funerary stelae, now kept at the Epinal museum. This museum has other monuments found at various times in the gardens and fields of the village. One such find is a piece of an altar dated precisely to 27 June 232; it bears the names of Alexander Severus (erased) and his mother, with a dedication to the tutelary spirit of the pagus (CIL XIII, 4679). Two votive monuments are dedicated to Mercury and his cult associate, Rosmerta. A stela depicts Mercury standing in a niche. An altar depicts the mallet-god and, below, busts of the seven gods of the week. Numerous funerary monuments depict a married couple, or scenes of family life, or motifs recalling the profession of the deceased; several bear an ascia. The Metz museum, for its part, has acquired 22 funerary stelae. Another, depicting three human figures, can be seen encased in the wall above the S door of the village church. In 1856 a mosaic (16 m square) was uncovered, and in 1890 a Roman edifice with an apse, possibly a basilica; today no trace remains of either. The majority of the finds (coins and artifacts of bone, bronze, iron, glass, and pottery) are deposited in the Epinal museum. The Musée Lorrain at Nancy has acquired an ivory statuette of Apollo.

In 1958 public works led to the discovery of several carved stones. Among these were a large stela depicting Rosmerta carrying a libation cup and a cornucopia, and a capital with a sculpted head leaning against it, no doubt part of a funerary monument. In 1966 a test pit dug a little outside the village at the locality called La Potière brought to light the foundations of a villa. There were two cellars (perhaps used as sanctuaries); they yielded a fairly large assemblage of finds: a piece of a limestone table, earthenware tumblers, a dolium, a small bronze vase, and a small bronze bust of a divinity. The building seems to have been destroyed in the invasions of the second half of the 3d c. and was never reoccupied later on.

Also in 1966 excavation inside the village led to the discovery of two milestones, broken in situ, but complete. They were erected, apparently in 321, in honor of the two sons of Constantine the Great, the Caesars Flavius Crispus and Flavius Claudius Constantinus. The distance indicated on them (VIII leugae) still has not been interpreted satisfactorily.


J.B.P. Jollois, Mémoires sur quelques antiquités remarquables du département des Vosges (1843) 57-68, pls. XVII-XXMPI; M. Toussaint, “Soulosse et ses antiquités gallo-romaines” in Pays Lorrain (1935) 529-45MI; id., Répertoire archéologique Vosges (1948) 56-74; R. Billoret, “Découverte de deux bornes milliaires à Soulosse (Vosges),” Rev. arch. de l'Est et du Centre-Est 20 (1969) 219-33MI; 30 (1972).


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