“Caesar, in order to win Ilerda, left Marsilia and headed towards Ispagna.” This is how Lleida appears in the Comedy by Dante Alighieri. It is the XVIII song of Purgatory of the universal work of the Florentine poet who died on September 14 (1321). Chance has it that this Thursday, another September 14, the Museum of Lleida inaugurated the exhibition Romans a Ponent. Ilerda, Iesso, Aeso.
The exhibition explains the Romanization of Ponent 2,100 years ago through 152 pieces found in excavations in the last thirty years, about 130 from the sites of Lleida (Ilerda), Guissona (Iesso) and Isona (Aeso) and the rest in other towns. leridanas.
Xavier Payà, archaeologist at the Arxiu Arqueològic of Lleida and curator of the exhibition, highlights the epigraphic collection: “We have six pedestals, a funerary altar and a tombstone that take us directly to the lives of those people who walked or lived or were born in our cities. . “We have never been able to have these inscriptions and bring them together in an exhibition.” And he adds: “There are some that are moving, like that of a mother who mourns the death of her daughter, unjustly called by the gods at the age of eleven.”
We have six pedestals, a funerary altar and a tombstone that take us directly into the lives of those people who walked or lived or were born in our cities
The exhibition has allowed unpublished pieces to be restored for the first time and presented, such as the Pompeian mill found on a plot of land on Francesc Macià Avenue in Lleida, which in the words of Payà “were in the purest oblivion.”
Josep Guitart, also curator of the exhibition and archaeologist from the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, highlighted that in Guissona a water table has been permanently preserved for the last 2,000 years that has made it possible to find wooden elements, including the cube found in a well in 2017 that can be seen in the exhibition.
The marble fragment from the lining of the Ilerda thermal baths from the 2nd century, a lead drain from a pipe from Ieso from between the 1st and 2nd centuries, a glass ointment jar from the 4th century from Llorís (Aeso), a medusa head from the Roman villa of Romeral de Albesa, a volcanic stone mill found in Lleida or a funerary altar from between the 2nd and 3rd centuries in Tarragona are some of the archaeological gems that can be seen until January 14.
It could not have been done without the collaboration of the Arxiu Arqueològic de Lleida, the Museu de Guissona and the Museu de la Conca Dellà de Isona
The 152 pieces come from 18 different institutions, including the Museum of Arles, the Museum of Toulouse, the Museum of Zaragoza, the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona, the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya or the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It has taken three and a half years to be able to compile all this material that “to date has never had such a presence”, according to the director of the Museum of Lleida, Josep Giralt. “It could not have been done without the collaboration of the Arxiu Arqueològic de Lleida, the Museu de Guissona and the Museu de la Conca Dellà de Isona,” he added.
For this exhibition, the Museum of Lleida has made a virtual restitution of what the cities of Ilerda, Iesso and Aeso must have been like in Roman times based on the elements excavated from the sites. Josep Giralt has pointed out that in the images there is “imagination and interpretation” but they allow us to give an idea of what these three cities would have been like 21 centuries ago. “These images – he says – allow us to unify the three cities that coexisted at the same time, leading the social, economic and cultural life of that time in the Lleida district.”
The Museum of Lleida has organized parallel activities around the exhibition, including gastronomic nights, guided tours, routes through the city’s Roman remains, family visits with the video game The treasure of the Medusa and conferences and outings to Guissona and Isona.