Saturday, May 21, 2022
Marcus Aurelius in Yorkshire: the Ryedale Hoard
Yorkshire Museum.groma. The Romans were a little obsessed with surveying. The word "groma" was also used for the center point of a military camp or town, laid out working from that point. The building of perfectly rectangular camps and perfectly straight roads was a symbol of Roman power; surveying the land was part of ruling it. You could imagine that this might lend magical associations to surveying, and that surveying instruments might end up being used for divination or casting spells. Sadly I can't find any evidence that this was so. But it certainly makes sense that a groma might be part of the gear deposited in a temple to a warrior emperor like Marcus Aurelius.