In late antiquity, the Romans put their personal success and fame on display beyond death. Imposing stone monuments with richly decorated reliefs and inscriptions seamed the arterial roads of Roman cities and settlements.
Today, the funerary monuments still display vividly how the deceased had come to wealth and grandeur. For instance, this can be seen in the case of the “Neumagener Weinschiff” (wine ship of Neumagen), a huge funeral monument with which a rich wine trader from Noviomagum (Neumagen) sought to eternalize himself with. The wine ship funerary monument dates back to 220 AD. Originally, it consisted of two wine ships, which were connected by a pyramid of amphorae. The hulls of both ships are loaded with four wine casks each. The bow is decorated with a pair of eyes and there is a ram in front. Frightening dragon heads rise at the bow and at the stern. All these symbols were meant to repel dangers and enemies. The crew consists of 7 sailors and one helmsman. 22 oars indicate the original manning of Roman ships. The second ship, of which only the stern is preserved, shows a portrait of the “Fröhlicher Steuermann” (jolly helmsman), a character whose knowing smile is merry with wine, resting his round bearded head on a wine barrel in order to listen to the bubbling. This coxswain became a world famous symbol for the indulgence of wine. The “Neumagener Weinschiff” and many other relief and inscription stones were built into the foundations of a Roman fort, which was erected by Emperor Constantine for protection against the incursion of Germanic peoples in the 1st half of the 4th century.