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Monte Albano, near Rome, are evidence of cremation having been practised at a very early date in Italy (eighth to seventh century B.c.). They served as receptacles for the ashes of the dead, and are an instance of the custom of making the last restingplace of the deceased as like as possible to his habitation during life. They represent rude wattled huts, in which the roof beams of rough branches can be clearly distinguished. The Etruscan tomb-chambers, one of which is shown in a picture in Case 59, furnish a later instance (seventh to sixth century B.C.) of sepulchres built in imitation of living-rooms. The Etruscan cinerary urns are distinguished by the frequent introduction of the portrait.
The “ Canopic "urns, which take the shape of jars roughly in the form of a human body and head, are especially noteworthy. The example illustrated (No. 548; fig. 238), probably of the seventh century B.C., has the face pierced with numerous holes, most likely for the attachment of a mask. Two Etruscan sepulchral masks (No. 549) in terracotta, of about the end of the sixth century B.C., are exhibited near the Canopic urn and are shown on either side of fig. 239. These remarkable masks are covered with incised designs, most likely of magic significance, intended to avert evil from the dead. A later funeral mask in bronze, of about the fourth century B.C. (No. 550 ; fig. 239, centre), was found with a skeleton in a tomb at Nola. It is perhaps the mask of a young warrior, who wears a helmet decorated with part of a
human face, again intended as a protection against evil spirits. A separate half-mask of this type is exhibited with this bronze
mask, and another will be found with the objects illustrating superstition in Case 106. In these masks we can see the innate Italian tendency to preserve the features of the dead, and we may perhaps recognise in them the origin of the waxen portrait masks of his ancestors which the Roman noble set up in his hall. The portrait is again found on the lid of the sixth century Etruscan funeral urn (No. 551; fig. 240) in the bottom of Case 59. Here a draped woman lies on a couch of elaborate form, decorated below with a relief of two lions devouring a bull. A kindred type of Etruscan funeral monument will be seen in the two large terracotta sarcophagi in the Terracotta Room.
With rare exceptions (conspicuously in the case of members of the noble families of the Cornelian house and all infants) the Romans, during the period of the Republic, burned their dead. This system continued under the early Empire, but gradually gave way to burial under the influence of Christianity
Several examples of Roman cinerary urns and sepulchral relief are here shown. These urns are of various shapes, but the altarform (No. 552; fig. 241) was specially favoured. The inscription gives the names of L. Dexius Clymenus and C. Sergius Alcimus. The latter, a child of three, is stated to have received his portion of corn on the tenth day at the office of distribution numbered XXXIX, a curious side-light on the practice of free distribution of corn under the Roman Empire, already noticed above (p. 10). Other Roman funeral urns which may be mentioned are the vase (No. 553) with the remains of L. Laelius Victor, a soldier of the fourteenth city cohort, and the alabaster caskets numbered 554 and 555. These urns of the wealthier classes were generally deposited in a vault underneath a monument placed at the side of one of the great roads leading from the city gates. Those, how
ever, who could not afford such expensive monuments subscribed for a joint tomb (columbarium), a large chamber containing in its walls numerous niches for the urns. An interesting tablet (No. 556) in Case 62 throws light on the arrangements adopted in the case of these joint tombs. It is inscribed with the name of P. Sontius Philostorgus and marked the niche in which the urn containing his ashes was placed. The inscription reads : “Lot I, position III.” From other inscriptions of the same character it appears that the niches were arranged in five horizontal rows of thirty-six, and that each of the members of the burial club was allotted one place in each of the five rows.
Another noteworthy monument is (No. 557) an inscribed relief of the first century B.C., belonging to Aurelius Hermia, a butcher from the Viminal hill, and his wife Aurelia Philematio(n), who are
CSERGIV ETIAUIM seen clasping hands (fig.
Dievs TRIGVS 242). The husband praises
FRVMENTVM ACCEDIT the virtues of his wife,
DIEX.OSTIO XXXIX and the wife those of her
SERGIVSALCIMVEEVOZ husband, her fellow-freedman, who had been more than a father to her. The verses bear striking evidence of affectionate rela
Fig. 241.–ROMAN FUNERAL URN (No. 552). tions prevailing between
Ht. 1 ft. 54 ins. husband and wife in a humble sphere at a time when conjugal fidelity was not highly valued among the upper classes at Rome. Other interesting inscriptions from tombstones are No.558, on a hunting dog named Margarita, a great favourite with her master and mistress, who died in giving birth to puppies, and No. 559, which sheds light on the memorial ceremonies after burial. A testator here leaves seven twenty-fourths of the rent accruing from a block of flats to his freedmen and freedwomen, on condition that they celebrate his memory four times in the year--on his birthday, the Day of Roses, the Day of Violets, and the feast of the Parentalia, the last the Roman All Souls Day, held publicly in February, but privately on
period. They have been so thoroughly preserved in the dry are an instance of offerings at tombs belonging to the Roman
The funeral wreaths from Hawara (Cases 57, 58; No. 560)
the three dividing days of each month. was to be placed on the tomb on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides the anniversary of the day of death. A lighted lamp, with incense,
VIVA THILEMATIVM SVM
A VRELIA NOMINITATA
NESCIA FEIDA VIRO
VIR CONLEIBERTVS PVN
A DRIDVOLGEDA IZ