Posts Tagged ‘Roman tombstones’

The Great Northern Museum in Newcastle has a very good collection of Roman tombs and tombstones. Many of these have come from the area of Hadrians Wall and give us an insight into the variety of people serving there and where they originated in the empire.

Some of these give us textual descriptions of the people they commemorate, whilst other also include pictorial representations of the person and their trade.

There also some fine examples of stone sarcophagi.

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The god Sol, here carved in the fashion of a Celtic Sun God or a classical Gorgon. The Romans often incorporated local gods or interpretations into the Roman pantheon as a way of binding the peoples of the Empire together.

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The god Mithras, a favourite of the Roman soldiers. The cult of Mithras was for men only and they met in temples which resembled caves.

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A statue of Animanes, the devil who fought with Mithras. His lion head is unfortunately missing. This was commissioned by Volusius Iraenaeus after Animanes had aided him in some unspecified venture.

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This is an altar to Serapis, an Egyptian god who was a favourite of the Emperor Septimus Severus. This alter indicates the flexibility of the Roman religious system which allowed for God’s from all over the Empire to be incorporated, and worshipped. This alter was set up by Claudius Hieronymianus, the legate (commanding officer) of the sixth legion

These tombstones can all be seen in the Museum of Yorkshire.

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This is the tombstone of Cornelia Optata. She was only 13 years old when she died. This tombstone was set up by her distraught father. We can gain some insight into his distress in the inscription ‘following the brief light of life, sire of an innocent daughter, I, a pitiable victim of unfair hope, bewail her final end’

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The tombstone of Simplicia Florentina, a 10-month-old daughter of a Roman soldier serving in the garrison at York

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The tombstone of Lucius Duccius Rufinus, a 28-year-old soldier from France. He held the honoured position of standard-bearer of the ninth Legion.

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The tombstone of Aelia Aeliana. This tombstone is rather unusual as it is rare or such to display a scene of love and tenderness between a couple.

These examples can all be seen in the Museum of Yorkshire.

The inscriptions on Roman tombstones can often give us information about the people who lived and worked in the city

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The tombstone of Decimina, daughter of Decimius

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The tombstone of Arciaco, a Roman centurion who public came from northern Italy. His tombstone gives equal honour to his own personal god and to the divine emperor.

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This coffin is something of a mystery. According to the inscription, it was the coffin of Julia Fortuna of Sardinia. However, the skeleton inside was that of a male, suggesting that the tomb may have been reused at some later date than the original burial to house a second body.

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This is the tomb of a blacksmith. The image shows him at work in his forge.

these tombstones can all be seen in the Museum of Yorkshire