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Cassia Maxima’s Funerary Urn

© J.-F. Peiré
© J.-F. Peiré
During Roman times, the treatment of the body could be carried out in diverse ways.
Incineration was favored by the majority. The body was burned under a pyre, and the deceased’s ashes were collected in an urn which could have been made of terra cotta, stone, or glass.
The urn would include a cover or could be closed with a plate or a fragment of a vase. The terra cotta and glass receptacles would then be placed in a stone chest often carrying an inscription.
This chest not only protects the urns but also the objects left as offerings, such as perfume flasks, which would accompany the deceased on her last voyage.
Cassia Maxima’s urn depicts the deceased girl lying on a bed ready to participate in the funerary banquet which brings her family together around her tomb. The inscription is framed by two rams’ heads tied together with a thick garland that passes under her deathbed. The urn’s lower corners have depictions of two birds tuning their heads to Cassia Maxima. The triangular-shaped lid is decorated with a low-relief of a wolf attacking a sheep, the symbol of a sudden death.
As in many funerary inscriptions, the text begins with the letters DM, abbreviation of Diis Manibus which translates as “to the manes.” The manes were divinities symbolizing the spirits of the dead, including the deceased’s ancestors.
The text teaches us that the urn was ordered by Cassia Maxima’s father, Lucius Pompeius, for his sweet daughter.
Cassia Maxima’s Funerary Urn
Inv. 91.1.2
Possibly from Rome during the last third of the first century.
To the manes. Lucius Pompeius made this urn for his sweet daughter Cassia Maxima.”
Lu 506 fois

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