Friday, November 20, 2009

A Funerary Club & a Columbarium

We sometimes forget that ancient society was rather tough. One testimony to the harsh climate of the time is that a lot of people formed funerary clubs. The concept was simple: pay a monthly fee and you'll get a proper burial.

Quite a number of people could join such a club (collegia) and one way to ensure that they all could be buried was to construct a columbarium (literally pigeon house).

A columbarium in Ostia (B8, seen from the south). Notice the small niches, each one designed for a ash urn.

[M(arco) Antonio Hiber]o P(ublio) Mummio Sisenna co(n)s(ulibus) Kal(endis) Ian(uariis) collegium salutare Dianae / et Antinoi constitutum [...]

The first of January, during the consulate of Marcus Biberos Hiberus and Publius Mummius Sisenna [133 A.D] was Dianas and Antonius funeral club founded[...]

ILS 7212 (inscription from Lanuvio/Lanuvium)
Translated by Patrik Klingborg

No comments: