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Roman
Cinerary urn, mid 1st century B.C., marble.
Gift of R. C. Ballard Thruston and Mrs. S. Thruston Ballard 1929.17.306 a,b

It was common practice in 1st century Rome to cremate the remains of the deceased and store the ashes in decorative marble urns. In this case the inscription tells us that the name of the deceased was Lucius Aedinius Rogatus, a member of a respectable equestrian family, and that he served in the sixth cohort of the elite Praetorian Guard. He died after nine years of active service at the age of twenty-nine. The urn is decorated with two rams’ heads on either side of the inscription. The ram’s head was a common motif and a symbol of good fortune. There are also two eagles at the lower corners of the urn and another holding a snake in its mouth below the inscription. Eagles were a popular symbol among legionary soldiers. The lid of the urn resembles the pediment of a Roman temple and is decorated with stylized palm fronds and the image of two birds feeding.

 

 

 
 
 


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