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  • image Image 2 for M421
  • image Image 1 for M421
  • image Image 2 for M421

A Roman double funerary urn (cinerarium) wtih separate lid

Pentelic marble

Height: 35cm
Height (excluding lid): 26cm
Width (lid): 47.5cm
Length (lid): 34.5cm

Museum number: M421

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 332help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Between incised fillet mouldings at the front upper corners, either side of the name plates, are carved ram's heads. A garland hanging from each one meets the horns of an Ammon mask between them. Within the garlands, below the moulding around the name plates, are pendant geese with wings spread and necks bent. At the bottom centre, a Grecian sphinx faces left, with forepaws on a ram's head; at each lower corner is an eagle and a bird pecking at the garlands. The sides of the urn are carved with stylized palmettes; within each of the two pediments of the lid is pair of doves.

Left name plate:

Right name plate:

The family of which this couple were liberti was quite distinguished at several periods in Roman Imperial history. An L. Pontius was Praetor Urbanus in 20 AD; in the Flavian era a Pontius was a friend of the younger Pliny and was the recipient of three of his Epistles (V, 14; VI, 28 and VII, 4). According to information supplied by Dr. John Morris of University College, London from an unpublished Cypriote inscription, it appears that the father of this Pontius was a Proconsul. Finally, there are two L. Pontii mentioned in the early third century Album of Canusium (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, IX, 338) who must be presumed to have held offices under the later Severans. The word CHRESTE indicates that she was a Greek liberta.

Provenance help-art-provenance

From Rome.


Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (C.I.L.), VI, iv.1, 24731.

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