Aedicula Tombs and Statues in Rome: Reconsidering the Monument of Eurysaces


This article revisits the well-known monument of Eurysaces in the context of the Roman funerary landscape. By focusing on its structure and original context, our research demonstrates that the monument, far from being a unicum, instead conformed to contemporary commemorative practices and was in many ways typical. Analysis of comparable monuments and funerary areas, as well as characterization of the concrete used, indicates that the monument of Eurysaces was originally an aedicula tomb with a superstructure, now missing. This reconstruction allows for a more convincing and traditional positioning of the relief images known as “Eurysaces and his wife” at the crowning level of this structure. While our research focuses on the monument of Eurysaces, an important and unexpected result has been the likely identification of several full-length portrait reliefs whose distinctive features suggest that they belong to a previously unrecognized corpus in Rome: aedicular statues. This designation explains the characteristics differentiating them from freestanding statues and helps fill the lacuna of evidence for Rome’s once robust group of funerary structures and ornamentation. The identification of these aedicular statues, in turn, reiterates the fact that aedicula tombs were once popular in the city’s funerary landscape, as they were across the Roman empire.

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