The Columbarium. The funerary landscape

Columbario Pulse para ampliar Columbario. Sala 21, vitrina 21.6

Roman HispaniaSalto de línea

Hispano-Romans saw death as an everyday occurrence and believed it was contagious, which explains why cemeteries were located outside the city. Everyone, even the poorest of the poor, took pains to ensure that they were buried and had a tomb, but there were different burial rituals: cremation and inhumation.

More or less sumptuous, a wide variety of individual, family and collective monuments were erected in the necropolises. When the chosen burial ritual was cremation, the most common until the end of the second century, the corpse was carried to the cemetery by a procession and placed on the pyre surrounded by personal objects and offerings. Once the fire had devoured everything, the ashes were collected, washed with wine and stored in an urn. These cinerary urns could be made of glass, lead or marble according to the economic level of the deceased and they were deposited in niches within constructions called columbaria, as collective funerary monuments. In many of them, the name and age of the deceased was shown in plaques.

It was also common to mark the tombs with altars, memorial stones and stellas. In the inscriptions were listed the dedication to Manes deities, the name of the deceased and some of the most outstanding features of his public or private life. Some are quite moving, like the epitaph for "Cartilia Pantoclia, darling girl, who lived three years, four months and two days. Candidianus and Emerita dedicate this monument to their dearly missed daughter. Here she lies, may the earth lie light upon you."