HSAR 252 - Lecture 10 - Accessing Afterlife: Tombs of Roman Aristocrats, Freedmen, and Slaves

Lecture 10 - Accessing Afterlife: Tombs of Roman Aristocrats, Freedmen, and Slaves

Overview

Professor Kleiner explores sepulchral architecture in Rome commissioned by the emperor, aristocrats, successful professionals, and former slaves during the age of Augustus. Unlike most civic and residential buildings, tombs serve no practical purpose other than to commemorate the deceased and consequently assume a wide variety of personalized and remarkable forms. The lecture begins with the round Mausoleum of Augustus, based on Etruscan precedents and intended to house the remains of Augustus and the new Julio-Claudian dynasty. Professor Kleiner also highlights two of Rome's most unusual funerary structures: the pyramidal Tomb of Gaius Cestius, an aristocrat related to Marcus Agrippa, and the trapezoidal Tomb of Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces, probably a former slave who made his fortune overseeing the baking and public distribution of bread for the Roman army. Professor Kleiner concludes the lecture with a brief discussion of tombs for those with more modest means, including extensive subterranean columbaria. She also turns briefly to the domed thermal baths at Baia, part of an ancient spa and a sign of where concrete construction would take the future of Roman architecture.

Resources


The lectures in HSAR 252 are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection, along with others from a variety of sources, especially Wikimedia Commons, Google Earth, and Yale University Press. Some plans and views have been redrawn for this project.

Assignment

Claridge, Amanda. Rome, pp. 181-184 (Mausoleum of Augustus), 319 (Via Appia), 341-342 (Tomb of Caecilia Metella), 358-361 (Tomb of Eurysaces), 364-366 (Tomb of Cestius)

Ward-Perkins, John B. Roman Imperial Architecture, pp. 167-168

Course Media

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