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Bill Thayer

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 p479  Sepulchrum Eurysacis

Article on p479 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

Black-and‑white images are from Platner; any color photos are mine © William P. Thayer

[image ALT: A small stone structure, in the form of a rectangular box on its end, about 8 meters tall. The lower story is partially faced with large vertical cylinders, and the upper includes 9 circular portholes — two of them filled with weeds — on the side facing us, and 6 that can be made out on the shorter side to the left. It is the Tomb of Eurysaces in Rome.]

The S face of the tomb. Left foreground, that sliver of white travertine stone belongs to the Porta Praenestina (Porta Maggiore).

Sepulchrum Eurysacis: the tomb of M. Vergilius Eurysaces, a baker, built apparently about the end of the republic, in the angle formed by the bifurcation of the via Praenestina and the via Labicana, just outside the arches of the aqua Claudia, which afterwards became the porta Praenestina of the Aurelian wall. It is trapezoidal, measuring 8.75, 6.85, 5.80 and 4.05 metres on its sides, of concrete with travertine facing. This facing takes the form of horizontal and vertical cylinders in rows, which possibly are designed to represent measures for grain or vessels for mixing dough (Mitt. 1886, 47). Above these cylinders is a cornice, and a frieze covered with reliefs representing the various operations of breadmaking. At the corners are pilasters, and the inscription is repeated on all sides of the monument (CIL I2.1203‑1205 = VI.1958: est hoc monimentum Marcei Vergilei Eurysacis pistoris redemptoris: apparet1). The meaning of the last word is uncertain;​a it is certainly a verb, probably in the sense apparet magistratibus (CIL I2 cit.). The inscription of Atistia, no doubt his wife, was also found (CIL I2.1206 = VI.1958).​2 When Honorius restored the wall of Aurelian he erected two towers outside the Porta Praenestina (q.v.), one of which stood over this tomb, and concealed it from view. It must, however, have been partially accessible from the interior, for the inscriptions were partly read in the sixteenth century (CIL cit.; LS III.158; PBS I.150). The towers were removed in 1838 and the tomb exposed to view, but the east side is almost wholly demolished (Jord. I.1.358; Grifi, Brevi cenni di un monumento scoperto a Porta Maggiore, 1838; Ann. d. Inst. 1838, 202‑248; 1841, 123; Bull. d. Inst. 1838, 165‑169; Reber 532‑533; Caetani-Lovatelli, NA, 1 July 1908, 1‑11 = Passeggiate nella Roma antica 151‑176; Homo, Aurélien 248‑249; Rostowzew, Social and Economic History, 32).

The Authors' Notes:

1 — This punctuation is adopted in Thes. LL.; cf. Plaut. Cist. 696.

2 Mr. I. A. Richmond has noticed the letters P L over the door.

Thayer's Note: CIL I2.1206 reads: fuit Atistia uxor mih et | femina opituma veixsit | quoius corporis reliquae | quod [sic] superant sunt in | hoc panario.

Thayer's Note:

a More accurately, nothing could be less certain; Platner's fix is by no means accepted, and the meaning of apparet has been puzzled over by generations of scholars. For those of you with the Laterza Archaeological Guide in hand, their translation apparitore is unwarranted; tending to this conclusion several brief discussions were once to be found in the archives of the ROMARCH-L list, but like many other things in the now shrinking Web, they have disappeared.

It seems safe to say that anyone who chose to be buried in a sort of replica of a bread oven, and flatly says that his wife's ashes are in the bread oven (panario) must have been quite eccentric; apparet was probably some kind of inside joke. Hodie, non apparet.

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Page updated: 5 Jun 20