Roman Funerary Architecture: Noble Classes

Roman Funerary Architecture: Noble Classes
Roman Funerary Architecture: Noble Classes
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In previous posts we had already analyzed the Roman funerary architecture of the popular classes, but this time we will focus on the burials of the Roman nobles and patricians since the social and economic condition of the Romans it also showed great differences in the forms of burial. Just as it happens with sculpture, the Romans adopted from the Etruscans the taste for monumentality and, nevertheless, they knew how to apply their own characteristics and adapt it to their needs.

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Throughout the 6th century B.C. appeared the first tombs of the noble families that followed the Etruscan parameters in two different typologies, the dice or rectangular type tombs and the circular type burial mounds. Be that as it may, both presented the characteristics of a house, that is, a room, often with a lintel or vaulted ceiling with a false vault and covered by frescoes.

During the republican era the mound-type burial was very popular, but at this time cremation was introduced so that these were developed as if they were underground columbariums and, therefore, the sarcophagus gave way to the small pots crowded the walls. Gradually and as the Roman empire expanded, the Roman people began to adopt the same customs of those they were subjugating, and in the 3rd century B.C. the first mausoleum appearedRoman monument from the hand of one of the most outstanding families of the time, the Cornelio Scipion. Actually, the burial began with the traditional model of an Etruscan tomb but shortly after Escipion Emiliano decided to give it a more monumental aspect that followed the same architectural typology as the temples: a large façade divided by columns of Corinthian type and between which there were niches that housed sculptures of the most outstanding members of the family saga.

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Later in time, tower-type mausoleums emerged, with a quadrangular pedestal and on which a first floor rises as a quadrangular temple with columns or as triumphal arches, this first level is identified with the world terrestrial and above it appears a second level, in the shape of a Greek or pyramidal tholos; Perhaps the best example of this type of burial is found in France, specifically in Provence in the Julia Family Tomb.

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