Columbarium Tombs and Collective Identity in Augustan Rome

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 10, 2014 - Art - 294 pages
Columbarium tombs are among the most recognizable forms of Roman architecture and also among the most enigmatic. The subterranean collective burial chambers have repeatedly sparked the imagination of modern commentators, but their origins and function remain obscure. Columbarium Tombs and Collective Identity in Augustan Rome situates columbaria within the development of Roman funerary architecture and the historical context of the early Imperial period. Contrary to earlier scholarship that often interprets columbaria primarily as economic burial solutions, Dorian Borbonus shows that they defined a community of people who were buried and commemorated collectively. Many of the tomb occupants were slaves and freed slaves, for whom collective burial was one strategy of community building that counterbalanced their exclusion in Roman society. Columbarium tombs were thus sites of social interaction that provided their occupants with a group identity that, this book shows, was especially relevant during the social and cultural transformation of the Augustan era.
 

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Contents

TRADITION AND INNOVATION IN THE ARCHITECTURAL
39
THE USE
67
THE VOCABULARY
106
THE OCCUPANTS
135
CONCLUSION
157
Appendix B Summary of Epigraphic Data
209
Bibliography
261
Index
285
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About the author (2014)

Dorian Borbonus is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Dayton, Ohio. He studied classical archaeology at the Freie Universitšt Berlin, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained a Ph.D. in the art and archaeology of the Mediterranean world. His research centers on the topography of Rome, on the development of Roman funerary culture, and on outsiders in Roman society. He is a contributing author of the mapping project Mapping Augustan Rome (JRA Supplement 50) and has published on the methodology of slavery studies and the social history of Roman freedmen.

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