Building a Roman Funeral Pyre

  title={Building a Roman Funeral Pyre},
  author={David Noy},
  pages={30 - 45}
  • D. Noy
  • Published 1 November 2000
  • History
  • Antichthon
Until the second century A.D., the bodies of most people who died at Rome and in the western provinces of the Empire ended up on a funeral pyre, to be reduced to ashes which would be placed in a grave. The practical arrangements for this process have attracted some attention from archaeologists but virtually none from ancient historians. In this paper I shall try to combine literary and archaeological evidence to reconstruct how the pyre was prepared. I hope that this will provide a fuller… 
Roman Tombs and the Art of Commemoration
The history of funerary customs in Rome contains many unanswered questions and controversial debates, especially concerning the significant developments of the second century CE. In this book,
‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’: the practical and symbolic treatment of the Roman war dead
Abstract In literary sources death in Roman battle was often portrayed as glorious, yet how the bodies of the war dead were treated was far removed from this ideal. This paper focuses on this
Monumenta and Historiographical Method in Livy's Ab Urbe Condita
and a more metaphorical form of lasting power. Another important passage comes from the c. 4 AD grammarian Nonius Marcellus. It is possible that he transmits a definition of monumentum that predates
The Smell of Grief: Odour and Olfaction at the Roman Funeral
The Roman funeral has received regular scholarly attention as a ritualised expression of elite identify and performative grief, with emphasis on its visual and auditory elements. By contrast,
Zur Vergiftung des Germanicus (Tac. Ann. 2, 69)
In the autumn of 19 A.D. Germanicus was taken seriously ill and died. This was interpreted as the result of poisoning (veneficium) or black magic (maleficium) by his followers. Some must, however,
Oak, ash and pine: the role of firewood in funerary rituals at the Roman site of Reza Vella (Ourense, Spain)
The aim of this paper is to reflect on the role of firewood in Roman burial rites of cremation. The case study of Reza Vella (Ourense, Spain) provides valuable information about the uses and the role
  • U. Roth
  • History
    The Classical Quarterly
  • 2014
Trimalchio's fabulous epitaph, recited in full by Petronius’ colourful host towards the end of the Cena (Sat. 71.12), has long attracted abundant comment. Similarly, allusions to the underworld in
Straddling Borderlines: Divine Connotations in Funerary Commemoration
  • B. Borg
  • History
    Roman Tombs and the Art of Commemoration
  • 2019


The "Ara Ditis-Ustrinum of Hadrian" in the Western Campus Martius and Other Problematic Roman Ustrina
Reconsideration of archaeological and literary evidence allows a new interpretation of remains in the western Campus Martius; the original explanations were advanced when the finds were excavated in
The Archaeology of Death and Burial
The archaeology of death and burial is central to our attempts to understand vanished societies. Through the remains of funerary rituals we can learn not only about the attitudes of prehistoric
Death and Burial in the Roman World
Never before available in paperback, J. M. C. Toynbee's study is the most comprehensive book on Roman burial practices. Ranging throughout the Roman world from Rome to Pompeii, Britain to
Burial practices in Roman Britain : a survey of grave treatment and furnishing A.D. 43-410
Subtitled a survey of grave treatment and furnishing, AD 43-410' this 1990 Birmingham thesis is a study of the layout and the contents of all cremation and inhumation graves. This means that it is
‘Half-burnt on an Emergency Pyre‘: Roman Cremations which Went Wrong
  • D. Noy
  • History
    Greece and Rome
  • 2000
In an ideal Roman cremation, the body was carried in procession from the house of the deceased to a place outside the city, where it was burnt on a pyre until it was reduced to bones and ashes
Lits funéraires de la nécropole gallo-romaine de Saint-Lambert (Fréjus)
The Saint-Lambert necropolis extended to the east of the ancient Roman city, on both sides of a road identified as the Via Per Alpes Maritimas. It is bordered by by small, square mausoleums,
Bronze Age 'Barrows' and Funerary Rites and Rituals of Cremation
This paper discusses the evidence for pyre sites, debris, and technology associated with the disposal of cremated human remains in Bronze Age ‘barrows’. The use of the terms such as ‘cremation’,
Two Flavian Burials from Grange Road, Winchester
One evening towards the end of August 1964, Mr. G. H. Bell walked across to the excavations north of Winchester Cathedral and told the writer that some pots had been found during the digging of a new
Death in Banaras
Introduction Part I. Death and the City: 1. Through 'divine eyes' 2. A profane perspective Part II. Death as a Living: 3. Shares and chicanery 4. Giving, receiving and bargaining over gifts Part III.