Pompeii: Its Life and Art

By August Mau; Francis W. Kelsey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LI
BURIAL PLACES NEAR THE NOLA, STABIAN, AND NOCERA GATES

NO part of the highway leading from the Nola Gate has yet been excavated. In the year 1854, however, excavations were made for a short distance along the city wall near this gate, and thirty-six cinerary urns were found buried in the earth. In or near them were perfume vials of terra cotta with a few of glass. Here in the pomerium, the strip of land along the outside of the walls, which was left vacant for religious as well as practical reasons, the poor were permitted to bury the ashes of their dead without cost. In some cases the place of the urn was indicated by a bust stone; often the spot was kept in memory merely by cutting upon the outside of the city wall the name of the person whose ashes rested here.

There was another cemetery of the poor a short distance southwest of the Amphitheatre, south of the modern highway. It lay along a road which branched off from the highway leading to Stabiae and ran east in the direction of Nocera. Sepulchral remains were found here in 1755-57, and again in 1893-94, when further explorations were made. They consist of cinerary urns, buried in the earth, with small glass perfume vials in or near them, and a bust stone to mark the spot. A few of the stones are of marble and bear a name; the great majority are roughly carved out of blocks of lava, and if a name was painted on the front it has disappeared.

Of special significance, in connection with these burial places, is the arrangement for making offerings to the dead. In order that libations might be poured directly upon the cinerary urns, these were connected with the surface of the ground by means of tubes. In one instance a lead pipe ran from above into an opening made for it in the top of the lead case inclosing an urn.

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