Cinerary urn, mid 1st century B.C., marble.
Gift of R. C. Ballard Thruston and Mrs. S. Thruston
Ballard 1929.17.306 a,b
It was common practice in 1st century Rome to cremate
the remains of the deceased and store the ashes in decorative
marble urns. In this case the inscription tells us that
the name of the deceased was Lucius Aedinius Rogatus,
a member of a respectable equestrian family, and that
he served in the sixth cohort of the elite Praetorian
Guard. He died after nine years of active service at
the age of twenty-nine. The urn is decorated with two
rams’ heads on either side of the inscription.
The ram’s head was a common motif and a symbol
of good fortune. There are also two eagles at the lower
corners of the urn and another holding a snake in its
mouth below the inscription. Eagles were a popular symbol
among legionary soldiers. The lid of the urn resembles
the pediment of a Roman temple and is decorated with
stylized palm fronds and the image of two birds feeding.