Covering Slabs of Cubic Funerary Monument

Second half of the first century BC


Pietra di Vicenza (Vicentino), 104 x 192 x 16cm

These two exquisite corresponding fragments are the main remnants of a large cubic funerary monument, built to commemorate a high-ranking officer of the equestrian class. A Doric trabeation in alternating triglyphs and metopes that portray bucrania, rosettes and pinwheels are supported by smooth Tuscan pillars, in between which are symbolic elements and arms typical of an “eques”: a Hellenistic suit of armour with baldric and belt; a harnessmade of phalerae with military emblems at the centre; and a round, bossed shield resting against two crossed spears. Discovered together with other pertinent fragments in 1845 during excavations carried out on the eastern outskirts of Modena, these two reliefs were deemed by Celestino Cavedoni to be part of “a magnificent sepulchral monument that appears to be from the Augustan period”. They were immediately taken to the Regio Museo delle Medaglie directed by Cavedoni, joining the Lapidario Estense shortly after during the Italian Post-unification period.