Ash Chest



Double rectangular ash chest of L. Manlius Philargyrus and Larcia Rufina. Although there are two inscription panels at the front there is only one cavity. The sides of the chest are undecorated but smoothly worked; the interior andf the back are roughly worked. The chest has clamp holes on its sides. The top edge is not shaped to hold a lid. The inscription in the panels is to the left: D. M, L.MANLIO PHILARGYRO FEC. LARCIA.RVFI NA.CONIVGI.SVO B.M.V.A.XXXV.ET.SIBI and to the right:: D.M LARCIA.RVF INA.CONIV GI.SVA.B.M The translation for the left one is: To the Shades. To Lucius Manlius Philargyrus. Lacia Rufina made it for her well deserving husband and herself. He lived 45 years. The right one: To the Shades. Larcia Rufina,?, to her well deserving husband. If Lucia Rufina had intended this ash chest to be for her as already stated in the first inscription, the second inscription does not make sense as there is no need for it. It is also grammatically odd and there is a mistake with the phrase Coniugi Sua which should be coniugi Suo. The spacing is not very good and the last line of the left hand is squashed into the bottom of the panel and smaller than the rest. In the second inscription the words are split between the lines. The letters are rather clumsy but clearly formed and the vertical strokes of the letters are deeply cut into the surface. It is likely that both the inscriptions are by the same hand but the right hand one is rougher than the other one. It could well be that the ash chest was placed in a tomb at the time when the second inscription was added. It could also be that the second inscription is an 18th century addition. The front of the ash chest has a fascia and cyma moulding along the top and bottom and similar moulding but narrower is used around the inscription as a frame. The panels are arranged with narrower vertical fields alongside them, one at each end of the centre. They are decorated with incised but stylised ivy tendrils. The stem weaves from side to side and there are heart shaped leaves and patterns of three dots arranged in a triangle to represent the berries.