Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, World Museum
Rectangular ash chest of T. Flavius Eutyches, who, according to the inscription, died aged 5 years, 5 months and 29 days.
Dis Manib(us) T (iti) Flavi Sp(urii ) f(ilii) Eytyche
(tis?) vix 9it) ann(is) Vm (ensibus)V/d (9ebus) XXIX fec(it)
Flavia Peloris mater
The name Eytyches was a Greek name and was often given to slaves who retained it after they were freed. In the case of this chest Eytyches was a free born because he has three names and he is described as the son of Spurius, a formula used to perhaps describe that he may have been an illegitimate child and his father's name was unknown or unacknowledged. His name as Flavius may have derived from his mother's name, Flavia Peloris, probably an imperial freedwoman although the inscription does not specify that.
The inscription is well placed with some unclear patches in the 5th line and the squashed last line. The letters are deeply cut and formed without flourishes.
The decoration of the ash chest is only at its front, the back is modern with smooth surfaces both internally and externally. There are small circular clamp holes on both sides near the top centre but the top edge is not shaped to take a lid. The interior is roughly worked.
The inscription panel is framed by a simple moulding and at the top this joins onto the moudling across the top of the chest, which is divided into two by a single horizontal groove. The bottom edge has a similar moulding. Below the inscription there is an elaborate kantharos, its handles twisted and with decoration on its body. It is filled with fruits and there are two small bird gardens perched on its rim. One pecks at the contents of the vase and the other raises its head and perhaps holds an insect on his beak. Behind the foot of the vase an ivy branch emerges and spreads on its lower corners and up the sides of the inscription panel, filling the remaining space. There are leaves and berries on it. The arrangement is symmetrical but a little rigid. A simple bead corner is on the edges of both corners. The careful and detailed carving is executed with some drill holes, especially for the kantharos, the base of the leaves and the bunches of the berries, with a ring around the birds' necks.