Ash Chest



Rectangular ash chest with decoration on its three sides only and the back roughly worked. There are large clamp holes in the centre at both sides and the top surface is made to hold a lid. The chest has low feet On the front there is a tabula ansata with a modern inscription: ELLIO.RVFO S.L.HABRA. FECIT ET. SIBI. ET. SVIS SEMPRONIA SEPRONIVS P.L.AVGE O.L/VRBANVS The inscription cannot be easily interpreted a suggestion would be: Ellio Rufo Spuri l (iberto ). Habra fecit/ et sibi et suits/ Sempronia P(ubi) l(iberta)/ Auge. Se(m)pronius/O (?PPI OR aULI) L(IBERTUS)/Urbanus To Ellius Rufus, freedman of Spurious. Habra made this for herself and her descendants, Sempronia Auge, freedwoman of Publius; Sempronius Urbanus freedman of ?Oppius (or possibly Aulus). Davies commented:it is strange that Ellius Rufus does not have a praeonomen and the letter S is also strange, O may have stood for Oppius (Roman nomen rather than praenomen). There is also no indication of the relationship between all the people named and it may be that the whole inscription is modern. The decoration of the tabular ansata is in palmette designs with triangular wings and small four petalled rosettes in the spaces, flanking them . The same decorative mouldings are along the top and bottom at the front and round the inscription panel: there is twisted or spiral design on the outside with a cyma decorated with a leaf and dart design on the inside. On the sides of the chest are five large six petalled rosettes with plain mouldings above and below. The decoration is rather crude and worn and the mouldings are not cut accurately, as seen at the corners of the inscription panel. The rosettes are cut so that the large button like centres are below the surface of the flat background. The chest is similar to many in Rome and two others from the Ince Blundell collection. Tiberian, early Claudian chests tend to have the distinct and elaborate mouldings and later chests are more constrained in their decoration.