Grave Altar of Passienia Gemella



Grave altar of Passienia Gemella and her family. It was dedicated to Passienia Gemella and her sons by L. Passienius Saturninus, her husband. She is described as both his wife and his freedwoman (that is, she was a slave of his whom he subsequently set free and married). Their son Doryphorus is described as their freeborn son, while his brother Sabinus is described as both son and freedman. This indicates that Sabinus was born while his mother was a slave and so was a slave himself until L. Passienius Saturninus freed him. Front: framed by spiral columns, 3 bust portraits. Left to right: a boy in a tunic and toga with a horus lock; a woman in a toga and mantle; a boy with a chlamys over his left shoulder. Left: 2 full-figure portaits of a woman in a toga and mantle, who embraces a boy in a tunic; the child stands on a block. On the lid, an eagle with outstretched wings is framed by spiral columns. Right: the scene is the same as on the left side but with a smaller boy. The altar may have been from a tomb excavated in 1702-1705 in the Vigna Moroni on the Via Appia in Rome. The altar was acquired from the Mattei collection via the Borrioni collection and was exported by Lisandroni and d'Este in 1789.