About this object

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.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    70 - 75 (Early Flavian)
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    295 mm x 330 mm x 305 mm
  • Note
    Davies (2007): ivy appears on many chests of Augustan period, often with small birds and associated with a small kantharos or a bowl. The use of kantharos may suggest a Dionysiac connection. The design used in this chest was popular for a long time. Davies commented that although previous scholars have dated the ash chest to the Flavian period because of the names on the inscription and their connection to the Flavian Imperial household this may have been likely but not certain. It is the style of the monument that suggests more of an early Flavian period. The chest appeared both in Monumenta Matthaeiana and the Engravings with different lids ( Davies catalogue no 64 and no 62 ). In his Account Blundell commented that the ash chest was illustrated with one lid but was associated with a different one which may have been No 52 in Catalogue. None of this was the original lid of the chest.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Ciriaco Mattei ( Previous owner); Giuseppe Mattei ( Previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


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    Publisher: Institute of Classical Studies
    Date: 2000

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    Publisher: Verlag Philipp von Zabern
    Date: 2007

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Previous owners

  • Joseph William Col Sir Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: 1789
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Giuseppe Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Ciriaco Mattei

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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