Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Sections / The Epigraphic Collection

Stela of Quintus Manilius Cordus

The stela is framed by an elaborate architectural composition, it has a pediment with a Gorgon’s head – intended to protect the burial – flanked by two dolphins that evoke the ferrying of the dead to the underworld. The pediment is surmounted by a pine cone, a regenerating fruit, and the outer corners are decorated with two small lions with their jaws open and their paws resting on the heads of rams with curved horns.

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The inscription, which fills the entire central panel, bears the name of the deceased, Q. Manilius Cordus, son of Caius, his military and civil career (cursus honorum) – centurion of the 21st Legion Rapax, a cavalry prefect and tax collector in the city of Gallia – as well as the name of the person who oversaw his funeral rites, the freedman Certus, and the size of the tomb area in the necropolis, expressed according to the traditional formula: 40 Roman feet and 4 unciae or inches (about 12 metres) in depth (in agro, i.e. towards the countryside), and 40 Roman feet and 4 inches to the front (in fronte, i.e. along the road).

The pseudo-aedicula stela, which is much larger than usual, was discovered in 1502 and subsequently set in the external wall of San Petronio, near the entrance in Piazza Galvani.

Provenance: Sant’Alberto, a hamlet of San Pietro in Casale (Bologna)
Datation: 1st century AD
Material: Limestone
Dimensions: height cm 300; width cm 100
Inventory #: 19078

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