Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
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Collections / Sections / The Epigraphic Collection

Stela of the Swinherd

The stela has decorated frames and pediments with acroteria on the corners. It has a poetic funerary inscription in the upper part of the panel, which recomend the respect of the burial and whishes the best to the visitor. The lower part has bas-reliefs with genre representations.

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Below the epigraphic text is a bas-relief that depicts a swineherd with seven piglets, probably the job of the deceased, which was diffused in thelow the epigraphic e area even before the roman period.The stela is similar to the mortarium’s one, where there is depicted a mortar and pestle. Both must have pertained to a single burial, that of a figure whose name is unknown. The name was probably written on a marker that has not survived and was part of the funerary complex. However, the two images probably allude to a pig farm and the production of sausages, the trade of the deceased. Although he was born a slave in distant lands, this business allowed him to gain his freedom and earn a good living, as he was able to have a funerary monument made for himself, his wife and his patron, as indicated in one of the inscriptions, composed in verses. The other epigraph beckons people to respect the funerary precinct.

Provenance: Bologna, from the Reno wall
Datation: Late 1st century BC–early 2nd century AD
Material: Sandstone
Dimensions: height cm 192; width cm 46,7; depth cm 29
Bibliography: CIL XI, 6842
Inventory #: 19003

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