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“Funus”, a roman funeral

  Life and death had the same importance for the Romans. People weren’t completely dead if they remained in the memory of the living. Hence the significance of the funeral rites, which evolved over time and adopted customs from the cultures they came into contact with.

 

  At this stage, around 4th Century of our era, burial was the most usual, influenced by Christianity. They used different types of graves depending on the social status of the deceased.

 

 

  In the funeral or funus, a number of funeral rites were carried out which are very well described in the ancient sources: the body was prepared and a vigil was hold over it. Then, the body was brought to the necropolis in funeral procession (pompa funebris).. There, efferings and ceremonies were made in his honor, and so he became one of the family’s gods along with their ancestors: Manes gods.

  The Cohors Prima Gallica reenacts the civilian funeral in honour of its tribune CAIO FURIUS SABINUS. The act starts in the room where Caio lies sick and his wife Fabia Municia Laeta is the one who narrates the events.

 

  In order to play this scene, several stage props have been replicated, like the enclosure walls, the bed of the deceased, the figures of the Lares Gods, the sarcophagus… Archaeological and bibliographic documentation existing for this period has been used as reference to achieve all this.

Scene of the corpse preparation: washing and scenting

Lares gods, death masks and relatives’ objects

Wake with mourners. End of the 1st Century, Lateran Museum. Rome.

Reconstruction of funus: velatio of the deceased

Illustration by Paco Blasco. Article: “El mundo funerario en época romana. Los Columbarios