Cities of Vesuvius

- Syllabus Content -

Religion: temples, household gods, foreign cults, tombs

See “Death and Burial” pp. 161-2
  • Where were burial areas situated?
  • What were the burial practices?
  • Who was buried in the necropolis?
  • What evidence comes from tombs of Pompeii?

Tomb of Eumachia outside Porta Nocera
There was a necropolis outside each of the main gates of the city – the most significant were the Necropolis of Porta Nocera and the Via dei Sepolcri outside the Porta Ercolano.

Most people were cremated. Burial or cremation must be outside the city walls. Musicians and professional mourners attended the funeral procession. The family wore masks of ancestors to link the living and the dead. Ashes were placed in terracotta or glass urns and secured in the tomb. Tombs were for all members of the household.

Many elaborate tombs: Istacidii; Mamia, daughter of Publius; the most impressive was the tomb of Eumachia and her family.

Tombs were decorated with bas-reliefs showing occupations or achievements.


Tomb of Mamia on the via dei Sepolcri
Inscription from the tomb of Mamia: MAMIAE P(ublii) F(iliae) SACERDOTI PUBLICAE LOCUS SEPULT(urae) DATUS DECURIONUM DECRETO – Mamia daughter of Publius Public Priestess a place for burial is given by decree of the town council.

Tomb of the Istacidii family

Photo of the via dei Sepolcri
Photo of Porta Nuceria necropolis

Stucco relief on the tomb of Festius Ampliatus (?) in the Porta Nuceria necropolis:
At the games of {Numerius Fes}tius Ampliatus on the last day.
This relief was damaged by frost in 1815 and little of it remains today. It records a day's combat in games put on by Ampliatus.