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Art, culture and service: The depiction of soldiers on funerary monuments of the 3rd century AD

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the depiction of soldiers on funerary monuments of the 3rd century AD. The 3rd century monuments, sometimes referred to as 'ringbuckle gravestones' are the class which stands out as particularly rich and informative. Not all display the characteristic belt-buckle form, and not all comprise gravestones, strictly speaking, but include standing stelae, funerary altars, sarcophagi and painted 'mummy' portraits. To these may be added non-funerary soldiers on other 3rd century sculptures, floor mosaics, wall paintings, dipinti and graffiti. However, together they may be used to study contemporary military dress and equipment in conjunction with documentary and artefactual sources. The chapter views the 3rd century AD group alongside the corpus of military funerary figures from the whole Roman period, thus allowing some holistic observations to be made about Roman military funerary practice and the presentation of Roman soldiers in death.

Keywords: 3rd century monuments; funerary monuments; Roman military funerary practice; Roman soldiers



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