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Then came the mourners, the friends, distinguished persons, the magistrates of

the city, the common people, and lastly the slaves, who on such occasions were

not only permitted but expected to bear witness by their presence to an affection

which they had never felt before for him who was once their master. As a general

thing, the procession halted in the Forum. There the representatives of the

ancestors of the dead took their place in the seats of the curiales, whereupon

one of the number, perhaps a near kinsman, if such chanced to be gifted with

oratory, or otherwise a friend, mounted the Tribune, and delivered a funeral

oration in honor of the dead.

In the course of this address it was expected not only that the deeds of the

deceased should be glorified, but that the history of his family, his ancestors,

his kinsmen, should be given, especially in such parts as were calculated to

reflect credit and honor upon the departed.

When the address was ended the procession was renewed to the place of interment

or burning. If the latter, the pyre was already prepared. The body was at once

laid upon it, and the torch applied by the nearest kinsman. As the flames were

kindled the friends gathered near and cast into the burning pile small mementos

of the dead or articles of their own, such as incense, perfumes, and locks of

hair. As soon as the wood was consumed the ashes were sprinkled with wine and

perfumes, and were then gathered into the urn, which was set in the vault. Then

certain ones, speaking for the family, spoke aloud, as addressing the dead:

"Farewell, thou pure soul." "Lightly rest the earth upon thee." "Rest in peace."

Finally those who had participated in the funeral purified themselves with holy

water, and then dispersed to their homes. At the expiration of nine days a

funeral feast was given in commemoration of the dead, and this might be repeated

annually at the general festival of the feralia.

In the case of the poorer people the earth-burial was generally employed. The

method was not dissimilar to that of modern times. The body was put into a coffin

and lowered into a pit in the ground. The opening was filled up and a mound of

earth raised over the grave. When earth-burial was preferred by the wealthy, as

was sometimes the case, the sarcophagus was usually deposited in a stone tomb,

solidly and elegantly built. Nearly all graves and vaults were marked with some

sort of memorial tablet or monument, and on this was recorded an appropriate

inscription. This generally contained, besides the name of the deceased and his

family, a brief panegyric, or, at any rate, a sentiment of that sort wherewith

life in all ages has been wont to cajole his enemy. In the humbler ranks the

epitaph was for the most part an expression of domestic grief, or perhaps a word

of consolation for the living. The wife was made to say, "I await my husband;"

and the sadness of the latter is thus recorded: "She never caused me a sorrow

save by her death."

The Roman nobility, like that of other ancient nations, took pride in

ostentatious monuments. They were erected by preference in the most frequented

places. Along the sides of the Appian Way, as it neared the great city, were

built many tombs for the repose of the grandees of Rome. Among such structures

may be mentioned as specially worthy of note the pyramid of Cestius and the

mausoleum of Hadrian, now converted into the Castle of Saint Angelo. The ruins of

many similar piles may be seen as one journeys along the Appian Way from Rome

towards Campania. In the exhumed Pompeii we have what is known as the Street of

Tombs. The place resembles the arena of a circus. The traveler descends to the

bottom by a stairway, and sees around him in the circular wall the chambers and

niches wherein were deposited the urns and caskets containing the ashes of the

dead. From the resemblance to a row of nests these apartments or chambers were

called Columbaria or pigeon-houses.

The Christians, as a sect, did not relish or willingly follow the styles of

burial which prevailed in Rome. The idea of a literal resurrection of the dead

seemed to make the process of incineration revolting alike to humanity and

religion. Nor were the pagan rites which accompanied the earth-burial of the

Romans more pleasing to the instincts of the Christian