Mother of Caligula- Agrippina Inscription- Joe Geranio

Mother of Caligula- Agrippina Inscription-

Mother of Caligula- Agrippina Inscription-

Another rare inscription for the funerary inscription for Agrippina Major.  Beautiful and rare to still be in our midst. 
probably from Augustus’ mausoleum, where her son Caligula had her ashes delivered (from Pandateria where she was exiled and starved herself to death in 33 CE) when he became emperor in 37 CE. Inscription: OSSA/AGRIPPINAE M[ARCI] AGRIPPAE/DIVI AVG[usti] NEPTIS VXORIS/GERMANICI CAESARIS/MATRIS C[AI] CAESARIS AVG[USTI]/ GERMANICI PRINCIPIS (CIL 6.886). A cavity (not visible) on top once held the urn with her ashes. Rome: Passaggio del Muro Romano (Museo Nuovo) of the Museo del Palazzo dei Conservatori.

In 14 A.D. Augustus’ own ashes were placed here (Cass. Dio LVI.42; Tac. Ann. I.8). He had in his will excluded his daughter Julia and her daughter from burial in his mausoleum (Suet. Aug. 101; Cass. Dio LVI.32). Hirschfeld seems to lay too much stress on the statement in the Mirabilia (§ 22, ap. Jord. II.629) that there was an apse in the centre of the mausoleum, in which there had been a seated statue of Augustus. Next followed (soon after 19) Germanicus (Tac. Ann. III.4: reliquiae p334tumulo Augusto inferebantur; two fragments of an elogium of him carved on blocks,4 belonging to the facing of the base, are given in CIL VI.894 = 31194). For his children, see Ustrinum Domus Augustae. Livia’s ashes were placed here in 29 A.D. (Cass. Dio LVIII.2.3) and eight years later those of Tiberius (our classical authorities do not expressly mention it, but they would undoubtedly have emphasised his exclusion; and CIL VI.885, the inscription on his funeral urn, which was still preserved in the sixteenth century, agrees absolutely in content with the rest of those from the mausoleum). His successor Caligula, whose mother Agrippina and brothers Nero and Drusus had died — the first two in exile, the last in the cellars of the Palatine — collected their remains and placed them here (Cass. Dio LIX.3: τὰ ὀστᾶ τά τε τῆς μητρὸς καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν τῶν ἀποθανόντων; Suet. Tib. 54: amborum sic reliquias dispersas ut vix quandoque colligi possent). The block of marble which bears the inscription in honour of Agrippina, and once contained an urn of more precious material in which her cremated remains (ossa) were placed, is still preserved in the Palazzo dei Conservatori (CIL VI.886), while a block with the inscription of the elder Nero only disappeared after the sixteenth century (ib. 887). The mention of both brothers in the passages quoted above would certainly lead one to believe that the younger Drusus’ remains were similarly treatedHirschfeld thinks that Caligula’s sister Drusilla was also placed here, but there is no direct evidence/  Platner and Ashby: 

Mausoleum Augusti

Article on pp332‑336 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

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About joegeranio1

Our group studies all aspects of Julio Claudian iconography in coinage and portraits in the round. All for non-profit and educational use only. Joe Geranio Julio Claudian Iconographic Association
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