5. Claiming Authority in the Sphere of Roman ‘Deathscapes’: Tomb 100 in the Isola Sacra Necropolis
Jane Hjarl Petersen [+]
University of Southern Denmark
This paper explores burial culture and tombs as material media through which ancient Roman non-elite citizens could lay claim to authority and thus obtain social recognition and standing in the local community, as well as exercise power over members of their familia. The focus of the paper is a case study of a 2nd-century tomb complex, Tomb 100, in the Isola Sacra necropolis near Rome´s main harbour city of Portus. It argues that the design, in particular the decoration and dedicatory inscription on the façade of the tomb, constitutes a condensed communication of identity manifestations which served to bring the patron and her family into the limelight in terms of social status and standing within the local community. The tomb in question thus serves as an example of how the ‘deathscapes’ of Roman cities offered an obvious opportunity for both the living and the dead to stage authoritative positions and social status via self-representations aimed at the local contemporary community, as well as posterity.