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Furerary Altar of Antistia Trifena

Roman art


This funerary altar, only the front of which is preserved, inserted into a modern block, was mentioned in 1603 near the Arch of Gallienus on the Esquiline Hill. In the Villa Borghese, it was mentioned in 1832 in its current location. The funerary monument, commissioned by Titus Aurelius Tryphon, hosted various freedmen family members.

The sculpture is datable to between the first and second centuries CE.


Object details

Inventory
Ca
Location
Date
I-II secolo d.C.
Classification
Medium
Luni marble
Dimensions
height cm 56; width 66; depth cm 57; letters height cm 2,8
Provenance

It probably came from the area around the Arch of Gallienus on the Esquiline Hill (Gruter 1603, p. DCLXVIII, no. 11). Borghese, Collection, cited for the first time by Nibby in Room II (1832, pp. 78–79, no. 6). Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese, 1833, C., p. 46, no. 71. Purchased by the Italian State, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1963 Tito Minguzzi
  • 1996-97 Liana Persichelli

Commentary

This ancient panel, which is inserted in a modern block and framed by moulding, is carved with an eight-line funerary inscription:

DIS MANIB(US)

T(ITUS) AURELIUS TRYPHO(N)

F(ILIUS) PIENTISSIMAE ANTISTIAE

TRYPHAENAE FECIT ET SIBI ET

T(ITO) ANTISTIO COSMO NEPOTI

SUO ET LIBERTIS LIBERTABUSQ(UE)

SUIS POSTERISQUE EORUM

H(OC) M(ONUMENTUM) IN F(RONTE) P(EDES) X IN A(GRO) P(EDES) X

The altar marked the burial of a group of freedmen family members: the patron Titus Aurelius Tryphon, Antistia Trifena, the grandson Titus Antistius Cosmo, their freedmen and descendents. The final line is enclosed between two small leaves of ivy, hederae distinguentes, which were used to separate inscribed words and decorative motifs with apotropaic and well-wishing meanings.

In 1603, Gruter mentioned it near the Arch of Gallienus on the Esquiline Hill, ‘prope Arcum S. Viti’ (1603, p. DCLXVIII, no. 11). Nibby reported it, in 1832, in the Villa Borghese in its current location, Room II, serving as a base for a statue of Venus. As for the inscription, the scholar linked the term filius to Aurelius and noted that Trifon and Trifena have the same name but two different cognomina, and so they would seem to be child and mother. The one was a member of the Aurelifamily, the other of the Antisti family (1832, pp. 78–79, no. 6). In 2017, Krawczyk argued insteadthat the epigraph is lacking the name of the mother and includes only the name of the father and the daughter (Krawczyk 2017, p. 125). The sculpture seems to be datable to between the first and second centuries CE.

Giulia Ciccarello




Bibliography
  • J. Gruter, Inscriptiones antiquae totius orbis Romani, in corpus absolutiss. Redactae, 1603, p. DCLXVIII, n. 11.
  • A. Nibby, Monumenti scelti della Villa Borghese, Roma 1832, pp. 78-79, n. 6.
  • Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum VI, I, 1876, n. 13260.
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 27.
  • P. Della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, (3° Edizione) Roma 1954, p. 10.
  • R. Calza, Catalogo del Gabinetto fotografico Nazionale, Galleria Borghese, Collezione degli oggetti antichi, Roma 1957, p. 19, n. 223.
  • P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 100, n. 26b.
  • P. Moreno, A. Viacava, I marmi antichi della Galleria Borghese. La collezione archeologica di Camillo e Francesco Borghese, Roma 2003, p. 182, n. 161.
  • M. Krawczyk, Paternal onomastical legacy vs. illegitimacy in Roman epitaphs, in Tell me who you are: labelling status in the graeco-roman world, in “U Schylku Starozytnsci. Studia Źródłoznawcze”, 16, 2017, pp. 107-128, in part. 125.
  • Scheda di catalogo 12/0147833, P. Moreno 1975; aggiornamento G. Ciccarello 2020.