Mosaic Tombstone

Roman Mosaics often depicts scenes of everyday life, of farming, fishing, playing… They make us feel closer to our ancestors involved in the same kind of activities we often are.
They tell us a lot about the way things were done 2000 years ago.

Today I would like to share with you a beautiful mosaic featuring a portrait of a little boy named Titus Aurelius Aurelianus. Titus was from Salona the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia (Modern Croatia).

mosaic tombstone portrait of Titus Aurelius Aurelianus
Mosaic portrait of Titus

Titus Aurelius sadly died at the age of 9, and his parents commissioned a mosaic tombstone embedded on top of his sarcophagus to honor the memory of their beloved and affectionate son.

Titus Aurlius Aurelianus mosaic tombstone
The mosaic cover of Titus’ Sarcophagus

Beside the boy’s portrait , the mosaic features an apotropaic herm with a goddess head, a partridge, and a tombstone engraved with the epitaph :

Titus Aurelius Epitaph

“D(is) M(anibus) Hic Positus est T(itus) Aurelius Aurelianus Filius Pientissimus vixit annis VIIII

Which translates as :
In Memoriam. Here rests Titus Aurelius Aurelianus, affectionate son. He lived 9 years.

Mosaic tombstones or sarcophagus were not common in the Empire, and Titus Aurelius’ parents love had to be very deep and their sorrow immense for them to commission such a piece.

Somehow, we assume our children should outlive us, and then one day comes the ripper.

In March 1991 Conor, the 4 1/2-year-old son of guitarist Eric Clapton fell to his death out an open window on the 53d floor of a Manhattan apartment building.

Eric wrote the song “Tears in Heaven“ to honor his son’s memory. I would like to share this song with you.

In the early 90’s my father would come every year to Alabama spend 3 weeks with me. Sometimes we would watch MTV together. That is how he discovered Eric Clapton and John Mayall. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson disease 10 years ago. After a long and difficult fight, he left us peacefully last month. He loved this song very much.

You can read an excellent article by Helen Miles about mosaic tombstones by clicking here

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clapton, Croatia, Dalmatia, eric clapton, John Mayall, salona
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