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and those of after stamp by permission, and but small in bulk and bigness; that so few of the Saxons remain, because overcome by succeeding conquerors upon the place, their coins by degrees passed into other stamps, and the marks of after ages
Than the time of these urns being deposited, or the precise antiquity of these relics, nothing of more uncertainty. For, since the lieutenant of Claudius seems to have made the first progress into these parts, since Boadicea was overthrown by the forces of Nero, and Agricola put a full end to these conquests, it is not probable the country was fully garrisoned or planted before; and, therefore, however these urns might be of later date, not likely of higher antiquity.
And the succeeding emperors desisted not from their conquests in these and other parts; as testified by history and medal inscription yet extant. The province of Britain in so divided a distance from Rome, beholding the faces of many imperial persons, and in large account no fewer than Cæsar, Claudius, Britannicus, Vespasian, Titus, Adrian, Severus, Commodus, Geta, and Caracalla.
A great obscurity herein, because no medal or emperor's coin enclosed, which might denote the date of their interments, (2) observable in many
potest videri ostendisse posteris, non tradidisse." Vit. Agric. §. 13.-ED.
(42) A clear demonstration that these urns were not Roman; and which perfectly agrees with my former remark that, had they been Roman, their lachrymatories, ustrinal vessels, incense pots, &c. would have been found with them.-DOUGLAS.
urns, and found in those of Spitalfields (3) by London, which contained the coins of Claudius, Vespasian, Commodus, Antoninus, attended with lachrymatories, lamps, (") bottles of liquor, and other appurtenances of affectionate superstition, which in these rural interments were wanting.
Some uncertainty there is from the period or term of burning, or the cessation of that practice. Macrobius affirmeth it was disused in his days. (*)
(43) Stowe's Survey of London.
(44) The uses of lamps in tombs may not, at first sight, be obvious. But the sepulchral monuments of antiquity having been erected as so many dwelling-places for the manes, which in their dreary solitude might sometimes stand in need of light, it was customary in many countries to keep a lamp constantly burning in tombs. Thus the will of Mævia, preserved by Modestinus, 1. xliv., we find three slaves restored to freedom on condition that they would kindle and keep burning the sepulchral lamp, each fulfilling the office during one whole month in turns. "Let my servant Saccus, and the girls Eutychia and Hirine, be free upon these conditions, that they light the lamp in my monument on alternate months, and perform the usual solemnities for the dead." D. Hierom. The Christians adopted this practice of the pagans, and were accustomed to kindle lamps at the tombs of the saints and martyrs; which the learned among them sometimes derided. Thus Vigilantius writes: "Prope ritum gentilium videmus sub prætextu religionis introductum in ecclesiis, sole adhuc fulgente, moles cereorum accendi, et ubicunque pulvisculum nescio quod in modico vasculo pretioso est circumdatum, osculantes adorant," &c. From which we see how early the Roman Catholic practices prevailed in the church, and gave rise to abuses.-ED.
(45) That is, in the reign of the younger Theodosius, in the beginning of the fifth century. Gibbon. V. 411. ff. Kirchman. 1. i. p. 13, quotes the passage of Macrobius, vii. 7, and in this part of the work has supplied Browne with almost every one of his authorities. Respecting the date of the cessation of burning
But most agree, though without authentic record, that it ceased with the Antonini. Most safely to be understood after the reign of those emperors, which assumed the name of Antoninus, extending unto Heliogabalus. Not strictly after Marcus; for about fifty years later we find the magnificent burning, and consecration of Severus; and if we so fix this period or cessation, these urns will challenge above thirteen hundred years.
But whether this practice was only then left by emperors and great persons, or generally about Rome, and not in other provinces, we hold no authentic account. For after Tertullian, in the days of Minucius, it was obviously objected upon Christians, that they condemned the practice of burning.(4) And we find a passage in Sidonius,(7) which asserteth that practice in France unto a lower account. And perhaps not fully disused till Christianity fully established, which gave the final extinction to these sepulchral bonfires.
Whether they were the bones of men, or women, or children, no authentic decision from ancient custom in distinct places of burial. Although not improbably conjectured, that the double sepulchre, or burying-place of Abraham, had in it such intention. But from exility of bones, thinness of
the dead, he says, "Nam ab Antoninis illam esse abrogatum ut quidam volunt, neque fictum, neque scriptum, neque pictum, usquam memini legere." ubi sup.-ED.
(46) Execrantur rogos, et damnant ignium sepulturam. Min. in Oct.
(47) Sidon. Apollinaris.
skulls, smallness of teeth, ribs, and thigh-bones; not improbable that many thereof were persons of minor age, or women. (8) Confirmable also from things contained in them. In most were found substances resembling combs, (49) plates like boxes, fastened with iron pins, and handsomely overwrought like the necks or bridges of musical instruments, long brass plates overwrought like the handles of neat implements, brazen nippers to pull away hair, and in one a kind of opale(5o) yet maintaining a bluish colour.
Now that they accustomed to burn or bury with them things wherein they excelled, delighted, or which were dear unto them, either as farewells unto all pleasure, or vain apprehension that they might use them in the other world, is testified by all antiquity. Observable from the gem, or beryl ring, upon the finger of Cynthia, the mistress of Propertius, when, after her funeral pyre, her ghost appeared unto him. (1) And nobly illustrated
(46) This passage proves this busta to have belonged to a peaceable people, and that it was the burial-place of a British unconverted tribe or clan, about the fifth century.-Dou
(49) Similar to the implements discovered by me and Mr. Faucet, in tumuli, near Canterbury.-DOUGLAS.
(50) This opale was a blue bead.-DOUGLAS.
(5) But this was not the uniform custom of antiquity. From some superstition, not altogether intelligible to us, they were careful, sometimes even before death had closed the eyes of their friends, to take off the rings and other ornaments from their fingers. "Gravatis somno aut morientibus, religione quodam annuli detrahuntur." Plin. Hist. Nat. XXXIII. 1. An example is furnished by the death-bed scene of Tiberius. Falling
from the contents of that Roman urn preserved by Cardinal Farnese, (52) wherein, besides great number of gems with heads of gods and goddesses, were found an ape of agate, a grasshopper, an elephant of amber, a crystal ball, three glasses, two spoons, and six nuts of crystal. And, beyond the contents of urns, in the monument of Childerick the First, (3) and fourth king from Pharamond, casually discovered three years past at Tournay,(") restoring unto the world much gold richly adorning
into a lethargy, his attendants, who mistook it for death, drew the ring from his finger; but the tyrant recovering, and preserving to the last his suspicious character and presence of mind, immediately demanded it back. Sueton. in Vit. § 73. By the collapsing of the muscles, and consequent shrinking of the fingers, the rings of dying persons sometimes dropped at the last moment from the hand, which was regarded as a sign that death had taken place. Thus Ælius Spartianus, describing the last moments of Hadrian, says, "Signa mortis hæc habuit: annulus, in quo imago ipsius sculpta erat, sponte de digito delapsus est." c. xxiv. It has been suspected that an apprehension lest these relics should be stolen by the persons employed to wash and lay out the body, may have been one cause why rings, &c. were thus abstracted; for they were often replaced on the day of cremation, and consumed on the funeral pile, as in the case of Propertius's Cynthia, alluded to in the text. See the Elegies of this learned and elegant poet, 1. iv. Eleg. vii. p. 292, edit. Barb. She appears to him in a dream, and he says,—
"Eosdem habuit secum, quibus est elata, capillos,
(52) Vigeneri Annot. in 4 Liv.
(53) Chifflet in Anast. Childer.
(54) On which Douglas remarks: "This was not the grave of King Childerick; the ring bearing his name betrays evident signs of forgery; the letters not being of Gothic form, but modern Roman."-ED.