Tombs of Via Statilia

In 1916, during work to widen Via Statilia at the crossroads with Via di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, some funerary monuments concealed for centuries beneath the wall of Villa Wolkonsky were brought to light. The tombs, built along the Via Caelemontana, were constructed between the late second century BC and the first half of the first century BC and were used for nearly 150 years. The first tomb on the left is the best preserved. It is a rectangular structure made of limestone blocks; on the façade above the entrance door the inscription naming its owners still survives, simply carved on the blocks of the wall and framed by two round shields, also carved on the blocks themselves


"Publius Quinctius, freedman of Titus, bookseller; Quinctia, freedwoman of Titus, wife (of Publius); Quinctia Agatea, freedwoman of Publius, concubine (of Publius). The heirs may not cede the tomb"

The inscription tells the odd family story of Publius Quinctius, a freedman (a slave freed by his master), a professional bookseller, and his wife Quinctia, also a former slave freed by the same individual. The tomb, as the inscription tells us, was also the burial place of Quinctia Agatea, a former slave of Quinctius whom he freed and who became his partner after the death of his wife: the title concubina, contrasting with that of uxor, wife, indicates that this second relationship was not sanctioned by marriage. Importantly, the word concubina was added later, probably when relations between Quinctius and his freedwoman changed after the death of his legitimate wife. If this interpretation is correct, the tomb was built when Quinctia was still alive and Agatea was a former slave, now a freedwoman, who was on such good terms with Publius Quinctius and his wife that she decided to share their final resting place. The last sentence, “Sepulcrum heredes ne sequantur”, often found on funerary monuments, indicates that the tomb was not intended for use by others after the death of its first owners: their wishes were ignored and the graves, or formae, dug into the tufa for the first burials were destroyed by other later ones; subsequently other cremation burials were placed in the tomb.
The third funerary monument, to the left of that described above, belonged to A(ulus) Caesonius A.f. Paetus and his freedmen, Philemos and Thelgennia Philumina, as we know from an inscription on a travertine block of the façade. On closer examination, it becomes apparent that the Caesonii were not in fact the first owners of the tomb, but had incorporated an older monument in the shape of an altar into a larger burial chamber. The older monument had a base consisting of two rows of blocks on which stood a moulded parallelepiped block imitating the shape of an altar.