AB URBE CONDITA: Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella


The Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella can be considered the symbol of the ancient Appian Way , known and reproduced from the Renaissance not less than the most famous monuments of Rome and object of particular attention from archaeologists, architects , designers and painters . The tomb was built in the third mile of the Via Appia in the years 30-20 BC dominant compared to the road, just at the point where the leucititica lava flow stopped dating back to around 260.000 years ago, ejected from the volcanic complex of the Alban Hills . It is a monumental tomb built for a Roman noblewoman of which are known , thanks enrollment still preserved , only some of its degrees of kinship. His father was Quintus Caecilius Metellus , consul in 69 BC and that between 68 and 65 conquered the island of Crete from which derived the name Cretico ; her husband was , in all probability , Marcus Licinius Crassus, who distinguished himself in the wake of Caesar in Gaul in the shipment and son of the famous Crassus , a member the first triumvirate with Caesar and Pompeus . The imposing tomb should therefore be interpreted both as a tribute to the deceased and as a form of celebration of the glories , wealth and prestige of the family buyer . The monument consists of a square base made ​​of concrete flakes of flint originally lined with travertine blocks , of which today only a few heads stuck in the nucleus because of repeated stripped of the Renaissance and on this basis is raises an impressive cylinder , still covered by the original travertine slabs , on whose summit there is a marble frieze decorated with ox skulls and garlands of flowers and fruit interrupted by a high relief with trophy of arms and the figure of a barbarian prisoner with his hands tied behind his back . Probably the cylinder was originally topped by a mound of earth covered with vegetation . The interior of the tomb consists of a burial chamber of a slightly conical shape with a diameter of about 6:50 m , which occupies the entire height of the cylinder , open at the top with an “oculus” and lined by a brick curtain of good workmanship . The top of the mausoleum is today crowned by a raised masonry blocks of lava stone that keeps a type of Ghibelline battlements concerning amendments to building made ​​by the Caetani family to transform their tomb in the main tower of the castle , placed in the wider Castrum Caetani.

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