Crisis and Ambition : Tombs and Burial Customs in Third-Century CE Rome, Hardback Book


Tombs and burial customs are an exquisite source for social history, as their commemorative character inevitably expresses much of the contemporaneous ideology of a society.

This book presents, for the first time, a holistic view of the funerary culture of Rome and its surroundings during the third century AD.

While the third century is often largely ignored in social history, it was a transitional period, an era of major challenges - political, economic, and social- which inspired creativity and innovation, and paved the way for the new system of late antiquity. Barbara Borg argues that during this time there was, in many ways, a return to practices known from the Late Republic and early imperial period, with spectacular monuments for the rich, and a large-scale reappearance of collective burial spaces.

Through a study of terraced tombs, elite monuments, the catacomb nuclei, sarcophagi, and painted image decoration, this volume explores how the third century was an exciting period of experimentation and creativity, a time when non-Christians andChristians shared fundamental ideas, needs, and desires as well as cemeteries, tombs, and hypogea.

Ambition continued to be a driving force and a determining factor in all social classes, who found innovative solutions to the challenges they encountered.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336 pages, 140 in-text black and white illustrations and 8 pages of colour plates
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: European history
  • ISBN: 9780199672738


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