Ashes to Ashes – April 4, 37 AD

The Roman Emperor, Tiberius, was smothered to death by Marco (and possibly Caligula) on March 16, 37 AD. The Senate rejoiced and refused to vote to grant Tiberius with divine honors and mobs filled the streets with chants to throw his body in the Tiber. Instead, Tiberius was cremated and his ashes were interred at the Mausoleum of Augustus on April 4. The ancient Romans commonly cremated the royal family members upon their death. The building used for the funeral pyre was called an ustrinum. The ustrinum of the House of Augustus was located near the Mausoleum of Augustus. It was described by Strabo as “a travertine enclosure with a metal grating and black poplars planted inside it”. In 1777, while excavating at the corner of Corso and Via degli Otto Cantonia, a fine alabaster urn and six l...

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