Death

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Parts of a gold wreath buried with its owner in the Plovdiv region in the 2nd Century, Plovdiv Archaeological MuseumParts of a gold wreath buried with its owner in the Plovdiv region in the 2nd Century, Plovdiv Archaeological Museum

The man was dead and his family and friends were merry. The deceased, a Thracian aristocrat, would become a semi-god and would spend the rest of eternity in bliss. So, smiling and singing, mourners took his body out of Philippopolis and laid it onto a funeral pyre east of the city. His personal belongings were scattered over him, to serve him in death. Among the many things were a bronze candelabra and bronze vessels imported from Italy, a bunch of glass phials, spears, jewelry and vessels from gold and silver, a gold wrath. They added a helmet-cum-mask of silver and iron, representing the strong face of the deceased. They poured wine, ritually. Then they lit the pile of wood, flesh and metal. When the embers died down, they moved the ashes and the objects, deformed by the heat, into a small tomb a few meters away. In the following days, they covered the tomb and its inhabitant with a mound.

We don't know the man's name, or the year of his death. The funeral took place in the middle or the second half of the 1st Century AD. What is sure is that this ancient John Doe was not alone in his tomb. In the following two centuries several people were buried in his mound. They were probably members of his family. The Thracians would often bury their relatives in older mounds.

 

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