In France, a Roman "chair of the emperor" was found in a funeral pyre

In France, a Roman "chair of the emperor" was found in a funeral pyre
In France, a Roman "chair of the emperor" was found in a funeral pyre

Specialists from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research of France (Inrap) discovered the remains of the so-called curule chair, which only the most senior Roman dignitaries had the right to use.

According to the Inrap website, the amazing find was made in Epagny-Metz-Tessi, near the town of Annecy in the Haute-Savoie. Archaeologists have found two burials from the Roman period there, and they contained cremated remains.

The found funeral pyres were dated by scientists to the second half of the 1st century AD. The large number of burial objects discovered during excavations testifies to the very high social status of the deceased. It also helped to partially restore the "splendor" of the rituals used during that funeral.

One of the fires was intended for the cremation of a relatively elderly person. Archaeologists called the funerary decoration luxurious: no less than 20 expensive ceramic vases, the same number of glass vessels, and 46 bronze items, including dishes, were thrown into the fire. By the way, the analysis showed that the dishes were not empty - the deceased person was sent on his last journey with a supply of wine and food.

In the same burial, a number of luxury items were found, including a pair of gold earrings and fragments of fabric with gold and silver threads. But the most unusual find was the iron curule chair. It was a kind of traveling "throne", which got its name from the similarity to the saddle.

Only very high-ranking people could use such a chair. Servants everywhere carried it after the master and laid it out when he wanted to sit down.

The couch chair was one of the main symbols of power in ancient Rome. According to the Etruscan tradition, its use was initially allowed only to the highest magistrates, consuls and praetors, that is, people who possessed the imperium - the power to command and punish.

After the formation of the Roman Empire, the status of such a chair became even higher. Under Augustus, this chair generally became one of the attributes of the emperor. In the 1st century AD, the curule chair also became a luxury item - it was used not only by magistrates, but also by representatives of the elite of society, although they were often the same people.

It is noteworthy that in historical written sources two types of such a seat are mentioned. One of them was intended for a civil magistracy, it was he who became a luxury item for household purposes. The second type of curule chair was intended exclusively for the military elite. It had a pronounced saddle shape.

Scientists have not been able to determine by the type of chair found, who exactly was cremated about 2,000 years ago - a military or civilian official. They cannot even determine the sex of the buried person. Archaeologists do not exclude that it could be a woman, which is indirectly evidenced by the found earrings and fabrics. By the way, the found curule chair was only the fourth such item ever found in France.

As for the second pyre, it was used to cremate a child who died between the ages of five and eight. The richness of the grave goods in this case also indicates an aristocratic origin. In this burial were found 17 ceramic vessels, 10 bronze vases, four glass vessels, a burial bed, caskets, bone "chips" for a board game and copper instruments.

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