Tombstone of Julia Velva

Carving on the top of the tombstone - Yorkshire Museum, York

200AD - 300AD

This finely carved gravestone shows an upper class Roman dining scene.  The size and quality of the stone is a statement of high family status, as is the scene it depicts.

The figure at the centre of the image is a woman, probably Julia herself, enjoying the meal reclining on a couch.  She has a wine-jar in her hand.  The carving also shows a young girl, seated, a small table, a young man - possibly a servant - and an older, bearded man in a tunic.  This male figure is presumed to be Julia's heir, Aurelius Mercurialis.

The inscription beneath is translated as:

'To the spirits of the departed (and) of Julia Velva: she lived most dutifully 50 years.  Aurelius Mercurialis, her heir, had this set up , and in his lifetime made this for himself and his family.'


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