The Tomb of the Baker
The Tomb of Eurysaces the Baker is an impressive and peculiar ancient tomb in Rome dating back to around 30BC. The tomb was built by a former slave named Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces, who made his fortune as a baker and contractor. It was built in the Porta Maggiore at the junction of the Via Labicana and the Via Praenestina, which is visited by thousands of visitors and locals on daily basis. The tomb is trapezoidal, measuring 8.75, 6.85, 5.80 and 4.05 meters on its sides, of concrete with travertine facing. This facing takes the form of horizontal and vertical cylinders in rows, which possibly are designed to represent measures for grain or vessels for mixing dough. Over 30 feet high, the tomb, has many features that are extremely unique in the context of Roman ancient architecture, which has fascinated many historians enough to write extensively about it. The interesting shape and design of this tomb, suggests that it was constructed to fit the location as well as to highlight the tools of the baking trade of the time. The frieze at the top of the tomb depicts various elements of the bread-making process and is quite unique because normally the Roman remains depict images of great conquests and brutal battles, which made this tomb, stand out even more. One of the most striking features of this tomb is the series of cylindrical holes along the sides. It was later discovered that these unusual holes are the exact size of one unit of grain, so some people believe that Eurysaces was also creating a practical contribution to his society Its strange shape and decoration displays the various tools of the baker’s trade, from mixing bowls to kneading machines. In a way, the whole tomb can be read as an image of a bakery, or a big bread oven. Around the top run detailed sculpted friezes showing different stages in the bread-making process; from the buying of the grain, through grinding, mixing and baking, to the loaves being weighed and sent...
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