Saturday, November 22, 2008
I Think I Would Have Liked This Guy
"Tivoli is my home town, Flavius Agricola is my name... Friends who read this, do my bidding. Mix the wine, drink deep, wreathed in flowers, and do not refuse to pleasure pretty girls. When death comes, earth and fire devour all."
On a recent trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I came across a Funerary Monument for one Flavius Agricola. The above is the epitaph on his monument. Sounds like a guy I would have gotten on with. Obviously, the Pope felt otherwise.
Found in 1624 when the foundation was dug for Bernini's bronze canopy over the high altar of St. Peter's in Rome, Flavius' earthy epitaph and the presence of this pagan effigy near the tomb of St. Peter so incensed the pope that he ordered the inscription effaced (after it was recorded) and the monument thrown into the Tiber. It was rescued by the pope's nephew, Cardinal Franceso Barberini, an avid collector of Roman antiquities.
Image ©2008 Indianapolis Museum of Art