Funerary Inscription of Nicella
Late Antique (Christian)
replica: by artist Carrie Allen
gift of: Carrie Allen
date of the original: unknown
provenance of the original: catacombs of San Callisto, Rome
description: Stele with Latin inscription. Plaster replica; marble original. Height 37.5 cm, width 64 cm, depth 3 cm.
This marble inscription, found in the catacombs of Rome, is a funerary stele or slab which was placed across the opening of a loculus, or slot-type grave. The inscription translates as follows:
Nicella, God’s virgin, who lived for more or less 35 years. She was placed [here] 15 days before the Kalends of May [17th April]. For the well deserving one in peace.
There are Christian clues here in the form of the phrases bene merenti (“to the well deserving”) and in pace (“in peace”). The inscription also includes some overt Christian symbolism: the symbols for Alpha, Chi Rho, and Omega (see: "Chi-Rho" Oil Lamp), and a dove holding an olive branch.
(See also: Funerary Inscription of Apuleia Crysopolis; Funerary Inscription of Aurelius Hermia and His Wife.)