"Colombarium of Pomponius Hylas Within The Park On Via Latina" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 15th July 2011
This monument, discovered in 1831 by the erudite antiquarian and collector of artifacts, stands a short distance from the Aurelian Walls, in the public gardens behind the Scipio family sepulchre, access is via number 10 via Latina along a side road that originally connected via Appia and via Latina . It is a laterite built columbarium belonging to Pomponio Hylas and his wife Pomponia Vitalis, dated between the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius (14-54 A.D.).
Inside the Scipioni Park (Parco degli Scipioni), close to the Porta Latina in the Aurelian Walls, in what was once a cemetery, columbarium houses a tomb extremely interesting. This Colombarium of Pomponius Hylas (Colombario di Pomponio Hylas) is a burial chamber whose walls are covered with rows of niches where cinerary urns, small terracotta vases that contained the ashes of the dead, were kept. These rooms look like colombaria, thus the origin of the name given to this type of tomb.
Though small in size, it is very significant due to its exceptional state of preservation. It consists of a rectangular room with a vaulted roof that finishes with an apsis that presents an aedicule (small temple) in the middle. Its construction can be dated back to the period between emperors Tiberius and Claudius (14-54AD). On the wall in front of the entrance steps there is a mosaic with an inscription that shows the names of two spouses, Pomponius Hylas and his wife. Two griffins faced are depicted below the inscription. The ashes of the two spouses are contained in cinerary urns, one of which is currently located in the Cathedral of Ravello, where it was transferred following a sack during the Middle Ages.
The names of the dead couple can be read in the inscription found on the panel in a wall mosaic of glass tiles surrounded by sea -shells, opposite the entrance steps below a niche which contained the funeral urns. To the right of the entrance the columbarium itself is situated, a rectangular shape with an apse at the far end at the centre of which stands a little temple aedicule, which contained the ashes of the founders of the sepulcher Granius Nestor and Vinileia Pedone, whose names are inscribed on a marble tablet below the aedicule. The sepulcher is decorated with valuable paintings with a Dionysian theme from the first half of the first century A.D. and with painted stucco dated as part of refurbishment in Flavian time (69 -96 A.D.)
The mosaic can be dated back to the Flavian Age (69-96 AD) and belongs to a successive reconstruction of the tomb. At the end of the stairs an underground room opens on the right. Vine shoots, birds and cupids are painted on the vault. Two subjects, Granius Nestor and Vilileia Hedone, who probably were the founders of the tomb, are depicted in the aedicule at the bottom of the apsis, formed by two small columns, a frieze and a tympanum. A naked youngster, identified as Dionysus, is depicted in the tympanum of the aedicule. The most important scene painted on the architrave is referred to the episode of Orpheus among the Thracians. The apsis is decorated with pomegranate shoots and three female figures identified as the three Victories.
On the other walls of the colombarium there are smaller niches, with scenes of Orpheus descending to Ades, Hercules holding Cerberus, the torment of Ocnus and Achilles with the centaur Chiron. The colombarium continued to be used until the second century AD, as shown by an urn with an inscription dedicated to a freed man of emperor Antoninus Pius, now at the Capitoline Museums. The perfectly preserved body of a woman was found in a sarcophagus under the floor, but it immediately turned into dust the very moment the sarcophagus was opened.
The columbarium of Pomponius Hylas, close to the Porta Latina, today still relatively well preserved. Pomponius Hylas was a slave who had obtained his freedom and who became wealthy under Augustus and Tiberius. He let build this colombarium for himself and his wife.
Colombarium of Pomponius Hylas Within The Park On Via Latina
Via di Porta San Sebastiano 11 (Via di Porta Latina)
The columbarium is located inside the Parco degli Scipioni (Park of Villa degli Scipioni/ The Park On Via Latina/ Park of Scipio)
Via di Porta San Sebastiano (Appio), 18 (Rione XIX Celio, Municipio I, Regio I Porta Capena)
00179, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Celio (Terme di Caracalla) (Roma centro)
Colombarium of Pomponius Hylas Within The Park On Via Latina is Shown By "Map K Zone" As "92"
Hours: Closed: Monday, January 1, May 1, December 25. Open to organized groups by reservation only. Max 10 persons per group.
Entrance: Adults: € 3,00, Concessions: € 2,00. Please note: The price of the ticket does not include guided tours organized by Cultural Associations.
Booking: Booking is required. Individual and Groups: tel. +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm). Schools: tel. +39 0642888888 (Moday-Friday: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm; Saturday: 9.00 am- 1.00 pm).