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Italian port cities were characterized by a high degree of connectivity that created unique social conditions and a distinctive funerary culture. My paper posits that human migration led to collective organization and, closely related, organized collective burial. There are two categories of evidence for this sort of burial: epigraphic sources attest that associations (collegia) maintained communal burial sites and funerary monuments with large capacities would be suitable for such a burial community. Even though epigraphic and architectural evidence usually do not overlap, the two types of evidence can be analyzed separately. One of the main questions relates to the external and internal group dynamics of burial communities. Externally, striking objects and buildings show that the public face of burial communities was on par with that of individuals and households. Internally, collective action maintained the cohesion of the group, which was, however, also subject to an internal hierarchy. My conclusion is that burial communities could provide a meaningful social environment in ports and other cities with substantial migrant populations.
Reflections: Harbour City Deathscapes in Roman Italy and Beyond
Borbonus, Dorian, "Organized Collective Burial in the Port Cities of Roman Italy" (2020). Books and Book Chapters by University of Dayton Faculty. 81.