Inscriptions from KY.Lou.SAM

The J. B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville houses an unusually large and homogeneous collection of some 130 Latin epitaphs and 550 fragments of epitaphs, all reportedly deriving from a small group of columbaria uncovered between 1897 and 1902 during construction of a Carmelite monastery and church of Santa Teresa beside the Corso d'Italia outside the Aurelian wall between the Porta Salaria and the Porta Pinciana in Rome. The vast majority are small tablets of the sort originally set beneath loculi, but the collection also includes eleven marble ash urns and seventeen funerary plaques of unusual shape (no doubt some mensae sepulcrales), as well as sixty-one terracotta urns, twenty-eight pieces of marble slabs, and four marble ash urns without inscriptions. All these, along with a number of molded lamps and a few figured terracotta panels (Campana reliefs), were donated to the Museum in 1929 by a prominent local benefactor, R.C. Ballard Thruston, whose agent had purchased them in Rome in 1912.

This substantial collection, which has never been cataloged, has been inaccessible for the past few years because of renovations to the building in which it is housed, and so its contents, with the exception of two ash urns recently published by L. Gigante shortly before the inscriptions went into storage (Vergilius 40 [1994] 69-75), can only be described generally. According to George Houston, who examined the stones briefly some years ago, several were included by Chr. Huelsen in CIL VI. Presumably, then, others too of the inscriptions in the Speed collection, like those published by Gigante, are to be found among the stones reported by G. Gatti and others in a series of reports in Bullettino Comunale and Notizie degli Scavi as having been unearthed by construction work near the Carmelite monastery during those years. Gatti, BullComm 33 (1905) 156-57 provides a useful inventory of the relevant texts: CIL VI 33364-33367, 33392-33397, 33413-33420, 33398-33412, 33428, 33472, 33535, 33453, 33532, 33421-33706, 33466, and 33544.

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