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Necropolis (Scavi) Tomb A
The Tomb of C. Polilius Heracla

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From 'The Tomb of St. Peter' by Margherita Guarducci, Hawthorn. 1960

This tablet is on the tomb of Caius Polilius Heracla (first half of the second century A.D.). The words in Vatic(ano) ad circum can be read on lines 6 and 7.

He commissioned his heirs to build him a sepulchre on the Vatican near the circus, in the vicinity of the monument to Ulpius Narcissus.






From: 'The Tomb of St Peter' by Margherita Guarducci, Hawthorn Books, 1960
The existence of the arena in that area of the Vatican is proven by an epigraph found during the recent excavations under the basilica. The evidence is a marble tablet placed on the door of a sepulcher; the inscription on the tablet state that a certain C. Popilius Heracla had required his heirs to bury him in a mausoleum "in the Vatican near the arena" (in Vaticano ad circum) (Fig. 5). Since the mausoleum in which the heirs placed the remains of their benefactor is certainly that which the excavations discovered, we can deduce with certitude that the arena was in the immediate vicinity.

Tablet Translation from: P. Zander. The Vatican Necropolis, in "Roma Sacra", 25, Roma 2003
Into the hands of the gods. Caius Popilius Heracla salutes his heirs. To you, my heirs, I ask, order and give you mandate, in the name of your faith, to erect for me a monument on the Vatican, near the circus, near the monument to Ulpius Narcissus, for a value of six thousand sesterces. For the construction of the sepulchre, Novia Trophime will be given three thousand sesterces and three thousand sesterces will go to his co-heir. And I want my remains to be placed there and those of my wife, Fadia Maxima, should anything bad happen to her. I leave the rights relative to this sepulchre to my freedmen and to those who, by will, will have been freed, or better, to those I have freed. Futhermore, I leave these rights to Novia Trophime, to her freedmen and freedwomen and to the descendants of the above mentioned and establish that she is entitled to go, enter and visit the sepulchre to carry out the funeral rites.

P. Zander. The Vatican Necropolis, in "Roma Sacra", 25, Roma 2003
Margherita Guarducci, The Tomb of St Peter, Hawthorn Books, 1960
John Evangelist Walsh, The Bones of St Peter, New York, 1982
J. Toynbee - J.W. Perkins. The Shrine of St Peter and the Vatican Excavations, London 1956
Michele Basso. Guide to the Vatican Necropolis, Fabbrica di S. Pietro in Vaticano, 1986

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