Location of Tomb B

Necropolis (Scavi) Tomb B
The Tomb of Fannia Redempta

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Tomb B - Fannia Redempta
(Drawing by B. M. Apollonj-Ghetti.)
From 'The Shrine of St. Peter' by Toynbee and Perkins, Pantheon. 1957

The Tomb of Fannia Redempta (Tomb B). The interior is shown as it appeared after the modifications undertaken in the third century. The detail of the facade (the lower part, of the second century; the upper part, Constantinian) is not shown. The staircase dates probably from the dismantlement of the tomb by Constantine's workmen.







From: 'The Shrine of St. Peter' by Toynbee and Perkins, Pantheon. 1957
Tomb B, the second tomb from the eastern end of the excavations in the northern row, is named after Fannia Redempta, the wife of Aurelius Hermes, a freeman of the two Augusti (that is, of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, 286-305). A bride at thirteen, she was forty-six years five months and seven days old when she died, after thirty-three years of successful married life (coniunx incomparabilis, her husband styles her).14 Her epitaph is cut in irregular letters on a marble slab let into the side let into the side of her terra-cotta sarcophagus, which rests on an unopened grave-recess built up against the east wall of the inner chamber of this bipartite mausoleum.

From: 'Guide to the Vatican Necropolis' by Michele Basso, Fabbrica di S. Pietro
Tomb B is subdivided into two parts, denoted as B and B1, the entrance and main part respectively; thus we see that typical elements of a house of the living can also be found in the "house of the dead".

On the walls of the first room are the rows of niches used for holding the cineraria, urns or vases to contain the ashes after cremation; these are indicative of a pagan burial.

In the second room, besides other cineraria, there are some interments in arcosolia. The walls are all frescoed with flower and animal designs. The vault has a fresco with the allegory of the "Sun Chariot", surrounded by molded figures of the seasons.

This very ancient tomb shows some divergences; the vault is still original, but the wall have been modified, first to accommodate new burials and later again at the time of the work on the Constantinian basilica.

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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