Marble funerary altar of Cominia Tyche

Period: Flavian or Trajanic

Date: ca. A.D. 90–100

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 40 in. (101.6 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Philip Hofer, 1938

Accession Number: 38.27


This woman's name is known from the inscription below the portrait which reads: "To the spirits of the dead. To the most saintly Cominia Tyche, his most chaste and loving wife, [from] Lucius Annius Festus. [She] died at the age of twenty-seven years, eleven months, twenty-eight days. Also for himself and for his descendants." This cippus, or grave altar, is known to have been in a house near the Roman forum in the sixteenth century. It entered the collection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini during the seventeenth century. The jug and patera (libation dish) on the monument's sides allude to the common practice in antiquity of pouring liquids as an act of commemoration, in this instance recalling the modern tradition of placing flowers at the graveside.