Skip to comments.Bones In Togas Puzzle Vatican Arhaeologists
Posted on 05/20/2006 7:30:15 PM PDT by blam
Bones in togas puzzle Vatican archaeologists
By Nick Pisa in Rome
Archaeologists exploring one of Rome's oldest catacombs are baffled by neat piles of more than 1,000 skeletons dressed in elegant togas.
The macabre find emerged as teams of historians slowly picked their way through the complex network of underground burial chambers, which stretch for miles under the city.
They say the tomb, which has been dated to the first century AD, is the first known example of a "mass burial".
The archaeologists are unable to explain why so many apparently upper-class Romans - who would normally have been cremated - were buried in the same spot, apparently at the same time.
Forensic tests are being carried out to try to establish whether the Romans suffered violent deaths, or were victims of an undocumented epidemic or natural disaster.
There are dozens of catacombs beneath the ancient city, some dating back 2,000 years and many used as burial places by early Christians. Others were used as secret places of worship to avoid persecution.
The Vatican's Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology is overseeing the dig. Its chief inspector of catacombs, Raffaella Giuliani, said: "This is the earliest example of such a mass burial. Usually two or three bodies at the most were put into holes dug out of the rock in the catacombs, but in these case we have several rooms filled with skeletons.
"They are placed one on top of the other and not in a disorderly fashion. They have been carefully buried, with dignity, but the puzzle is why so many at a time?"
The skeletons were dressed in fine robes, many containing gold thread, and wrapped in sheets covered with lime, as was common in early Christian burials.
The discovery was made at the Catacomb of SS Peter and Marcellinus on the ancient Via Labicana in south-east Rome.
Miss Giuliani said there was no obvious sign that violence was the cause. "We are trying to establish whether the skeletons were buried there following some form of epidemic or natural disaster.
It is possible they could have been persecuted and killed by the Romans and then buried there by fellow Christians - we just don't know."
The Vatican will officially present the discovery next month, along with officials from the University of Bordeaux who had been involved in the excavations.
No. Toga party gone horribly wrong.
It's not a mass burial... it's a TOGA party!
I think I would rather be buried in a Toga instead of a stuffy suit.
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They may have actually saw Jesus, his disciples or knew the disciples friends or relatives and were saved. Why can't any class of people from any region or civilization believe in Christ? I envy their almost first hand knowledge.
Roman Republican Party Reptiles?
Question that may never be answered: Did Jesus ever travel to Rome? If not, I wonder why not?
in sheets covered with lime
Better a toga than.......a tutu!
Killed by the pagans for refusing to renounce Christ most likely.
My guess: they were obliged to take poison.
Bring in a 'psychic detective'. . .
That could be if they were Patricians.
It could have been the secret society behind the Heavens Gate cult, no?
His kingdom was not of this world. He came to the land of His chosen people to die and rise again
They may have seen or even heard Jesus speak.
The Romans were amazingly tolerant of other folks' religions, which probably came from living in a polytheistic society.
Of course. We know the Romans didn't accept American Express...
As do I. Wouldn't it be great to have all your questions answered and to know the Lord in person on the earth?
Bones in a toga. Guess they are filming a new season.
It's probably too late to apprehend the perpetrators.
Did they find a salt shaker?
Maybe not. Is Jimmy Hoffa among them?
The Theban Legion and St. Maurice
"According to the earliest accounts we have, an entire Roman legion was martyred for refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods and/or take an oath to extirpate the Christians of Gaul.
The year was 287 or thereabouts. Diocletian had divided imperial rule with Maximian Herculius. The two claimed to be sons of the gods, incorporated the names of Jove and Hercules into their titles, and set about imposing Roman peace to the empire. A revolt was in progress in Gaul, its adherents calling themselves the Bagaudians. It was to quell this disturbance that Maximian brought up the Theban Legion from Egypt.
The region of Thebes was the most fiercely Christian of all Egypt. Supposedly this whole legion of 6,600 men were Christians. Ordered to sacrifice to pagan deities they refused, and were encouraged by their commanders, Maurice, Exuperius and Candidus to remain strong. Consequently, Maximian had 1/10th of the Theban soldiers executed. When the rest of the men remained stubborn, he killed more, and finally slaughtered everyone who was left. Certainly Maximian was brutal enough to order such a deed. Maurice was beheaded, too. This took place near Lake Geneva. The memory of the event was so strong that in the middle of the following century, a church was built in their honor. Bishop Theodore claimed he had a vision showing where the martyrs' bones were buried. The name of the town of Saint-Moritz, Switzerland preserves the memory of Maurice."
... and purple shrouds ...
It was probably a trend that became fashionable then died down. Maybe something to do with a resurrection cult or the parusius (the return).
I hope they will be testing for poison. That was my guess too. Nero, Caligula, Diocletian and a number of others were very cruel to Christians.
I doubt poison lasts that long. Unless it was a slow metal based poisoning over a period of at least weeks and their bodies incorporated it in their bones.
Some mad emperor slaughtered a bunch of folks he didn't like and disposed of the corpses?
Bones in Togas - I saw them in concert.
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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