The Guardian / the 10 best ancient Romans

Professor Mary Beard picks out her favourite personae from the Roman empire’s 500-year history :

1 | Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces

A self-confident joker and wealthy self-made man, who must have made a small fortune out of a chain of bakeries in first-century BC Rome. All we know about him is from his large, expensive and wonderfully idiosyncratic tomb, still standing near the Porta Maggiore in Rome, constructed in the shape of baking equipment (the large circles imitate commercial kneading bowls). Around the top there is a detailed frieze with scenes of work in the bakery. And in case passersby still don’t get the point, there is the Latin inscription: “This is the tomb of Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces, the baker and contractor – apparet [geddit?]”…

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