The funerary grave stelae of the Roman cavalrymen are large, impressive monuments set apart from their military counterparts by the ornate relief carvings which they exhibit. The two most common motifs featured on these tombstones are the rider relief motifs and the totenmahl motifs. Aspects of both the reliefs and the inscribed epitaphs are distinctly characteristic of the Roman military. Throughout the history of the Roman Empire, men in the auxiliary cavalry units were recruited from non-Roman allied tribes. These recruits brought with them foreign languages, customs, and beliefs. Through a comparative study of Roman cavalry tombstones found in Great Britain, Germany, and Syria, I have attempted to identify iconographic and epigraphic elements that are evidence of the ethnic origins of the cavalrymen who are commemorated on these funerary monuments.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Anthropology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Kramer, Jessica Colleen, "The Roman Riders: Ethnicity and Iconography on Roman Cavalrymen Tombstones" (2014). All Theses and Dissertations. 4343.
Romans, Roman army, cavalry, tombstones, ethnicity, identity