Tombs

 

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Tombs

  The remains of funerary architecture in Bostra are scanty and, for the most part, poor ; yet one must believe that, in the days of its splendour, the capital of the Arabian Province boasted monumental tombs in keeping with its other buildings. Along; the great high road which approaches the city from the west are countless heaps of ruins which were undoubtedly tomb structures of greater or less magnificence ; but these have perished utterly save only one, the round tower-tomb (111. 244) which is published herewith. On all sides of the city, and even inside the walls, are inscriptions from tombs that must have had some architectural features. In one of them a citizen refers to the tomb which he has erected as "perfection's fairest flower"". The sarcophagus discovered not far from the reservoir in the southeast quarter of the tower, and published with a drawing in Div. Ill,3 must have belonged to a tomb of considerable importance as a monument. Many tombs seem to have been marked by cippi, or  altar-like shafts, my drawings of which are also published in Div. III. These were of various types and of different proportions; one of them is dated 132 A. D.

 The only built tomb that has been spared, the round tower-tomb mentioned above, was published with a photograph and measured drawings by Brunnow. I republish it here partly to complete my catalogue of Bostrian buildings, and partly to introduce a detail which I discovered, and which has not been seen before, namely a lion's head from the cornice. The tomb is a low circular tower (111. 244) with a very perfectly made little dome of cut stone, the crown of which barely reaches above the cornice which crowns the cylinder that encloses it. The tower rested upon a square foundation only one course high.
It had a deep and well drawn base-moulding and a simple but elegant overhanging cornice. Inside, a simple cyma (c) marked the springing of the dome, the crowning stone of which was circular with a narrow moulding about it. The profile of the cornice is interesting, though the soffit of the corona was not undercut. My drawings show this detail and the base moulding below as if straight instead of curved in order to emphasize the profiles. A native of the village of Bosra showed me in his house

a piece of sculpture which he said he had brought from this tower-tomb. It was a water-spout consisting . of a lion's head with enough of the mouldings preserved on either side of it to prove that it had belonged to this cornice. The head is not well drawn, having lines more suggestive of a wolf than a lion'; but in execution and style it is not without interest owing to its likeness to lions' heads found among the ruins at Sic, especially to those found at the angles of an altar-pedestal dated early in the first century which is illustrated in Div. IV, Sect, A, under inscr. 101.

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