Chapter

The Visual Landscape

Bonnie Effros

in Merovingian Mortuary Archaeology and the Making of the Early Middle Ages

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232440
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928183 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520232440.003.0005
The Visual Landscape

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Different difficulties arise in conjunction with any attempt to reconstruct how Merovingian cemeteries appeared to contemporaries. At the very least, the impermanent but nonetheless dominant features of burial sites, such as trees and flowers of other flora, have left little trace for modern scholars. Even evidence of the most permanent components of Merovingian cemeteries, such as stone tombs and inscriptions, is not entirely reliable. The majority of sarcophagi and epitaphs surviving in their original form are no longer in their initial locations, and drawings and transcriptions do not necessarily convey their appearance accurately. Their provenances were often either not recorded or have been since lost. The graves that were not thus marked, with few exceptions, must have outnumbered those with inscriptions or tombs significantly even in southern Gaul during the late imperial period. Most of the epitaphs were intended to be legible only from the inside of sarcophagi and were thus visible only at the funeral.

Keywords: sarcophagi; epitaphs; tombs; Gaul; inscriptions

Chapter.  18146 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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