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COLUMBARIUM
Properly a dove-cote. The word was metaphorically applied to a subterranean vault provided with rows of small niches, lying one above the other, and intended for the reception of the urns containing the ashes of the dead. These large burial places were built by rich people whose freedmen were too numerous to be interred in the family burial-place. They were also erected by the Caesars for their slaves and freedmen. Several of these still exist, for instance, that of Livia, the consort of Augustus, who built one for her freedmen on the Appian road. Common burial-places, in which a niche could be bespoken beforehand, were sometimes constructed by private individuals on speculation for people who were too poor to have a grave of their own. Columbaria were usually built by religious or mercantile societies, or by burial clubs for their own members. In such cases the members contributed a single capital payment and yearly subscriptions, which gave them the right to a decent burial and a niche in the vault. The names of the dead were inscribed on marble tablets over each niche. (See cut.)

Pictures and Media
COLUMBARIUM OF THE FREEDMEN OF OCTAVIA. (Near the Porta Latina, Rome.)
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PLACE HOLDER FOR COUNTER
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