I was reading Holliday 2002:83-91 on the Tomb of Q. Fabius on the Esquiline and wanted to re-look at color images because of how he emphasized the use of the dextrarum iunctio as a symbol concordia, fides, pax and pietas in this context (p. 88). I started worrying about the child behind the figures.
Is that a pig? Has anyone suggested that before? [ I admit I’m a little obsessed with Romans and their pigs. ] If so it would strengthen Holliday’s claims that Fabius the labelled figure in the front of boy might be representing a pater patratus, one of the fetiales, or perhaps the verbenarius, an idea he gets from Felletti Maj.
Holliday assumed the plant borne by this individual was in the form of a crown, but that need not be the case based Pliny NH 22.5 (0ur only source for this information):
there shall be assigned even to dull, that is to say, lowly plants all the dignity that is their due, since it is a fact that the founders and enlargers of the Roman Empire derived from this source also an immense advantage, because it was from them that came the tufts used when the State needed cures, and also the verbanae required in holy ceremonies and in embassies. At any rate both names mean the same thing, that is, a turf (gramen) from the citadel pulled up with its own earth; and on every occasion when envoys were sent to the enemy to perform clarigatio, that is to demand in loud tones the restitution of plundered property, one in particular was called verbena-bearer.
So maybe I’m crazy but doesn’t it look like vines wrapped around Fabius’ arm?