Friday, February 08, 2008

Two Men and a Sarcophagus

In a post below (titled The Perfidious Myth of the Unified Church) I talk briefly about and show a photo of a sarcophagus in the Vatican Museum. This is officially titled "The Sarcophagus of the Two Brothers". Following is what my classmate Perry had to say about this beautiful monument:

Two Men and a Sarcophagus

The highlight of the whole adventure occurred for me in Museo Pius in a lecture by Professor Martin Wallraff. While touring tombstones the class gathered around a popular and somewhat peculiar sarcophagus, the Sarcophagus of the Two Brothers. Carved together on one sarcophagus and buried together within it (facts that together represent a highly unusual story) were two men. Professor Martin did not debunk the story presented of two brothers; rather, he simply questioned the interpretation as definitive. It is possible they were brothers; however, there is no Roman precedent for brothers sharing a grave anywhere in the Roman catacombs. Many examples exist of husbands and wives sharing a single grave—a fact which at least begs the question of whether these two men may have been lovers. For me as a young Christian man, coming to turns with my sexuality was like the ripping of the veil the moment Christ died. I was shattered and torn apart. So this one moment gave meaning and purpose to every step it took to get to this point of the journey. The plausibility of the professor's question was like a bandage that holds torn flesh back together allowing the healing to begin. The moment defied any expectations I held for this trip. With evidence right in front of me, I had to concede that it is possible that some 1600 years ago two affluent Roman Christian male lovers were buried together. I could have exploded for joy because I could see myself in the history of Christianity for the first time in 25 years!

1 comment:

Alison said...

Andy- I've really been enjoying your posts on your experience in Italy!! Perhaps you and your classmate might also enjoy an article I read for a class on a tomb in Ancient Egypt. It also portrays two men, presumed to have been lovers.

Reeder, G.
2000 Same-sex desire, conjugal constructs, and the tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep. World Archaeology 32(2): 193-208.