At the height of its power, the Roman Empire ringed the Mediterranean, influencing any number of conquered peoples with its judicial, political and artistic achievements. Remnants of these influences, such as aqueducts, mosaics or protective walls, can still be seen throughout Europe and the U.K.
While the Romans may not have considered Barcelona, Spain, as important a site as say, Tarragon (a well-preserved portside city to the southeast), visitors can still see the interesting bits and pieces the empire left behind.
More specifically, are the tombs located in the city’s Barri Gotic section. Romans typically buried their dead in mausoleums or in a necropolis outside city walls, but as modern-day Barcelona expanded beyond its ancient boundaries, these relics of a distant past unexpectedly became an integral part of a contemporary neighborhood.
Sometimes, stones are so worn, there’s nothing that can be done to restore them to their former glory.
Now that spring is finally in the air (multiple friends on the East Coast are now reporting crazed robin behavior), it’s time to begin thinking about possible stone repairs.
But before heading down to Home Depot for some cement mix, consider these factors: Proper and long lasting stone reconstruction of headstones depends a lot on the local climate. Is the environment humid? Pounded by scouring, dry desert winds? Or steadily worn away by damp, incessant drippy rain? Then there is the stone itself. Is it limestone? Sandstone? Granite?
Here are a couple of posts by Jonathan Appell to help you plan out the best way to restore the old stones in your historic cemeteries.
Enjoy, and if you want to show off the results of your repairs, shoot me an email with some photos. BTG would be happy to showcase your work.
Sharing this interesting post from Adventures in Cemetery Hopping.
Between carvings and symbols and names, the wealth of surprises in historic cemeteries never cease to amaze me. For example, this headstone is located in a small, upstate New York town. It would be a story in itself on how she managed to come by this name. Here are a few things I was able to find out.
Huldah. Hebrew in origin, and pronounced hool-daw.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Huldah was “a Prophetess; wife of Shallum, the keeper of the wardrobe in the time of King Josiah. It seems that Huldah enjoyed great consideration as a prophetess, for when Hilkiah found the scroll of the Law he, with his four companions, took it to her. On that occasion she prophesied that God would bring evil upon Jerusalem and upon its inhabitants. The king, however, was told that he would die in peace before the evil days came (II Kings xxii. 14-20; II Chron. xxxiv. 22-28).”
The Myth-Folklore Course Diary notes that as often with Hebrew names, “Huldah” has a meaning: “weasel.” Although northern Europeans often regard the weasel as a masculine creature, in many cultures the weasel is a quintessentially feminine creature, sometimes revered as a midwife (as in the birth of Heracles), but also feared as a witch (as, for example, in Apuleius).”
Many thanks to J. Matsumura for sending this excerpt my way. If you ever wondered about the reason behind the Jizo statues marking the graves of Japanese children, here’s an enlightening excerpt from the August 1, 1913 issue of the Enumclaw Herald:
“Among the Buddhists in Japan it is believed that the souls of children go farther after death to Sue-no-ha-wara (the stony river-bed) and there they remain until they reach maturity under the care of Jizobosatsu, who is represented as a priest with a long cane in one hand and ball in the other.
He is said to stand in the center of the Kawara, where he preaches to the children as they pile up stones, one for the salvation of their father, one for the mother, the third for brothers, the fourth for sisters and the fifth for their own salvation.
When night comes and the wind blows hard a gigantic evil spirit appears and with huge iron rod knocks down the heaps of stones which the children have made, and they are so frightened that they run to Jizo and hide themselves in the big sleeves of his Kimono, which have a miraculous way of increasing in size according to the number of children who seek refuge. Then the evil spirit disappears and the children begin again the work of heaping up the stones.
Passing these cemeteries in Japan, one sees tombs that have the image of Jizo carved upon them, as the parents take that way of going the special favor of Jizo for their children, and one will see little piles of stones built up by the parents and brothers and sisters of the children with the hope of helping in the tedious work of the little ones in the Kawara.”
Visitors to West Cemetery portion of Highgate Cemetery will recognize these photos showing view from the top and the bottom of the stairs into the Circle of Lebanon mausoleum. For more photos that really give a more full overview of what the Circle looks like, check out this Google photo collection.