The Half-Open Door. A Common Symbolic Motif within Roman Sepulchral Sculpture.
Odense University Press, Odense, 1977. 174,10,30p. ills.(B&W photographs). Theses. Paperback. Diss.Odense universitet. Series: Odense University Classical Studies. Vol.10. 'The monograph is concerned with the appearances of a door, sometimes fully open or closed, but more often half-open, as a motif on funereary relief monuments, normally of stone, from the area of the Roman empire, and dating mostly from the third century B.C. to the third century A.D. The choses door representations, the author states (...) are symbolic (p.10). The groups of monuments on which the door appears are ash-urns, ash-chests, funerary altars, grave stelae, loculus slabs, and sarcophagi of four kinds: Etruscan, columnar, Western columnar, and trigil-sarcophagi. The following chapter is devoted to interpretations of the symbolism of the door and its accompanying motifs. (...) Passages are then quoted from literary surces from Homer via Greek and Roman drama to Lucretius, Cicero, Roman poets, Christian writers, and the Bible; most pagan and Old Testament texts emphasize the finality of the gate of death, whereas some later Roman authors believed that it was possible to return to a new life, and the Christian used the door image both of those of the underworld now vanquished, and of the heavenly doors to resurrection a universal apotheosis. Ancient religious and philosophical beliefs concerning the afterlife are then reviewed (following Cumont), and the work concludes with a catalogue of selected examples of each main type of funerary monumnet, some of them illustrated.' (MALCOLM A.R. COLLEDGE in The Classical Review (New Series), 1979, pp.186-187). From the library of Prof. Carl Deroux.