The death of Minicia Marcells, Pliny the Younger, 105/6 AD
"Ordering that the money.. for the wedding... be spent on incense, ointments and spices for the funeral"
This suggests how her funeral now had to be prepared for, as we can suggest the family was quite wealthy, as "clothes, perals and gems" were supposed to be for the wedding. The use of these ointments were used for ritual purposes, therefore shows how important reigion was, as Fundanus immediately had to be change plans, as they only had 8/9 days of mourning, so needed thses things to preserve and cleanse the body until the 8th/9th day.
Problems:Pliny wrote the letters and was intending on publishing them, therefore it could be argued that the source is exaggerated.
Theory vs Reality: It shows us the reality because they did have to follow the specific rituals and treat the body. It also shows the reality because Romans had to wash, annoint and wrap the bodies when they were deceased - only used on the wealthy (or middle class), as they could afford this treatment. However, it shows the theory because the source says how Fundanus (father) "ordered the money" associated with his daughter's death. Roman tradition goes that the women of the family had to do this and prepare the body and payment, if they were from a wealthy family, which we could suggest that this source is. Although, it could be a theory that Pliny is exaggerating the wealth of this family, and they're actually rather poor, as we see Fundanus sorting the money/funeral himself.
On Arria, Pliny the Younger, 1st Century AD
"took care of the funeral without her husband even knowing"
"She had left her mourning outside"
This shows us that Arria and her husband were wealthy, otherwise her son wouldn't had a funeral- just thrown into a grave pit if they were poor. It also shows us that wmen wanted to please their husbands as Arria didn't tell him to save his suffering and/or tries to hide her suffering. A proper funeral and burial was important to wealthy Romans.
Problems: Pliny in his letter could be exaggerating to make Arria look like a better wife and make the story of Arria seem more emotional and interesting. The story of Arria seems to be far fetched.
Theory vs Reality: This shows us the reality and the importance of a family member recieving a respectable funeral and burial. It shows us the attitude of women - they wanted to please their husbands. However, the story of Arria may be unreliable and/or far fetched- funeral without husband knowing seems unlikely.
Vestal Virgins, Plutarch, 7th Century BC
"the king set the term of service"
"they inspired pious reverence in others"
"some remained constant…