“Bartolomeo Fonte is greeting his friend Francesco Sasseti… You have asked me for a more detailed account of the body that was discovered at the Via Appia. I hope that my pen manages to describe the beauty and grace of this female. If not the whole of Rome would be my witness, this note would appear to be unbelievable… At the bottom of the vault there was a marble sarcophagus containing a human body. This body was placed face down and covered with two fingers’ breadth of fragrant ointments. When the workers, starting with the head, were removing the ointment they were faced with the head of a girl with features so immaculate, as if this person had just been buried that same day. Her long black hair was plaited into a woman’s coiffure and clinging firmly to the head. It was covered by a net made out of silk and gold. The auricles were small, the forehead particularly delicate, the eyes framed by dark eyelashes and standing out by their specific form: they were only closed so much as for the white of the eyeball to shine through. Also the delicate form of the nasal wings had been preserved, and this part of the body was so soft that it retreated when touching it with a finger. The slightly opened lips were red, the teeth small and white, the tongue of a scarlet colour. Throat, cheeks and neck were literally breathing life. The arms rested nonchalantly and were preserved so well that one could move them into all directions… The hands were spread and the beautiful, long fingers were equipped with glossy fingernails. Only breasts, belly and vulva were displaced to the side. But back, buttocks and waist have kept their gorgeous form. Likewise the thighs and legs of the girl, which might have been even more beautiful than the face in their lifetime.

In short  it was an exceptionally beautiful woman from the times when Rome still had been at the height of its power…”.

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