Cineres: remains vs ashes

Galician Colin has found some remains labelled as ashes, then there’s Raphael in the Pantheon (Ossa et cineres, though by all accounts his penis was the only part singed), and Princess Eadgyth, d. 946 (EDIT REGINE CINERES HIC SARCOPHAGVS HABET), etc..

I thought this was a metonymy brought about by the medieval church banning cremation: the ritual act may change but the ritual language (whose meaning is obscure to most anyway) is sacred. But the ambiguity which exists in Spanish (6 vs 8) also seems to be present in pre-barbarian Latin. Yan Thomas explains what & why in Res religiosae: on the categories of religion and commerce in Roman law, Joseph Forsyth disapproves, and Lewis & Short gives several examples, none of which however seem to rule out cremation. I like Cineri nunc medicina datur – giving medicine to the ashes, bolting the stable door, mustard after meat etc.

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