The Sextius Florentinus Tomb, Petra

About this place

The Tomb of Sextius Florentinus is one of a series of tombs in the Petra Archaeological Park in Jordan. Like the rest of Petra, the tomb was hewn out of massive red cliffs in the desert over 2,000 years ago. 

The Tomb of Sextus Florentinus (by Dosseman CC BY-SA 4.0)

The work was probably done by Nabataeans but this tomb was for a Roman official. When Rome annexed the Nabataean city of Petra in 106AD they sent officials to run the province - and Sextius Florentinus served the empire as one of those governors. 

Who Was Sextius Florentinus?

Sextius Florentinus was a senator in ancient Rome who died between 127 and 130 AD. During his lifetime he held several important positions in the Roman government under Emperor Trajan and Emperor Hadrian.

While serving in the Province of Arabia as governor, he died of unknown causes. Florentius had asked to be buried in Petra and so his son had a tomb prepared for him in the famous Nabataean city.

Where is the Sextius Florentinus Tomb?

The tomb is within the Petra Archaeological Park, a few hundred meters northeast of the Palace Tomb (the Palace Tomb is the Royal Tomb furthest from the Street of Facades) in the direction of Wadi al-Mataha.

Pro Tip: You may wonder why it is so far from Petra’s city center; Under Roman rule, burials were not allowed in the city.

What to See and Do at the Sextius Florentinus Tomb

Tomb Facade

The tomb facade is one of the most interesting parts of this structure although it has suffered from being exposed to the weather for thousands of years. The facade is carved out of rock and consists of two floors.

It is 37.10 meters wide and stretches to a height of 9.16 meters. On the first floor are four columns and a gateway. The upper floor of the facade shows the remains of columns and above the entrance is a triangle and an urn carved into the rock. Statues stand above and on the side of the arched entranceway.

The Arch above the tomb facade

Thick half-columns flank the central entrance. A semi-circular arch with tympanum relief of a woman surrounded by vines tops the entranceway. She is thought to be a goddess of vegetation.

Pro Tip: See if you can identify the same goddess in the pediment of the Treasury. The center pediment is topped with a carved urn similar to the one at the Urn Tomb. The horned column capitals are a distinctive feature of Nabataean architecture. Above the entrance is an inscription that glorifies the governor’s accomplishments. A narrow slit on the right side of the facade allows light to enter the interior chamber.

Interior of the Sextius Florentinus Tomb 

Step into the tomb and see the five loculi or burial niches carved into the back wall and three carved into one of the side walls.

Pro Tip: One of the reasons worth including this tomb on your Petra visit is that it is one of the few structures in the park that can be entered. The interior’s exposed rock has beautiful bands of red, gold, and brown colors in the sandstone.