Monday, July 18, 2011
On this tombstone from the Museo Archeologico in Bergamo we see one of the problems of composing your epitaph before you're dead. When he was alive, he had been a sexvir (one of 6 men, like a double triumvirate) and a priest of the cult of the emperor Augustus. BUT THEN, after he had finished his tombstone, he became a flamen, another type of priest. That last piece of information had to be crammed into his already completed tombstone.
Note that sexvir is written with the Roman numeral 6 (IIIIII) and the noun VIR.
L(ucius) BLANDIVS C(aius) F(ilius)
IIIIII VIR ET
VALERIAE L(ucius) F(ilia)
Lucius Blandius, son of Gaius, from the Voturia tribe, a sevir, priest of Augustus and flamen, made this while alive for himself and for this wife, Valeria Rustica, daughter of Lucius.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
V(ivus) f(ecit) | Triumus | Celeris f(ilius) | sibi et | Duci|avae Turi f(iliae) | uxs(ori)
Triumus, son of Celer, while he was still alive made this tombstone for himself and for his wife Duciava, daughter of Turus.
All the names on this tombstone (besides Celer) point to indigenous, non-Roman citizens. Freed slaves would normally take three Roman names (praenomen, nomen, and cognomen), often influenced by the name of their former master. It's not unusual that members of the same nuclear family would have very different names, depending on their legal status.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Testamento Fieri Iussit
which means "He ordered it to be made in his testament (will)."
Easier to say in Latin, no? The column looking things are fasces, symbols of power in ancient Rome and where we get the word fascism. In the middle is a seat with a frieze of weapons, a pillow and a footstool. All these show that this stele (large stone slab) commemorates an important magistrate or politician, but his identity is lost to time because of missing words (called a lacuna).