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A Valentine's Greeting from Ancient Rome

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Here`s my favorite Ancient Roman inscription. This dedication was found on a tombstone in Roman Gaul from a laborer for his deceased wife.

(Although I`ve seen this inscription quoted on various sites, I first saw it on HBO`s "Rome" historical consultants blog.)

"To the eternal memory of Blandinia Martiola, a most faultless girl, who lived eighteen years, nine months, five days, Pompeius Catussa, a plasterer, dedicates to his wife, who was incomparable and very kind to him, this memorial which he had erected during his lifetime for himself and his wife...You who read this, go bathe at the public baths of Apollo for us, as I used to do with my wife. I wish I still could."

Simple. Beautiful. A sad yearning for a lost love, a love that transcends the ages.

guy also known as gaius

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How beautiful!!! sounds like an inmortal love. Where did you find it?do you have the original inscription? I'd like to see it written in Latin. Thank you in advance.

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What a wonderful, Romanophilic theme for Valentine's Day! And, continuing along this theme...

 

There was more than one ancient Roman husband who was moved to express his undying love to his deceased wife in the form of an epitaph praising her virtues. The marble funerary altar of my own favorite resides in the Greek and Roman wing of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Dedicated in the 1st century CE to Cominia Tyche, here is a translation of what was inscribed by her loving husband:

 

"To the spirits of the dead. To the most saintly Cominia Tyche, his most chaste and loving wife, [from] Lucius Annius Festus. [she] died at the age of twenty-seven years, eleven months, twenty-eight days."

 

And here is a picture I took of Cominia Tyche's profile:

100_0845.jpg

 

That remarkable profile of hers inspired me to write my own epitaph for her:

 

Cominia Tyche

 

This lady's husband mourned her

When she died age twenty-seven;

Her silhouette is at the Met --

Who nose if she's in heaven?

 

-- Nephele

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How beautiful!!! sounds like an inmortal love. Where did you find it? do you have the original inscription? I'd like to see it written in Latin. Thank you in advance.

 

 

The source is the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL) 13.1983.

 

What the heck is CIL? I certainly won't have known a few years ago. It contains every known Roman inscription found from the entire Roman Empire. I'll let Wikipedia explain:

 

 

"The Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL) is a comprehensive collection of ancient Latin inscriptions. It forms an authoritative source for documenting the surviving epigraphy of classical antiquity. Public and personal inscriptions throw light on all aspects of Roman life and history.

 

The CIL collects all Latin inscriptions from the whole territory of the Imperium, ordering them geographically and systematically. Earlier volumes collected and published authoritative versions of all previously published inscriptions. The Corpus continues to be updated in new editions and supplements.

 

In 1847 a committee was created in Berlin with the aim of publishing an organized collection of Latin inscriptions, which had previously been described piecemeal by hundreds of scholars over the preceding centuries. The leading figure of this committee was Theodor Mommsen (who wrote several of the volumes covering Italy). Much of the work involved personal inspections of sites and monuments in an attempt to replicate the original as much as possible. In those cases where a previously cited inscription could no longer be found, the authors tried to get an accurate reading by comparing the versions of the published inscription in the works of previous authors who had seen the original. The first volume appeared in 1853.

 

The CIL presently consists of 17 volumes in about 70 parts, recording approximately 180,000 inscriptions...."

 

 

I think I saw the original Latin quote somewhere on the internet. I wonder if anyone "nose." (SEE Nephele)

 

 

guy also known as gaius.

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