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Four Classic Roman Tombstone Inscriptions

Posted on the 18 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Four classic Roman tombstone inscriptions

A Roman inscription. Photocredit: JacobEnos

Mary Beard’s new show, Meet the Romans, is gaining viewers and critical plaudits for its investigation into the ordinary lives of Romans – as she put it, “the hairdressers and the dockers and the slaves.” Here are four classic tombstone inscriptions from her show, as told to Today  on Radio 4.

1. “Hey, O Passer By, if you read this, my advice is put on your party hat, drink down that wine, and don’t say no to sex with pretty girls cause you won’t get it when you’re dead.” Enough said, really.

2. There’s room for sentiment, too – there’s 11 year old boy who died after he’d been in a talent  contest for adults: “Poor little Sulpicius, he died ‘cos of too much hard work.”

3. There’s the “tweet sized messages:: “Ummm wine, sex and baths – they ruin the body, but they make life worth living.”

4. And there’s the human tragedy: On the back of the tomb of a little girl who died, a father writes on the back what happened next – the mother went off and took two of his slaves, so he curses her. “I’m now just lying, an old man on my bed, and noone’s with me.”


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