Quam dulcis fuit ista, quam benigna,
quae cum viveret in sinu iacebat
somni conscia semper et cubilis.
o factum male, Myia, quod peristi!
latrares modo si quis adcubaret
rivalis dominae licentiosa.
o factum male, Myia, quod peristi!
altum iam tenet insciam sepulcrum,
nec saevire potes nec insilire,
nec blandis mihi morsibus renides.
(CIL XIII.488)

How sweet and friendly she was! While she was alive she used to lie in the lap, always sharing sleep and bed. What a shame, Midge, that you have died! You would only bark if some rival took the liberty of lying up against your mistress. What a shame, Midge, that you have died! The depths of the grave now hold you and you know nothing about it. You cannot go wild nor jump on me, and you do not bare your teeth at me with bites that do not hurt. (tr. Edward Courtney)



Quae viae in u(rbem) R(omam) sunt erunt intra ea loca, ubi continenti habitabitur, nequis in ieis vieis post k(alendas) Ianuar(ias) primas plostrum interdiu post solem ortum, neve ante horam decimam diei ducito agito, nisi quod aedium sacrarum deorum inmortalium caussa aedificandarum, operisue publice faciumdei causa, adv<e>hei portari oportebit, aut quod ex urbe exve ieis loceis earum rerum, quae publice demolienda<e> loca<tae> erunt, publice exportarei oportebit, et quarum rerum caussa plostra h(ac) l(ege) certeis hominibus certeis de causeis agere ducere licebit.
quibus diebus virgines Vestales regem sacrorum, flamines plostreis in urbe sacrorum publicorum p(opuli) R(omani) caussa vehi oportebit, quaeque plostra triumphi caussa, quo die quisque triumphabit, ducei oportebit, quaeque plostra ludorum, quei Romae <p(ropius) p(assus) mille> publice feient, inve pompam ludeis circiensibus ducei agei opus erit, quo minus earum rerum caussa eisque diebus plostra interdiu in urbe ducantur agantur, e(ius) h(ac) l(ege) n(ihil) r(ogatur).
quae plostra noctu in urbem inducta erunt, quo minus ea plostra inania aut stercoris exportandei caussa, post solem ortum h(oris) (decimis) diei bubus iumenteisve iuncta in u(rbe) R(oma) et ab u(rbe) R(oma) p(assus) mille esse liceat, e(ius) h(ac) l(ege) n(ihil) r(ogatur).
(Lex Iulia Municipalis, CIL I2.593.56-67)

After January 1 next no one shall drive a wagon along the streets of Rome or along those streets in the suburbs where there is continuous housing after sunrise or before the tenth hour of the day, except whatever will be proper for the transportation and the importation of material for building temples of the immortal gods, or for public works, or for removing from the city rubbish from those buildings for whose demolition public contracts have been let. For these purposes permission shall be granted by this law to specified persons to drive wagons for the reasons stated. Whenever it is proper for the vestal virgins, the king of the sacrifices, or the flamens to ride in the city for the purpose of official sacrifices of the Roman people; whatever wagons are proper for a triumphal procession when any one triumphs; whatever wagons are proper for public games within Rome or within one mile of Rome or for the procession held at the time of the games in the Circus Maximus, it is not the intent of this law to prevent the use of such wagons during the day within the city for these occasions and at these times. It is not the intent of this law to prevent ox wagons or donkey wagons that have been driven into the city by night from going out empty or from carrying out dung from within the city of Rome or within one mile of the city after sunrise until the tenth hour of the day. (tr. Allan Chester Johnson, Paul Robinson Coleman-Norton & Frank Card Bourne)


CIL IV 5296

O utinam liceat collo complexa tenere
braciola et teneris oscula ferre labe(l)lis
i nunc ventis tua gaudia, pupula, crede
crede mihi, levis est natura virorum
saepe ego cu(m) media vigilare(m) perdita nocte
haec mecum medita(n)s: multos Fortuna quos supstulit alte
hos modo proiectos subito praecipitesque premit
sic Venus ut subito coiunxit corpora amantum
dividit lux et se (paries? quid? ama?)
(CIL IV.5296)

Oh, if only I (fem.) could hold my gentle arms around you
and press my kisses on your tender lips. Go now, girl, confide your
joys to the winds:
believe me, flighty is the nature of men. These things I’ve often
lying awake in despair in the middle of the night: many has Fortune
raised on high
then suddenly let fall headlong, oppressing them with worst trouble.
Likewise, though Venus in a moment unites the bodies of lovers,
the first light divides them and [you (Venus) would separate their love.]
(tr. John G. Younger)

Note: I don’t know on what reconstruction of the text the last few words of Mr. Younger’s translation are based.



V(ixit) an(nos) LII
d(is) M(anibus) Ti(beri) Claudi Secundi
hic secum habet omnia
balnea vina Venus
corrumpunt corpora
nostra set vitam faciunt b(alnea) v(ina) V(enus)
karo contubernal(i) fec(it)
Merope Caes(aris) et sibi
et suis p(osterisque) e(orum)
(CIL VI.15258)

He lived 52 years. To the spirits of the departed Tiberius Claudius Secundus. Here he has everything with him. Baths, wine and Venus [i.e. sex or love] corrupt our bodies, but they make life – baths, wine and Venus. Merope, freedwoman of Caesar made this for her dear companion, herself and their family and their descendants. (tr. Valerie Hope)




Hospes, adhuc tumuli ni meias ossa prec[antur,
nam, si vis (h)uic gratior esse, caca.
Urticae monumenta vides; discede, cacator.
non est hic tutum culu(m) aperire tibi.
(CIL 4.8899)

Stranger, the bones ask you not to piss at this tomb, for, if you want to be more agreeable to this man, shit. You see Nettle’s* tomb; away from here, shitter; it is not safe for you to open your bowels here.

* The point is a pun on the name of the hypothetical deceased (for the name Urtica see CIL 5.3637; it is also known as a female name); as the cacator squats, he is in danger of being stung by an urtica, a nettle.

(tr. Edward Courtney, with his note)


evasi effugi

D.M.S.* L. Annius Octavius Valerianus

evasi, effugi. Spes et Fortuna, valete!
nil mihi voviscum* est, ludificate alios!

* D.M.S. = Dis Manibus Sacris (sacred/dedicated to the spirit-gods). Voviscum is a spelling error for vobiscum. There are several variations on this epitaph.
(CIL 6.11743 = CLE 1498)

I have come through, escaped. Hope and Fortune, farewell. I have no more to do with you; trifle with others. (tr. Archie Burnett)