Live Well Now: Advice From a Roman Epitaph



“You are human: pause a moment and contemplate my grave.
As a young man, I stretched myself that I might have what I could use.
I did injustice to no one, my duty to many;
Live well, and do it soon – this must come to you too.”

Homo es: resiste et tumulum contempla meum.
iuenis tetendi ut haberem quod uterer.
iniuriam feci nulli, officia feci pluribus.
bene vive, propera, hoc est veniundum tibi.

(Roman Epitaphs B 83)

3 thoughts on “Live Well Now: Advice From a Roman Epitaph

  1. This is a lot like the epitaph of Assurbanipal:

    κεῖν’ ἔχω ὅσσ’ ἔφαγον καὶ ἐφύβρισα καὶ σὺν ἔρωτι
    τέρπν’ ἔπαθον· τὰ δὲ πολλὰ καὶ ὄλβια πάντα λέλυνται.

    What text are you using for epitaphs?

    I think a great/terrible drinking night would involve all epitaph recitations and copious beer…

    1. I was approaching it with a gentlemanly laziness, i.e. just reading the epitaphs posted on the Latin Library. I do, however, have several Teubner volumes of the Latin Anthology, which I am combing through now!

      Few things would be more fitting than reading some of these epitaphs while drinking. Reading these, one would think that the only deathbed regret ever experienced in antiquity was that one had not drunk enough!

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