Lost to Childbirth at 18 and 20: Two Funerary Inscriptions

IGBulg III,1 = SEG 3.543

“Passerby, learn my name and who my father was;
Learn everything that happened by fate.

My father was Mithradates. My mother was Khrêstê
And I am Kainis, the heavy-fated. I died at twenty years old
From prolonged childbirth, just barely experienced in life.

What more can I say to you, stranger? As is right for mortals,
Pity wretched me and honor my sorrow
with tears from the corners of your eyes
As you pass by my tomb.”

πυνθάνῃ, ὦ παροδεῖτα, τί τοὔνομα {ι} ἢ τίς
ὁ φύσας; | μάνθανε πάντα κατ’ αἶσαν· ἐμοὶ γε-
νέτης Μιθριδάτης | καὶ μήτηρ Χρήστη, Καινὶς δ’ ἐγὼ
ἡ βαρυδαίμων· | θνῄσκω δ’ εἰκοσέτης τοκετοῦ τέλος
ἐξανύσαντος, | ἀρτιδαὴς βιότοιο. τί σοι πλέον ὦ ξέ-
νε, εἴπω; | ταῦτ’ ἐστίν, παροδεῖτα. σὺ δ’, ὡς θέμις ἐστὶ
βροτοῖσιν, | οἰκτείρας με λυγρὰν καὶ δάκρυσι τὴν ἐ-
λεεινὴν | τειμήσας ἀπὸ σῶ̣ν̣ κανθῶν παρό-
❦δευε τὸ σῆμα. ❦

SEG 1.454= MAMA VII 258

“She made it to her 18th year
But now lies buried here
Because jealous Hades stole her away
From an ill-fated childbirth.

[She left*] this pillar as a sign of prudence and great reverence
On the earth and with great wisdom
She showed her works with knowledge
As she lived with [him?] for five years**.
And [then] Kodrates wept terribly
As he covered you alone in the earth,
Your parents’ only hope.”

[ἕ]κ̣τ̣ον καὶ δέκατον ἐ̣[πιδ]-
οῦσα ἔτος ἔνθα τέθα[πται]
ἐκ τοκετοῦ δυσμόρ[ου γὰρ]
ἀνήρπασε βάσκανος Ἅ[δης]
εἰκόνα σωφροσύνης [καὶ αἰ]-
δοῦ[ς] μεγάλης ἐπὶ[γαίη]
καὶ μετ’ ἐπιστήμ̣η̣[ς]
ἔργ’ ἐπιδεικνυμένη
πέντε ἔτη δὲ συνοίκησε̣ν̣
καὶ αἴλινα κλ̣αῦε Κοδρᾶτος
γῆ κρύπτων [σ’] οἴην
ἐλπίδα καὶ γονέων.
[ιος νι σα του μανκα κακουν αδ-
δακετ τι̣τ̣ετικμενος ειτου.]

[the remaining words are unclear]
*Perhaps a different subject/verb: He/they put up, vel sim.
**I am really unclear about the lines’ meaning from εἰκόνα through συνοίκησε̣ν̣. This last verb is typical for describing marital cohabitation

MET 24.97.92 Marble votive relief fragment of goddesses, mother, nurse, and infant

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