“I Lived a Sweet Life…”

CIRB 1192   (North Black Sea, 1st Century BCE)

“Gasteis and Adeimantos
The children of Khorêgiôn, hail!
Before, when I was alive I Gasteis was living a sweet life,
Leaving behind two children with my spouse.

But now my dear brother follows me to Hades’ home
Leaving a reverent daughter as a possession to his wife.
In imitating the deeds of the wondrous men of our country,
We have both obtained Hades’ pain.”

1  Γάστεις καὶ Ἀδε[ίμαντος?]
οἱ Χορηγίωνος, χ[αίρετε].
πρόσθε μὲν ἡδὺν ἐγὼ {ι} φ[αιδρῶς Γάστεις βίον ἔζων]
συμβίωι κουριδίωι τέκ[να δύο προλιπών].
5 νῦν δέ μοι εἰς Ἀΐδαο [δόμον φίλος ἕσπετ’ ἀδελφός],
σεμνὴν θυγατέρα κ[τῆμ’ ἀφιεὶς γαμετῆι].
θαυμασίους πάτρας μ̣[ιμούμενοι ἔργμασι φῶτας],
ἀϊδίου τύχ[ο]μεν κήδ[εος ἀμφότεροι].

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Pluto on a cinerary altar

Why Weep Without Reason? All Mortals Die

IMT Kyz Kapu Dağ 1694  [= Greek Anthology 7.334] (Cyzicos, 2/3 Century CE)

“Pitiless god, why did you show me the light
Only for a brief number of few years?
Is it because you wanted to afflict my poor mother
With tears and laments through my short life?

She bore me and raised me and paid much more
Mind to my education than my father.
For he left me as a small orphan in this home
While she endured every kind of labor for me.

It would have been dear for me to have had success
Before our respected leaders with speeches in the law courts.
But the adolescent bloom of lovely youth did not
Reach my face. There was no marriage, no torches.

She did not sing the famous marriage song for me,
And the ill-fated woman never saw a child, a remnant
Of our much-lamented family. And it hurts me even when dead
My mother Polittê’s still growing grief
In her mourning thoughts over Phronto, the child she bore
Swift-fated, the empty pride of a dear country.

B. “Pôlittê, endure your grief, rein in your tears.
Many mothers have seen dead sons.
But they were not like him in their ways and life,
They were not so reverent toward their mother’s sweet face.
But why mourn so uselessly? Why weep without purpose?
All mortals will go to Hades in common.”

A.1 νηλεὲς ὦ δαῖμων, τί δέ μοι καὶ φέγγος ἔδειξας
εἰς ὀλίγων ἐτέων μέτρα μινυνθάδια;
ἦ ἵνα λυπήσῃς δι’ ἐμὴν βιότοιο τελευτήν
μητέρα δειλαίην δάκρυσι καὶ στοναχαῖς,
5 ἥ μ’ ἔτεχ’, ἥ μ’ ἀτίτηλε καὶ ἣ πολὺ μείζονα πατρός
φροντίδα παιδείης ἤνυσεν ἡμετέρης;
ὃς μὲν γὰρ τυτθόν τε καὶ ὀρφανὸν ἐν μεγάροισι
κάλλιπεν, ἣ δ’ ἐπ’ ἐμοὶ πάντας ἔτλη καμάτους·
ἦ μὲν ἐμοὶ φίλον ἦεν ἐφ’ ἁγνῶν ἡγεμονήων
10  ἐμπρεπέμεν μύθοις ἀμφὶ δικασπολίαις·
ἀλλά μοι οὐ γενύων ὑπεδέξατο κούριμον ἄνθος
ἡλικίης ἐρατῆς, οὐ γάμον, οὐ δαΐδας·
οὐχ ὑμέναιον ἄεισε περικλυτόν, οὐ τέκος εἶδε
δύσποτμος, ἐκ γενεῆς λείψανον ἡμετέρης
15 τῆς πολυθρηνήτου· λυπεῖ δέ με καὶ τεθνεῶτα
μητρὸς Πωλίττης πένθος ἀεξόμενον
Φρόντωνος γοεραῖς ἐπὶ φροντίσιν, ἣ τέκε παῖδα
ὠκύμορον, κενεὸν χάρμα φίλης πατρίδος.

B.19 Πωλίττα, τλῆθι πένθος, εὔνασον δάκρυ·
20 πολλαὶ θανόντας εἶδον υἱεῖς μητέρες· ——
ἀλλ’ οὐ τοιούτους τὸν τρόπον καὶ τὸν βίον,
οὐ μητέρων σέβοντας ἡδίστην θέαν· ——
τί περισσὰ θρηνεῖς, τί δὲ μάτην ὀδύρεαι;
εἰς κοινὸν Ἅιδην πάντες ἥξουσι βροτοί.

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Ruins at Cyzicos

An Early Death from Mourning

IG II² 12335  [=CEG 526] 360 BCE (Attica, Piraeus)

 “Noble Xenokleia.
After leaving behind two young daughters
Xenokleia the daughter of Nikarkhos lies here dead—
Even after she grieved the death of her son Phoinix
Who died at eight in the wide sea.

[….]

Who is inexperienced of mourning, Xenokleia
And does not pity your fate? You left two daughters
And died because of longing for a son who
Has a pitiless grave where he lies in the dark sea.”

1 Ξενόκλεια χρηστή.
ἠιθέους προλιποῦσα κόρας δισσὰς Ξενόκλεια
Νικάρχου θυγάτηρ κεῖται ἀποφθιμένη
οἰκτρὰν Φοίνικος παιδὸς πενθο͂σα τελευτήν,
5 ὃς θάνεν ὀκταέτης ποντίωι ἐν πελάγει.
5a
6 τίς θρήνων ἀδαής, ὃς σὴν μοῖραν, Ξενόκλεια,
οὐκ ἐλεεῖ, δισσὰς ἣ προλιποῦσα κόρας
ἠιθέους παιδὸς θνείσκεις πόθωι, ὃς τὸν ἄνοικτον
τύμβον ἔχει δνοφέρωι κείμενος ἐμ πελάγει.

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A funerary relief from the getty museum

Don’t Even Say it–Little Atthis, Eight Years Old

SEG 15:174  = IG II² 13124 (Attica, 2nd Century BCE)

“Don’t say it, if you look upon here,
The little Atthis…
Woe for the muse whose fine gifts she knew—
Her soul went to heaven when she was eight years old.

She left tears and moans of grief for her dear parents
Who, terribly, made her this monument instead of a marriage
When she went down to deep Acheron and Hades’ home,
All their hopes were poured into the fire and ash.”

1 [μ]ὴ̣ φῆτ’, ἢν̣ [ἐσίδητε ⏑–⏑⏑–⏑⏑–⏑]
Ἀτθίδα τὴν ὀλ[ίγην –⏑⏑–⏑⏑–]
αἰαῖ τῆς Μούσης [ἤδη καλὰ δῶρ’ εἰδυῖαν]
ὀκταέτιν· ψυχ[ὴ δ’ οὐρανὸν εἰσανέβη].
5 δάκρυα δὲ στον[αχάς τε φίλοις λείπουσα γονεῦσιν]
ἀντὶ γάμων οἴμ[οι τοῦτο τὸ σῆμ’ ἔλαχον],
τὸμ βαθὺν <ε>ἰς Ἀχ[έροντα μολοῦσ’ Ἀΐδαό τε δῶμα]·
εἰς πῦρ δὲ σπ[οδιάν τ’ ἐλπίδες ἐξεχύθεν].

Some liberties taken here

An Unmarried, Childless Corpse

IC I xxii 58  Crete, 2nd or 2rd Century CE

“Kratinos, the Son of Zôpuros

This dust holds Kratinos the son of Zôpuros, Traveler,
A child who brought the least pain to all mortals
And when he was just 18 years old he was killed
By a strong disease and went to the Hagesilan home.

You left groans and griefs for you mother and will not return,
Nor will they be diminished by your marriage [?]
But Sôsitô mourned while weeping much with her kin
When she saw your unmarried and childless corpse.

O toilsome daughter Aphrodisia, what kind of a child
You raised in your home! Chance did not allot a fate
But he could have lived enough, Zeus, with faith….
Of Zôpuros….”

Κρατῖνος Ζωπύρου.
Ζωπύρου ἅδε Κρατῖνον ἔχει κόνις, ὦ παροδῖτ[α],
παῖδα τὸν ἐν θνατοῖς πᾶσιν ἀλυπότατον
ὀκτὼ καὶ δεχέτης παρεὼν κρατερᾶς ὑπὸ νούσω

ἦλθ’ εἰς Ἁγεσίλα δῶμα βιαζόμενος,
ματρὶ λιπὼν στεναχὰς καὶ πένθεα κοὐκ ἐπανῆλ[θ]ες
οὔτε γάμοισι τεοῖς οἱ τυτθηνάμενοι·
πολλὰ δὲ ὀδυρομένη σὺν ὁμαίμοις ἐστενάχησε
Σωσιτὼ ὡς ἄγαμον κἄτεκνον εἶδε νέκυν.

ὦ θύγατερ πολύμοχθε Ἀφροδισία, οἶον ἔθραψας
παῖδα δόμοις· μοῖρα̣[ν δ’] ο̣[ὐ]κ’ ἐπέ[κλω]σε Τύχη,
ἀλ’ ἱκανῶς γίνοιτο, ὦ Ζεῦ, πίστει εσδ̣․․ε̣․ελλον
Ζωπύρου [— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]
[— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]

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Persephone with Hermes

Death at Eighteen Years Old

SEG 54:788 Kos, 2nd/1st Century BCE

Funerary epigram for Stibos. White marble stele with upper molding.

“Stibos, before when you were still among the living
You took pleasure delighting in many valleys in glorious hunts.
But now that you’re dead the dark earth covers over you,
Hades brought death at only eighteen years old.
But you, Kyllenian god…
Take this child at the height of his youth to the reverent dead.”

πρὶν μὲν ἐνὶ ζωοῖσιν ἔτ’ ὤν, Στίβε, πολλὰ κατ’ ἄγκη
τέρπεο γαυριόων κυδαλίμοισιν ἄγραις, vacat
νῦν δέ σε τεθνειῶτα μέλαν νέφος ἀμφικαλύπτει·
ὀκτωκαιδεχέτη μοῖραν ἐπερχόμενον vacat
5 <– ⏑ ⏑ –>ν Ἀΐδας· ἀλλ’ <ὦ> Κυλλάνιε δαῖμον, vacat
παῖδα τὸν ἀκρήβην πέμψον ἐπ’ εὐσεβέας.

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A different Epitaph

 

Drunk on Foolishness: An Epitaph

IMT Kyz Kapu Dağ 1731 [=Greek Anthology, 3.14; From Mysia, 4th Century CE?]

“Wrecked and drunk with foolishness, why did you
Violently attack the bed of Zeus’ bride?
He doused you in blood as a consequence and then
Set you rightfully on the ground as as food to the beasts and birds.”

1 μάργε καὶ ἀφροσύνῃ μεμεθυσμένε, τίπτε βιαίως
εἰς εὐνὰς ἐτράπης τᾶς Διὸς εὐνέτιδος;
ὅς σε δὴ αἵματι φῦρσε κατάξια, θηρσὶ δὲ βορρὰν
καὶ πτανοῖς ἐπὶ γᾷ εἴασε νῦν ὁσίως.

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Ruins from Hierapolis