Hades’ Newest Bride: A Remarkable Epitaph

This poem actually inspired me to type “just wow” when I was looking through the PHI Epigraphic Database.

CIRB 130 from the N. Black Sea ca. 50 BC-50 AD — GVI 1989

“Theophilê Hekataiou gives her greeting.

They were wooing me, Theiophilê the short-lived daughter of
Hekataios, those young men [seeking] a maiden for marriage.
But Hades seized me first, since he was longing for me
When he saw a Persephone better than Persephone.


And when the message is carved on the stone
He weeps for the girl, Theiophilê the Sinopian,
Whose father, Hekataios, gave the torch-holding bride-to-be
To Hades and not a marriage.


Maiden Theiophilê, no marriage awaits you, but a land
With no return; not as the bride of Menophilos,
But as a partner in Persephone’s bed. Your father Hekataios
Now has only the name of the pitiable lost girl.

And as he looks on your shape in stone he sees
The unfulfilled hopes Fate wrongly buried in the ground.

Theiophilê, a girl allotted beauty envied by mortals,
A tenth Muse, a Grace for marriage’s age,
A perfect example of prudence.
Hades did not throw his dark hands around you.

No, Pluto lit the flames for the wedding torches
With his lamp, welcoming a most desired mate.

Parents, stop your laments now, stop your grieving,
Theiophilê has found an immortal bed.”

1           Θεοφίλη Ἑκαταίου, / χαῖρε.
Θειοφίλην με θύγατρα μινυνθαδίην Ἑκαταίου
ἐμνώοντο, γάμωι παρθένον ἠΐθεοι,
5 ἔφθασε δ’ ἁρπάξας Ἀΐδης, ἠράσσατο γάρ μευ,
Φερσεφόνας ἐσιδὼν κρέσσονα Φερσεφόναν.
6a ———

7 καὶ γράμμα πέτρης ἐκγλυφὲν στηλίτιδος
κόρην δακρύει Θεοφίλην Σινωπίδα
τὰς μελλονύμφους ἧς πατὴρ δαιδουχίας
10   Ἑκαταῖος Ἅιδηι καὶ οὐ γάμωι συνάρμοσεν.
10a ———

11 παρθένε Θειοφίλα, σὲ μὲν οὐ γάμος, ἀλλ’ ἀδίαυλος
χῶρος ἔχει νύμφη δ’ οὐκέτι Μηνοφίλου,
[ἀ]λλὰ Κόρης σύλλεκτρος· ὁ δὲ σπείρας Ἑκαταῖος
οὔνομα δυστήνου μοῦνον ἔχει φθιμένης,
15 [μ]ορφὰν δ’ ἐν πέτραι λεύ<σ>σει σέο τὰς δ’ ἀτελέστους
ἐλπίδας οὐχ ὁσίη Μοῖρα κατεχθόνισεν.

τὴν κάλλος ζηλωτὸν ἐνὶ θνατοῖσι λαχοῦσαν
Θειοφίλην, Μουσῶν τὴν δεκάτην, Χάριτα,
πρὸς γάμον ὡραίαν, τὴν σωφροσύνης ὑπόδειγμα,
20   οὐκ Ἀΐδας ζοφεραῖς ἀμφέβαλεν παλάμαις,

Πλούτων δ’ εἰς θαλάμους τὰ γαμήλια λαμπάδι φέγγη
ἇψε, ποθεινοτάτην δεξάμενος γαμέτιν.
[ὦ γ]ονέες, θρήνων νῦν λήξατε, παύετ’ ὀδυρμῶν·
Θειοφίλη λέκτρων ἀθανάτων ἔτυχεν.

Image result for hades persephone grave relief
A relief of Persephone and Hades from the Hierapolis Archaeological Museum

Mattia, Daughter of Mattios and Eutukhia

IC II x 20 Crete, early Rom. Imp. period

“Mattia, the daughter of Loukios, says hello:

Hades stole away this pretty girl because of her beauty and form
Suddenly, this girl most desirable to all people alive.
Mattios fathered me and my mother Eutukhia
Nursed me. I have died at twelve years old, unmarried.

My name is Mattia, and now that I have left the light
I lie hidden in the dark chamber of Persephone.
I left a lifetime’s grief for my father and mother
Who will have many tears for the rest of time.”

[Μ]αττία Λουκίου θυγάτηρ
κάλλει καὶ μορφᾶι τὰν ε[ὐῶ]πα̣ ἥρπ̣α̣σ̣εν Ἅϊδας
αἰφνιδίως ζωοῖς πᾶσι ποθεινοτάταν,
Μάττιος ἃν ἐφύτευσε πατήρ, μάτηρ δ̣’ ἀτίτ[η]λ̣εν
Εὐτυχία· θνάσκω δωδεχέτης ἄ[γ]αμος,

Ματτία οὔνομα ἐοῦσα, λιποῦσα δὲ φ[ῶς] ὑπὸ [κ]ε̣[ύ]θη
[κεῖ]μαι Φερσεφόνας ἐν νυχίωι θαλάμωι,
πατρί τε καὶ τᾶι ματρὶ λιποῦσ’ [αἰώ]νιον ἄλγος
[τᾶ]ι πολυδακρύτωι εἰς τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον.

Marble funerary statues of a maiden and a little girl, ,Stone Sculpture
Marble Funerary Statues from the MET

The Tomb of Hygeia, Untouched by Marriage and Offspring

IG V,1 726 Lakonia and Messenia (IG V,1) : Lakonike (From the PHI Website)

“I am the tomb of a mother’s daughter and son–
They were allotted a swift passage to Hades.

The first of them used to be called Aleksanôr among the boys,
But the girl, Hygeia, died before marriage.

The Muse graced her young son with education;
and jealous Hades robbed her away as he grew.

So the mother has two children, but now she weeps
Three times as much for one untouched of mate and offspring.”

μητρὸς καὶ θυγατρὸς παιδός τ’ ἔτι τύμβος ὅδ̣’ εἰμί,
οἳ λάχον ὠκίστην ἀτραπὸν εἰς Ἀΐδην.

ὧν ὁ μὲν ἐν κούροισιν Ἀλεξάνωρ ἐκαλεῖτο,
ἡ δ’ Ὑγίεια, γάμου πρόσθεν ἀποφθιμένη·

ἄρρενι δ’ ἠϊθέῳ παιδείην ὤπασε Μοῦσα,
ἣν Ἀΐδης φθονερὸς νόσφισεν α̣ὐξομένου.

καὶ μήτηρ μὲν ἔχει παῖδας δύο, τρισσὰ δὲ πένθη
νῦν κλαίει γαμέτης ἄμμιγα καὶ γενέτη̣[ς].

Here’s what the inscription looks like in before being split up into couplets. I am pretty unsure about the third couplet.
1 μητρὸς καὶ θυγατρὸς παιδός τ’ ἔτι τύμβος ὅδ̣’ εἰμί, ❦ οἳ λάχον ὠκίστην ἀτραπὸν εἰς Ἀΐδην. ❦ ὧν ὁ μὲν ἐν κούρο<ι>-σιν Ἀλεξάνωρ ἐκαλεῖτο, ❦ ἡ δ’ Ὑγίεια, γάμου πρόσθεν ἀποφθιμένη· ❦ ἄρρενι δ’ ἠϊθέῳ παιδείην ὤπασε Μοῦσα, ❦ ἣν Ἀΐδης φθονερὸς νόσφισεν α̣ὐξομένου. ❦ καὶ μήτηρ μὲν ἔχει παῖδας δύο, τρισσὰ δὲ πένθη ❦ νῦν κλαίει γαμέτης ἄμμιγα καὶ γενέτη̣[ς].

Image result for funerary inscription Greek attica
Marble Grave Stele of Mnesagora and Nikochares (siblings) from Vari, Attica. 420-410 BC. NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF ATHENS.

A Memorial of Pain to His Enemies

IG IV 783 Troizen

[fragmentary lines]

mild-minded and gentle…[..]..
On their own family they set […]
but while god allotted [him] countless gifts,
he never forgot his own country

Hermas…..[this] marble copy
Of the best man Olympos.

I sing of him and the fame of his ancestors
Who once [at] the founding of Troizen
Made the city noble and revered in glory.
I myself stand showing this memory.
Causing pain to their enemies, but dear to their friends
By the vote…..of the people.

[— — — — — — —]#⁷․Υ̣ΠΟΝΩΞΕΝΟϹ Ἑρμᾶς
[— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]#⁷ΙΙΟ̣ΙϹ[— —]
[— — —]#⁷Η̣ΧΑ#⁷Ι#⁷[— — — — — — — — — — — —]
[— — —]ΙΕΚΥΔΑΙΝΕΙΝΛΙ̣[— — — — — — — — — —]
ΕΝ ἠπιόφρων καὶ μείλιχος [— — —]Ν[— —]
ἐ̣ν γενεῇ σφετέρῃ θῆκεν(?) ΛΙΙ[— — —]
[ἀλ]λὰ θεὸς νεύσιεν ἔχειν ἀπερείσια δῶρ̣[α]
οὔποτε τῆς ἰδίης λησαμέν̣ῳ πα̣τρίδος.

Ἑρμᾶς ΡΥ̣Ι̣Ο̣[— — —]ΛΙϹΤΟΝΕΝ̣ΚΚ̣#⁷Ϲ, τύπ̣[ον]
ἀνδρὸς φερ̣ίστου μη̣νύων Ὀλυμπί[ο]υ·
ᾄδω δὲ τοῦτον καὶ προπατόρων κλ̣[έος],
οἳ π̣ρίν ποτ ἄστυ, τοῦ δὲ Τροιζῆνος κ[τίσιν],
ἔθηκαν ἀισθλὸν καὶ γέρηραν εὐκλε[ῶς].
ἕστηκα δ αὐτὸς δόγμα δεικνύων τ[όδε]·
λυπῶν μὲν ἐκθρούς, τοῖς φίλοισι δ ὢν φ[ίλος].

   ψ(ηφίσματι)              δ(ήμου).

Photography of sun coming over a mountain ridge in the background with trees and wildflowers in the foreground
The archaeological site of Troizen, Greece, picture taken in 2011

Your Lovely Glory

IG II² 3783, Attica c. 302 BCE

If mortals’ noble mind previously found anything in an art
I claim that you have gazed upon everything in your polished thoughts,
Evaluating the wise judgment of doctors and selecting
The best from books with your soul’s eye,
Then you, Argaios have offered the rejuvenating delight
Of Bacchus’ wine that wards off limb-breaking labors.
Thanks to these things, the lovely glory of your craft will never die,
And will become brighter than the stars in the sky.”

εἴ τι π[άρ]ος μερόπων γεραὸς νόος εὗρ’ ἐνὶ τέχναι,
φαμί σε [πᾶ]ν κατιδεῖν εὐξυνέτοις πραπίσι,
κρίνανθ’ ἱητρῶν σοφὰ δόγματα καὶ τὸ περισσὸν
ἐκ βύβλων ψυχῆς ὄμματι δρεψάμενον,
εὐιάδος τ’, Ἀργαῖε, πορεῖν γάνος ἁμερίοισιν
οἴνας γυιοπαγεῖς ῥυόμενεον καμάτους.
ἀνθ’ ὧν σοῦ τέχνας ἐρατὸν κλέος οὔποτ’ ὀλεῖται,
λαμπρότερον δ’ ἄστρων ἔσσεται οὐρανίων.

Oil payment of an older monk with a beard smelling a glass of wine
Monk drinking wine, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Painting,_European,_Monk_Drinking_Wine_XIXe.jpg

“What is Written Here is Brief”: Some Roman Memorials for Memorial Day

Some Archaic Latin Inscriptions from the Loeb Classical Library (the LCL numbers are first, translations are mine). There are earlier poetic epitaphs on this site as well, even legendary ones

Epitaphs 14 [CIL 1861]

“Here lies the sweet clown and slave of Clulius
Protogenes, who created many moments of happiness for people with his joking”

Protogenes Cloul[i] | suavis heicei situst | mimus
plouruma que | fecit populo soueis | gaudia nuges.

15 [CIL 1202]

“This monument was erected for Marcus Caecilius
We give you thanks, Friend, since you stopped by this home.
May you have good fortune and be well. Sleep without worry.”

Hoc est factum monumentum | Maarco Caicilio. |
Hospes, gratum est quom apud | meas restitistei seedes. |
Bene rem geras et valeas, | dormias sine qura.

18 [CIL 1211]

“Friend, what is written here is brief—stop and read it all.
This is the unattractive tomb of an attractive woman.
Her parents named her Claudia
She loved her own husband with her whole heart.
She had two sons and leaves one of them
On the earth, but placed the other beneath it.
[She was] charming in conversation; but proper in behavior.
She safeguarded her house. She made wool. I have said it all. Go.”

Hospes, quod deico paullum est; asta ac pellege.
Heic est sepulcrum hau pulcrum pulcrai feminae.
Nomen parentes nominarunt Claudiam.
Suom mareitom corde deilexit souo.
Gnatos duos creavit, horunc alterum
in terra linquit, alium sub terra locat.
Sermone lepido, tum autem incessu commodo.
Domum servavit, lanam fecit. Dixi. Abei.

39 [CIL 1219]

“Here are the bones of Pompeia the first daughter
Fortune promises a lot to many but makes a guarantee for no one.
Live for all days and all hours. For nothing is yours wholly.
Salvius and Heros donated this.”

Primae | Pompeiae | ossua heic.|
Fortuna spondet | multis, praestat nemini;
vive in dies | et horas, nam proprium est nihil. |
Salvius et Heros dant.

Image result for ancient roman 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.”

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.

Hierapolis colonnade.jpg
Ruins from Hierapolis

Psssst…We Are All Going to Die: An Epitaph

SEG 42:212 Att. — Rhamnous — 4th c. BC — Forteresse, 69

“Death is life’s shared end for everyone. But you leave
Behind you pity for your age and a longing for your wisdom.
Your parents lost you when you were only twenty years old
And when you died they arranged a funeral for you instead of a marriage.”

1 τέ[ρμα βίο]υ [κοινὸν τὸ] θανεῖν πᾶσιν, σὺ δὲ λε[ίπεις]
ἡλικίας ἔλεον, σωφροσύνης δὲ πόθον.
ἐν δεκάσιν δισσαῖσιν ἐτ[ῶν στέρξαν σε γονῆες]
οἳ τάφον ἀντὶ γάμου τ[εῦξαν ἀποφθιμένωι].

A different epitaph

Image result for ancient greek epitaph seg
This is from the british museum

Killed By A Bear When He was 9 Times 3

IG IX,1² 2:340 [ ]Akarnania — Thyrrheion — 2nd/1st c. BC

“Stranger, I am leaving griefs and pains for my father Philiskos
And my pitiful mother, because I went down to Hades’ home—
I lost my life because of a savage bear who violently
Killed me, crushing my flesh with her jaws.

I died at 27 years old. Fate led miserable me
To go to Hades in this way.
My bedchamber is bereft, and I live now
Below the earth, gazing on a dusky bed chamber
Where my wife cannot lie beside me, nor my father
And I don’t look toward hearing my mother’s voice.

A dark cloud covers Timelas.
Ill-fated, I have charged upon this kind of end to life.”

πένθεα καὶ στοναχὰς λε′ίπω, ξένε, πατρὶ Φιλίσκωι
ματρί τε δυστάνοι βὰς Ἀΐδαο δόμους,
ἄρκου ὑπὸ στυγερᾶς ὀλέσας βίον, ἅ με βιαίως
ὤλεσε σαρκὸς ἐμᾶς δραξαμένα γένυσιν.

θνάσκω δ’ ἐννεάδεσσιν ἐτῶν τρισί· Μοῖρα γὰρ οὕτως
ἆγέ με δύστανον βάμεναι ‵ε′ἰς Ἀΐδαν.
χηρεύει θάλαμός μοι, ἐγὼ δ’ ὑπὸ νέρτερα γαίας
ναίω τὸν σκοτερὸν δερκόμενος θάλαμον,
ἔνθα μοι οὔτ’ ἄλοχος παρακλείνεται οὔτε πατρὸς μου,
οὐ ματρὸς φωνὰν δέρκομαι εἰς ἀκοάς·
ἀλλ’ Ἀΐδα σκότιον Τιμέλαν νέφος ἀμφικαλύπτει·
δύσμορος εἰς οἵαν μοῖραν ἔκυρσα βίου.

A Bear from the Middle Ages

Medicae: Women Doctors from the Roman Empire

Some more Non-Elite Latin from the tireless Brandon Conley

  1. AE 1937, 0017.
inscription for blog
(Image from EDH)

Hic iacet Sarman/na medica vixit / pl(us) m(inus) an(nos) LXX Pientius / Pientinus fili(us) et / Honorata norus / titolum posuerunt / in pace

“Here lies Sarmana the doctor. She lived around 70 years. Pientius, her son Pientinus, and daughter-in-law Honorata placed this monument. In peace.”


  1. AE 2001, 00263

C(aius) Naevius C(ai) l(ibertus) Phi[lippus] / medicus chirurg(us) / Naevia C(ai) l(iberta) Clara / medica philolog(a) / in fro(nte) ped(es) XI s(emis) / in agr(o) ped(es) XVI

“Gaius Naevius Philippus, freedman of Gaius, doctor and surgeon. Naevia Clara, freedwoman of Gaius, doctor and scholar. (Tomb size) 11.5 feet wide, 16 feet deep.”


  1. CIL 1.497
(Image from Arachne)

D(is) M(anibus) s(acrum) / Iuliae Saturninae / ann(orum) XXXXV / uxori incompara/bili me[dic]ae optimae / mulieri sanctissimae / Cassius Philippus / maritus ob meritis / h(ic) s(ita) e(st) s(it) t(ibi) t(erra) l(evis)

“A sacred rite to the spirits of the dead. To Julia Saturnina, age 45, an incomparable wife, the best doctor, the most noble woman. Gaius Philippus, her husband, (made this) for her merits. She is buried here. May the earth be light on you.”


  1. CIL 6.09616

D(is) M(anibus) / Terentiae / Niceni Terentiae / Primaes medicas li/bertae fecerunt / Mussius Antiochus / et Mussia Dionysia / fil(ii) m(atri) b(ene) m(erenti)

“To the spirits of the dead. To Terentia of Nicaea, freedwoman of the doctor Terentia Prima. Mussius Antiochus and Mussia Dionysia, her children, made this for their well-deserving mother.”

  1. CIL 13.02019
(Image from EDCS)

Metilia Donata medic[a] / de sua pecunia dedit / l(ocus) d(atus) d(ecreto) d(ecurionum)

“Metilia Donata, a doctor, gave this with her own money. This spot was given by decree of the decurions.”

  1. CIL 11.06394

…xia viva fecit / Tutilia Cn(aei) Tutili leib(erta) / Menotia hoc moniment(um) / fecit Octavia[e] Auli l(ibertae) / Artimisiae medicae

…(?) “Tutilia Menotia, freedwoman of Gnaeus Tutilus, made this monument for the doctor Octavia Artemisia, freedwoman of Aulus.”