Glorifying One’s Country Through Sacrifice

IG I³ 1179, c. 432 BCE, Dedicatory Inscription in the Athenian Agora

These Athenians died at Poteidaia
Immortal me de[ath…
To indicate excellence…..
Along with the strength of their ancestor…..
When they died they earned as a monument victory in war.

The sky welcomed their souls, while their bodies took this land.
And they perished around the gates of Poteidaia.
Some of their enemies have a tomb as their share, but those who fled
Made their wall the most trusted hope for their lives.

The city and the people of Erekhtheus long for those
Who died among the front lines at Poteidaia,
These children of the Athenians–they set their lives on the balance,
Earned their excellence, and brought glory to their country.”

I.1
ἐμ Π̣οτ̣[ειδαίαι Ἀθεναίον ℎοίδε ἀπέθανον]·
ἀθάνατόν με θ̣α[νο— ⏕ –⏕ –⏑⏑ –⏓] /
σεμαίνεν ἀρετ[ὲν –⏑⏑ –⏑⏑ –] /
καὶ ΠΡΟΓΟΝΟΣΘΕΝΝΕΣ— — — /
νίκεν εὐπόλεμον μνε͂μ’ ἔλαβο<μ> φθ̣[ίμενοι]. /

II.6
αἰθὲρ μὲν φσυχὰς ὑπεδέχσατο, σόμ̣[ατα δὲ χθὸν] /
το͂νδε· Ποτειδαίας δ’ ἀμφὶ πύλας ἐλ[ύθεν]· /
ἐχθρο͂ν δ’ οἱ μὲν ἔχοσι τάφο μέρος, ℎο̣[ι δὲ φυγόντες] /
τεῖχος πιστοτάτεν ℎελπίδ’ ἔθεντο [βίο]. /

III.10
ἄνδρας μὲν πόλις ℎέδε ποθεῖ καὶ δε͂[μος Ἐρεχθο͂ς], /
πρόσθε Ποτειδαίας ℎοὶ θάνον ἐν πρ[ο]μάχοις /
παῖδες Ἀθεναίον· φσυχὰς δ’ ἀντίρρο[π]α θέντες /
ἐ[λλ]άχσαντ’ ἀρετὲν καὶ πατρ̣[ίδ’] ε̣ὐκλ[έ]ϊσα̣ν̣.’

This is a cast of a 5th c. BCE inscription of an epigram on the base of a civic funeral monument dedicated to the Athenians killed in the Battle of Poteidaia (Potidaea) in 432 BCE. The inscription, IG I³ 1179 and Agora XVII.16, is housed at the British Museum. The base probably held a stele containing the names of the 150 men Thucydides (1.63) reports were killed in the battle.
Poteidaia Epigram

Milet VI,2 732 [= GVI I (1955) 33] Dedicatory Inscription in Miletus for those fallen in battle against Megara

This is a monument of those who died–it confers excellence upon them
Those who died brought glory to their country.
A monument is yoked with deeds throughout Greece
And an eternal memory lives on for those who have died.

μνῆμα τόδε̣ [φ]θιμ[έ]νων? ἀρετῆς ἕστ[ηκ’] ἐπὶ τῶ̣ν̣δε,
οἳ κ[τάμεν]οι σφετέ[ρ]ην εὐκ̣λέϊσαν π̣[α]τρίδα·
μν̣η̣[μ]ε̣ῖ̣[ο]ν̣ πᾶσαν δὲ καθ’ Ἑλλάδα σύζ̣[υγ]ον ἔργοις
ἀ̣θ̣ά̣νατος μνήμη ζῶσα θανοῦσ[ιν] ἔπι.

[additional stanzas left out]

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

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

“The Rest Can Go to Hell”: Some Funerary Epigrams for a Friday

Julian 33

“You died from drinking too much, Anacreon.”
“Yes, it was fun! You’ll die too, even though you didn’t drink”

Πολλὰ πιὼν τέθνηκας, Ἀνάκρεον. β. Ἀλλὰ
τρυφήσας· καὶ σὺ δὲ μὴ πίνων ἵξεαι εἰς Ἀΐδην.

Julian

“I have sung this much and I will sing it from eternal rest:
Drink before you don this dusty dress!”

Πολλάκι μὲν τόδ᾿ ἄεισα, καὶ ἐκ τύμβου δὲ βοήσω·
“Πίνετε, πρὶν ταύτην ἀμφιβάλησθε κόνιν

Antipater 15

“My name is Sappho—and I surpassed women in song
As much as Homer did the men.”

Οὔνομά μευ Σαπφώ. τόσσον δ᾿ ὑπερέσχον ἀοιδὰν
θηλειᾶν, ἀνδρῶν ὅσσον ὁ Μαιονίδας.

Anonymous, 28

‘Stranger going by this tomb of Anakreon,
Pour me some wine as you pass by. For I am a drinker.”

Ὦ ξένε, τόνδε τάφον τὸν Ἀνακρείοντος ἀμείβων,
σπεῖσόν μοι παριών· εἰμὶ γὰρ οἰνοπότης.

Anonymous 63 

“Ferryman of the corpses, take me, the dog Diogenes
Who exposed all of life’s affectations.”

Τὸν κύνα Διογένη, νεκυοστόλε, δέξο με, πορθμεῦ,
γυμνώσαντα βίου παντὸς ἐπισκύνιον.

Anonymous  84

“This grave is small, but its fame is equal to heaven
For this is the memorial of the brilliant Thales”

Ἦ ὀλίγον τόδε σᾶμα, τὸ δὲ κλέος οὐρανόμηκες
τοῦ πολυφροντίστου τοῦτο Θάλητος ὅρη.

Anonymous  134

“Here lies the head of the Cynic Gorgias,
No longer coughing or blowing my nose”

Ἐνθάδε Γοργίου ἡ κεφαλὴ κυνικοῦ κατάκειμαι,
οὐκέτι χρεμπτομένη, οὔτ᾿ ἀπομυσσομένη.

Anonymous 348

“After eating little, drinking little, and being sick a lot
Eventually I died. Go to hell the rest of you too!”

Βαιὰ φαγὼν καὶ βαιὰ πιὼν καὶ πολλὰ νοσήσας,
ὀψὲ μέν, ἀλλ᾿ ἔθανον. ἔρρετε πάντες ὁμοῦ.

Image result for Ancient Greek epitaph

Erycius 377

“Even though he lies in the ground, pour out pitch
In the filthy mouth of Parthenius
Because he puked meaningless myriad floods on the muses
And his refuse of his repugnant poems.
”He was so absolutely crazy that he called
The Odyssey mud and the Iliad a mess.
That’s why he is chained by the dusky Furies
In the middle of hell with a dog collar on his neck”

Εἰ καὶ ὑπὸ χθονὶ κεῖται, ὅμως ἔτι καὶ κατὰ πίσσαν
τοῦ μιαρογλώσσου χεύατε Παρθενίου,
οὕνεκα Πιερίδεσσιν ἐνήμεσε μυρία κεῖνα
φλέγματα καὶ μυσαρῶν ἀπλυσίην ἐλέγων.
ἤλασε καὶ μανίης ἐπὶ δὴ τόσον, ὥστ᾿ ἀγορεῦσαι
πηλὸν Ὀδυσσείην καὶ βάτον Ἰλιάδα.
τοιγὰρ ὑπὸ ζοφίαισιν Ἐρινύσιν ἀμμέσον ἧπται
Κωκυτοῦ κλοιῷ λαιμὸν ἀπαγχόμενος.

 

 

 

“The Rest Can Go to Hell”: Some Funerary Epigrams

Before New Year’s Eve, Palaiophron tweeted the following from Simonides:

In desperation and joy, I scoured book seven of the Greek Anthology looking for more. I did not find any the equal of Simonides’ genius above, but here are some others.

Julian 33

“You died from drinking too much, Anacreon.”
“Yes, it was fun! You’ll die too, even though you didn’t drink”

Πολλὰ πιὼν τέθνηκας, Ἀνάκρεον. β. Ἀλλὰ
τρυφήσας· καὶ σὺ δὲ μὴ πίνων ἵξεαι εἰς Ἀΐδην.

Julian

“I have sung this much and I will sing it from eternal rest:
Drink before you don this dusty dress!”

Πολλάκι μὲν τόδ᾿ ἄεισα, καὶ ἐκ τύμβου δὲ βοήσω·
“Πίνετε, πρὶν ταύτην ἀμφιβάλησθε κόνιν

Antipater 15

“My name is Sappho—and I surpassed women in song
As much as Homer did the men.”

Οὔνομά μευ Σαπφώ. τόσσον δ᾿ ὑπερέσχον ἀοιδὰν
θηλειᾶν, ἀνδρῶν ὅσσον ὁ Μαιονίδας.

Anonymous, 28

‘Stranger going by this tomb of Anakreon,
Pour me some wine as you pass by. For I am a drinker.”

Ὦ ξένε, τόνδε τάφον τὸν Ἀνακρείοντος ἀμείβων,
σπεῖσόν μοι παριών· εἰμὶ γὰρ οἰνοπότης.

Anonymous 63 

“Ferryman of the corpses, take me, the dog Diogenes
Who exposed all of life’s affectations.”

Τὸν κύνα Διογένη, νεκυοστόλε, δέξο με, πορθμεῦ,
γυμνώσαντα βίου παντὸς ἐπισκύνιον.

Anonymous  84

“This grave is small, but its fame is equal to heaven
For this is the memorial of the brilliant Thales”

Ἦ ὀλίγον τόδε σᾶμα, τὸ δὲ κλέος οὐρανόμηκες
τοῦ πολυφροντίστου τοῦτο Θάλητος ὅρη.

Anonymous  134

“Here lies the head of the Cynic Gorgias,
No longer coughing or blowing my nose”

Ἐνθάδε Γοργίου ἡ κεφαλὴ κυνικοῦ κατάκειμαι,
οὐκέτι χρεμπτομένη, οὔτ᾿ ἀπομυσσομένη.

Anonymous 348

“After eating little, drinking little, and being sick a lot
Eventually I died. Go to hell the rest of you too!”

Βαιὰ φαγὼν καὶ βαιὰ πιὼν καὶ πολλὰ νοσήσας,
ὀψὲ μέν, ἀλλ᾿ ἔθανον. ἔρρετε πάντες ὁμοῦ.

Image result for Ancient Greek epitaph

Erycius 377

“Even though he lies in the ground, pour out pitch
In the filthy mouth of Parthenius
Because he puked meaningless myriad floods on the muses
And his refuse of his repugnant poems.
”He was so absolutely crazy that he called
The Odyssey mud and the Iliad a mess.
That’s why he is chained by the dusky Furies
In the middle of hell with a dog collar on his neck”

Εἰ καὶ ὑπὸ χθονὶ κεῖται, ὅμως ἔτι καὶ κατὰ πίσσαν
τοῦ μιαρογλώσσου χεύατε Παρθενίου,
οὕνεκα Πιερίδεσσιν ἐνήμεσε μυρία κεῖνα
φλέγματα καὶ μυσαρῶν ἀπλυσίην ἐλέγων.
ἤλασε καὶ μανίης ἐπὶ δὴ τόσον, ὥστ᾿ ἀγορεῦσαι
πηλὸν Ὀδυσσείην καὶ βάτον Ἰλιάδα.
τοιγὰρ ὑπὸ ζοφίαισιν Ἐρινύσιν ἀμμέσον ἧπται
Κωκυτοῦ κλοιῷ λαιμὸν ἀπαγχόμενος.