Memorials of Eternal Words

Demosthenes, Funeral Oration, 35

“It is a hard thing for a mother and father to lose their children and to be deprived of their loved ones’ care in their old age; but it is a sacred comfort to see their offspring earn ageless honors and a public memorial of their virtue, when they are considered worthy of immortal sacrifices and contests. It is painful for children to become orphaned from their father; but it is ennobling to receive a share of their parent’s glory.”

χαλεπὸν πατρὶ καὶ μητρὶ παίδων στερηθῆναι καὶ ἐρήμοις εἶναι τῶν οἰκειοτάτων γηροτρόφων· σεμνὸν δέ γ᾿ ἀγήρως τιμὰς καὶ μνήμην ἀρετῆς δημοσίᾳ κτησαμένους ἐπιδεῖν, καὶ θυσιῶν καὶ ἀγώνων ἠξιωμένους ἀθανάτων. λυπηρὸν παισὶν ὀρφανοῖς γεγενῆσθαι πατρός· καλὸν δέ γε κληρονομεῖν πατρῴας εὐδοξίας.

Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans, 251 Agesliaos

“When he was sailing back from Egypt, he began to die. He was telling those near him that a painting, or picture, or any statue of his body was not to be made, saying, “if I have accomplished anything good, let that be my memorial. If I have not, all the statues and the works of craftsmen will be worth nothing at all.”

Κατὰ δὲ τὸν Αἰγύπτου1ἀπόπλουν ἀποθνῄσκων ἐνετείλατο τοῖς περὶ αὐτὸν μήτε πλαστὰν μήτε γραπτὰν μήτε μιμηλὰν τοῦ σώματος εἰκόνα ποιήσασθαι, “εἰ γάρ τι καλὸν ἔργον πεποίηκα, τοῦτό μου μνημεῖον ἔσται· εἰ δὲ μή, οὐδ᾿ οἱ πάντες ἀνδριάντες, βαναύσων καὶ οὐδενὸς ἀξίων ἔργα ὄντες.”

Seneca, De Consolatione ad Polybium 2

“Extend the memory of your brother with some memorial of your writing: this is the only thing in human affairs which no storm can weaken and no expanse of time can consume. The rest—those made through the mounding of marble and stones or building up tombs of earth—they don’t last beyond a long day, since they will perish too. But creativity’s memory meets no death.”

Fratris quoque tui produc memoriam aliquo scriptorum monimento tuorum; hoc enim unum est in rebus humanis opus, cui nulla tempestas noceat, quod nulla consumat vetustas. Cetera, quae per constructionem lapidum et marmoreas moles aut terrenos tumulos in magnam eductos altitudinem constant, non propagant longam diem, quippe et ipsa intereunt; immortalis est ingeni memoria.

Dalí-Pitxot. The Allegory of Memory | Exhibitions | Fundació Gala ...
La llegenda del violoncel·lista i del paravent daurat

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
χαῖρε.
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

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
χαῖρε.
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

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