Monday, December 15, 2014


Epitaph of Quintus Aelius Apollonius

Année Épigraphique 1947, 31 (tr. E. Courtney):
To a man is given life that is slippery, shaky, fleeting, fragile, good or bad, treacherous, hanging on a slender thread through a variety of chances with no clearly-marked finishing-post. Live to the full, mortal, while the Fates grant you time, whether the country embraces you or cities or a military camp or the sea. Love the flowers of Venus, pluck the benign gifts of Ceres and the generous gifts of Bacchus and the viscous gifts of Athena; cultivate a serene life, calm because of your clear conscience. Speedily a boy and a youth, speedily a man and then worn out by old age, you will be like this in the tomb, with no memory of the honours of men alive on earth.

Lubrica quassa levis fragilis bona vel mala fallax
Vita data est homini, non certo limite cretae,
Per varios casus tenuato stamine pende(n)s.
Vivito, mortalis, dum dant tibi tempora Parc(a)e,
Seu te rura tenent, urbes seu castra vel (a)equor.        5
Flores ama Veneris, Cereris bona munera carpe
Et Nysii larga et pinguia dona Minervae;
Candida(m) vita(m) cole iustissima mente serenus.
Iam puer et iu(v)enis, iam vir et fessus ab annis,
Talis eris tumulo superumque oblitus honores.        10
The epitaph is an acrostic (Lupus fecit). The gifts of Ceres, Bacchus, and Athena (lines 6-7) are bread, wine, and olive oil.

Some bibliography:

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