Monday, September 10, 2018


To the Memory of Aelia Secundula

Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 8.20277, tr. Ramsay MacMullen, The Second Church: Popular Christianity A.D. 200-400 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), p. 58, with note on p. 160 (I changed "the while the loaves" to "while the loaves"):
                              To the memory of Aelia Secundula:
We all have already spent much, as is right, on the burial, but we have decided furthermore to put up a stone dining chamber where Mother Secundula rests, wherein we may recall the many wonderful things she did, while the loaves, the cups, the cushions are set out, so as to assuage the sharp hurt that eats at our hearts. While the hour grows late, gladly will we revisit our tales about our virtuous mother, and our praises of her, while the old lady sleeps, she who nourished us and lies forever here in sober peace. She lived 72 years. Dated by the province's year 260 [A.D. 299]. Statulenia Iulia set up [the memorial].27

27. At Aïn Kebira Satifis, CIL 8.20277 Diehl (1925-31) 1.301 no. 1570; among many mentions, cf. Iosi (1924) 105f. In the inscription "mensa" is taken in the sense of a building, whereas, as I've explained, the alternative and older meaning of "table" is what I favor.
She lived for 75 years, not 72, as the Latin in the Corpus makes clear (p. 1913, with note):
    Memoriae Aeliae Secundulae.
Funeri mu[l]ta quid(e)m condigna iam misimus omnes,
insuper ar(a)equ(e) deposit(a)e Secundulae matri.
Lapideam placuit nobis atponere mensam,
in qua magna eius memorantes plurima facta,
dum cibi ponuntur calicesq(ue) e[t] copertae,
vulnus ut sanetur nos rod(ens) pectore saevum,
libenter fabul(as) dum sera red(d)imus hora
castae matri bonae laudesq(ue), vetula dormit;
ipsa [q(uae)] nutri(i)t, iaces, et sobria<e> semper!
V(ixit) a(nnis) LXXV. A(nno) p(rovinciae) CCLX (= p. Chr. 299). Statulenia Iulia fecit.

Carmen acrosticum est simulque telestichium; primae et ultimae versuum litterae efficiunt verba fili dulci simae matr. — 6 copertae videtur dictum esse pro coopertoriis, et significari vestis stragula.
The stone:

I learned about the inscription from Johannes Quasten, "'Vetus Superstitio et Nova Religio': The Problem of Refrigerium in the Ancient Church of North Africa," Harvard Theological Review 33.4 (October, 1940) 253-266 (at 257).

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