Friday, November 18, 2022


Let Us Drink and Have Fun

Inscription on an ossuary which turned up in Aranova, published in Gian Luca Gregori and Gianmarco Bianchini, "Tra epigrafia, letteratura e filologia. Due inedite meditazioni sulla vita e sulla morte incise sull'ossario di Cresto," in Monique Dondin-Payre and Nicolas Tran, edd., Esclaves et maîtres dans le monde romain. Expressions épigraphiques de leurs relations (Rome: École française de Rome, 2016), pp. 122-138 (at 125, slightly modified):
ossarium Chresti, Primigeni, Arescusaes.
ultuma dum requies fatis me traxerit ad plures,
ubi nemo est, ne lacrumate meos cineres et vos
onerate mero et dicite: homo bellus abit. quod
fuit hoc sumus, quod nunc iacet hoc erimus.
moneo ne lacrumetis: potate, ludite!
spatium breve vitae longum facimus dolore. Fortunae
servimus cum sit Venus et Liber. quod futurum est scit nemo.
hodierna lux ni pereat, bibamus et ludamus! erit dies sine me.
Photograph of the side of the ossuary containing the inscription (id., p. 126):
My translation:
Container of the bones of Crestus, Primigenius, Arescusa.
When by the Fates' decree the final rest shall have carried me off to the great majority,
where no one exists, weep not over my ashes, but do you
drench (me) with unmixed wine and say: "A fine fellow has gone away. What
he was, this we are, what now lies here, this we will be."
I urge you not to weep: drink, have fun!
We make life's short span long with grieving. Fortune's
slaves are we, although there is love and wine. What will be, no one knows.
Lest today's light die, let us drink and have fun! There will be day without me.
See Dylan Bovet, "Honorare e(s)t onerare," in Michel Aberson et al., edd., Mélanges de linguistique, de philologie et d'histoire ancienne offerts à Rudolf Wachter (Lausanne: Université de Lausanne, 2020 = Cahiers de l'ILSL, 60), pp. 109-116 (at 113-114).

Thanks to the friend who pointed out that dum in the first line = "quo puncto temporis (i.q. cum temp.)," citing Thesaurus Linguae Latinae 5,1:2218, especially:
VVLG. Tob. 4, 3 dum (Amiat., cum rell.) acceperit deus animam meam, corpus meum sepeli (ἐὰν ἀποθάνω)
and also 5,1:2202:
dum introducit actionem momentariam simul accidentem cum actione sententiae regentis (i.q. quo tempore, cum temp. 'als, wann'
I revised my translation accordingly.

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