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Bill Thayer

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The Tomb of Secundinus


[image ALT: A bit of brick wall, some three meters long and maybe two meters high, in which are embedded about two dozen fragments of old marble, some carved or bearing inscriptions. It is a modern reconstruction of the Tomb of Secundinus, on the Via Appia near Rome.]

This reassembled tomb includes the fragments of several funerary inscriptions, the largest of which is that of Titus Claudius Secundinus, by whose name the monument is referred.

The most striking thing to me as I stood in front of it and read the inscriptions, was that the whole thing seems to have been the undertaking of one woman, who buried husband and children and possibly others. I think of this place as Irene's monument to her family.

Here for example, is her 9‑year‑old son, also named Titus (and notice the interesting numeral form XIIX):


[image ALT: A square stone, maybe 50 cm wide, bearing an eight-line inscription inscriptions. It is a detail of the Tomb of Secundinus, on the Via Appia near Rome.]
Transcribed:
Expanded:
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1



5
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TI CLAVDIO
TI FILIO PAL
SECVNDINO
AN NAT IX M IX
D XIIX EQVO PVB
F DVLCISSIMO
FLAVIA IRENE
MATER
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1



5
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Tito Claudio,
Titi filio, ex Palatina tribu,
Secundino,
annos nato IX menses IX
dies XIIX, equo publico exornato.
Filio dulcissimo
Flavia Irene,
mater.
Translated:
1
3
2
4
5
6
7
8
To Titus Claudius
Secundinus,
son of Titus, of the Palatine tribe,
9 years, 9 months
and 18 days old, honored by being given a horse at public expense.
To her sweetest son,
Flavia Irene,
his mother.

Now after wondering out loud why people never go look at the backs of churches, I fell into the same trap myself. The hundreds of tombs fronting on the Appia seem to have had a mesmerizing effect on me, and I almost never went behind the "façade" and looked. In this case, I've been told I missed the best part. (Back someday, I hope.) 
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Page updated: 23 May 01