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Inapplicable Data:
The Fate of a Tombstone


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Transcribed and expanded:

. . . IN FRONTE PEDES XI . . .
. . . IN AGRO PEDES XI . . .

Translated:

. . . 10+ feet across . . .
. . . 10+ feet back . . .

This is all that's left of someone's tombstone.

It was meant of course to memorialize them: but their name is lost.

What remains is a highly abbreviated, because extremely standard, legal description of the grave plot.

Yet we don't even have that.

The stone is missing its right edge, and each measurement could be anything from XI to XIIII, or even XIIX (yes, occasionally that's the way Romans wrote "18") or XIX.

The stone has been moved anyway. We don't know where the grave was.

What do we have, finally? A record of human dignity: somewhere a small plot of earth is sacred to the shades of someone much like ourselves.

Page updated: 3 Aug 98