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Widow in a Hurry

CIL V.2311 (ILS 8316)

An ancient Roman inscription on stone, highly abbreviated — the text is given on this page — and decorated with a small carving of what looks like a rabbit and a dog.

This inscription is on the E outer wall of the cathedral of Chioggia.

From the style of the monumental capitals, somewhat influenced by manuscript lettering (note in particular the shading and the S's), late 1c A.D.?

Transcription:
Expansion:
1



5
LOC · SEP
M VOLUM
NI · M · F
TENACIS
Q Q V P XV
C · R · P · V
1



5
Locus sepulchri
Marci Volum-
-ni Marci filii
Tenacis
quoquoversus pedes XV
coniunx reverenter posuit voto.
Translation:
1
2, 4
3
5
6
Site of the tomb
of Marcus Volumnus Tenax
son of Marcus,
in each direction 15 feet:
his wife reverently placed [this marker]
in accordance with a vow.

The glorious string of abbreviations at the end is what made it possible for Mrs. Tenax to bring you the two animals, whatever they are. . . .

Line 5 is a standard abbreviation, but if you're just starting out as a reader of Latin inscriptions, anytime you see P followed by some small number N on a tombstone, your first impulse should be pedes N, N feet. Usually the plot is not square, so the frontage (frons) and the depth back from that frontage (ager) will be different, and the formula will be in fronte P . . . in agro P . . . (often further abbreviated I F P . . . I A P). Here, instead, you're left with Q Q V: still, it's a smaller abbreviation to look up if you don't know it.

Line 6 is my own expansion, but based on the same principle: P V is a standard abbreviation for posuit voto; what else could C R be? Well, there are a number of other solutions —

Cineres requiescunt. Posuit vivus suggested by Orelli in the early 19c: "His ashes are at rest (here). He set up (this marker) while he was living."

but this one seems likeliest to me.

The Volumni, by the way, were a well-known Umbrian family, attested by other funerary inscriptions in the museum of nearby Rovigo and elsewhere in Italy, but especially by their important family tomb near Perugia.


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Page updated: 17 Jun 14