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Essays - Roman Inscriptions on Stone Print E-mail

In April 2003, encouraged by the very helpful Press Officer at the Museum of Antiquities in Newcastle, England, we asked teachers to lead their Students into Roman Inscriptions as seen on other facets of Roman life - "not" coins - so that the students could see the written Latin on altars, tombstones, dedication tables on buildings, etc.,  and -on a particularly Roman item - Curse Tablets !


A wonderful altar stone from Housesteads Fort on Hadrian's Wall, shown courtesy of the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle, England

Prior to their students attempting this Essay, Teachers went into great details discussing the subject, with the help of the ACE documents HERE

You, as students,  have studied a sampling of Latin inscriptions when you researched your Roman coins.  The Romans also carved  messages into stone for many purposes.   They honored the dead on tombstones, builders on their construction projects, gods and spirits on temples and altars, military successes on monuments.  They carved curses, expressions of thanks, and pledges of vows.

You will find a good assortment of these inscriptions taken from genuine Roman remains and showing the different ways in which they were used in the ACE dfocuments at the URL given above.

 The "title" of each student's essay will be an inscription, created by that particular student - not assigned to the class as a whole by the teacher.    If a student wants to write his/her inscription in Latin, an English translation must follow below it.  Also below, students should indicate the context of the inscription (e.g. tombstone, building dedication, altar, etc.) and the date on which the dedication was made.  Then the essay will fill in the background.  Writing in either 1st or 3rd person, students can take the point of view of the person honored in the inscription, the author of the inscription, or even a third person.  Students should research the time period well and portray accurate historical events as a background to a vivid, detailed, and creative narrative.

Here is an interesting "the Emperor Hadrian ordered this" dedication on Hadrian's Wall in Northern England.

Image from Hotbank milecastle on Hadrian's Wall - Circa AD 123 - by kind permission of the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle. ref RIB # 1638

IMP (eratoris)   CAES (aris)  TRAIAN (i)  

HADRIANI  AVG (usti)  LEG (io)   II AVG (usta) A (ulo)

  PLATORIO NEPOTE  LEG (ato)  PR(o)   PR(aetore)

In honor of ) the Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, the Second Legion Augusta  ( built this) under Aulus Platorius Nepos, governor.

See the winning essays - click the links below

Junior winner Annabelle C. 12, Teacher Lee Pasborg Nell Holcomb School, MO (pdf 17kb)

Intermediate winner Katie C. 14, Teacher Leslie Perkins St Johns Country Day School, FL (pdf 19kb)

Senior winner Matthew S. 17, Teacher Lynn Gibert Fairview HS, CO (pdf 29kb)