The second installment of ACE Director Souzana Steverding's "Inscriptions in Stone". Romans used inscriptions pretty much the same way we do today. This article shows examples of ancient Roman inscriptions on tombstones, giving us a glimpse of the lives of the people they honour.
II - Tombstones
A good site covering them is http://museums.ncl.ac.uk/wallnet/ant/tomb.htm and also see http://www.pyrrha.demon.co.uk/ntombs1.html
Found at Vercovicium on Hadrian's Wall around 1813, this tombstone was for a young Military Doctor stationed there...
By kind permission of the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle.
Note the standard opening for a tombstone inscription
D (is) M (anibus)
AN (nos) XXV
"To the spirits of the departed, to
Anicius Ingenuus, "Medicus ordinarius"
of the First Tungrian Cohort. He lived
25 years" .
A Medicus Ordinarius was most probably a Doctor with the rank equivalent of a Centurion. Note the lovely " Hare" carved into the tombstone - it is likely that this is a family emblem.
Tombstone of an Armourer of Legion XX, found in Bath / Aquae Sulis, now in the Museum there. Probably 3rd Cent AD - Ref RIB 156. - Note that the Armourers of the Legions were organized into a Guild.
IVLIVS VITALLIS FABRICIE(n)SLIS LEG(ionis) XX V(aleriae)
V(ictris) STIPENDIORVM IX AN(n)OR(UM) XXIX NATIONE
BELGA, EX COL(l)EGIO FABRIC(i)E(nsium) ELATVS
H(ic) S(itus) E(st).
Iulius Vitalis, armourer of the Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix, of 9 years' service, aged 29, by origin a Belga, with funeral at the cost of the guild of armourers. Here he lies. Tombstone of a Greek in London - from the 1st or early 2nd century AD. In the British Museum - (ref RIB 9)
A (ulus) ALFID(ius) POMP(tina tribu) OLVSSA
EX TESTAMENTO HER (es) POS(uit)
ANNOR(um) LXX NA (us) ATHENI (s) H (ic) S(itus) EST.
"Aulus Alfirius Olussa, of the voting tribe Pomptina , set up by his heir in accordance with his will, aged 70, born in Athens, here he lies."