Tag Archives: Child death

First Things First

Gaius Caelius Donatus of Oppidum Novum in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis (now Ain Defla, Algeria) was really looking forward to New Year’s Day. An auspicious day, the Romans marked New Year’s Day with religious ceremonies and sacrifice (as T. … Continue reading

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Fruit of the Doom: an Image of Life, Death, and Letting Go in Roman Poetry

Death has been on my mind lately, having recently learnt of the untimely passing of two of my colleagues at the University of Reading. Whether death was imminent or came suddenly, whether it hits the old or the young – … Continue reading

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Departure, Abandonment, and Grief: Latin Poems about Death in Childbirth

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the poem for a Roman lap-dog named Margarita (‘Pearl’), whose splendid inscription I managed to visit in the British museum. The text of the inscription – moving, personal, and affectionate – has … Continue reading

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Latin Poetry and the Limits of Roman Medicine

There is a notorious passage in Plutarch‘s Life of Cato the Elder (23.3-4), in which the Greek philosopher denounces the infamous censor‘s view on Greek medicine: It was not only Greek philosophers that he hated, but he was also suspicious … Continue reading

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The Riddle of a Poor Man’s Epitaph

As I write these lines, I am in Tarragona, about one hour south of Barcelona by train, on Catalonia’s Costa Daurada (‘Golden Coast’). Tarragona, Roman Tarraco, now a UNESCO world heritage site, is home to some of the most impressive … Continue reading

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A Sense of Fatality: Ancient Latin Poems for Road Casualties

Among the top three things the Romans have done for us, one must – obviously – list their roads. Justly famous, they are right up there with sanitation and, of course, the aqueduct: With roads comes traffic, however, and with … Continue reading

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Poetic Dreams of Flight

The crash of Germanwings flight 9525 has been on my mind quite a lot recently. Previously, on occasion of a similar incident (namely that of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370), I have published blog posts about the horrors that relatives of … Continue reading

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Meet the gloomiest Romans of all time

Last week, I introduced a (very small) choice of inscriptions that presented a variety of ways in which heartbroken parents had begun to come to terms with the loss of their offspring. An inscription that I chose not to include … Continue reading

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