Tag Archives: Poverty

Poverty and the Poetics of Underclass Morality

Is there a direct (inversely proportional) relation between (desired) material wealth and morality? The author of the first pseudo-Sallustian letter to Caesar appears to think so ([Sall.] epist. 1.7.3-9; transl. J. C. Rolfe): But by far the greatest blessing which … 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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The Master and Margarita

Today, I had the immense pleasure of seeing one of my most favourite inscribed Latin poems – the epitaph for Margarita (‘Pearl’), a lap-dog, born in Gaul, deceased in second or third century Rome. The inscription on this marble plaque, … Continue reading

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Spread the Wealth

Have I ever told you the one about politicians and fiscal responsibility? The joke that is so old it was first recorded in a Pompeian wall inscription? It goes like this (CIL IV 3702 cf. p. 1383 = ILS 6405): … Continue reading

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Europa, Europe, and the Compelling Imagery of the Latin Inscriptions

Memory is treacherous. Yet, I seem to remember rather vividly a time when our politicians talked about a project they called our ‘common European home’ (Mikhail Gorbachev) or envisioned a ‘Europe, Whole and Free’ (George H. W. Bush). I liked … Continue reading

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The Faint Voices of the Poor of Ancient Rome

More often than not, we tend to turn our eyes away from poverty and the poor, the blemish on the conscience of our society in which everything exists in abundance and in which no one would have to suffer from … Continue reading

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