Funerary inscription from Pompeii

A story that’s made a few papers this morning (e.g. The Guardian) about a startlingly intact body in a tomb at the Porta di Sarno in Pompeii, includes reference to the inscription and important new information it gives us about Pompeiian culture.

An inscription on the tomb. Photograph: Cesare Abbate

An inscription on the tomb. Photograph: Cesare Abbate

Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of Pompeii archaeological park, said the inscription was “the first clear evidence of performances at Pompeii in the Greek language.”

(Leaving aside the garbled headline in some lesser papers suggesting that this is the first evidence of the use of Greek in the Roman Empire…) this would indeed seem to be an important find. Does anyone have more information, or commentary, on this inscription, or would be willing speculate here?

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2 Responses to Funerary inscription from Pompeii

  1. Terry Walsh says:


    Mostly, fairly clear. aedituus = temple-manager or temple-guardian. I am not convinced that LVDOS GRAICOS refers to song or theatre; it might refer to displays of wrestling, weight-lifting aut sim.

  2. Tom Gheldof says:

    Georgy Kantor wrote a thorough first comment on this remarkable epitaph, highlighting some (un)usual details of the inscription and providing more information about its background (the religious functions and the role of freedmen in organising theatrical plays). His reading:

    M(arcus) Venerius coloniae | lib(ertus) Secundio, aedituus | Veneris, Augustalis et min(ister) | eorum. Hic solus ludos Graecos | et Latinos quadriduo dedit.

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