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7.5.Geggie

 CIL 6.14672 is a funerary monument established for Cerellia Fortunata by her husband Encolpus that was incorporated into a columbarium near the Villa Pamphili in Rome. Prior treatments of this inscription have been simple translations (Shore, P. [1997] Rest Lightly. Wauconda, Il) and general commentary (e.g. Moretti in IGUR and Kunst, C [2000] Römische Wohn - und Lebenswelten Quellen zur Geschichte der römischen Stadt. Darmstadt, Germany). In this paper I argue for a new interpretation of the monument based on the phases in which the text of the inscription were carved, which then serve as a basis to explore the degree to which these Greek freedmen identified, or sought to identify, themselves with Greek culture on their funerary monument in light of their perceived Romanitas. To do this, I apply current research in bilingualism in the ancient world (Swain, Adams, Leiwo, et al.), in addition to standard archaeological and epigraphical methodologies.

This phasing, determined by letter size and character, allows for a nuanced reading of the texts gathered on the stone that reveals an ongoing process by which both the bereaved and deceased conceptualized and expressed their identity. On the one hand, the Latin portion of the inscription contains the traditional sepulchral accoutrements, including abbreviations, and a highly technical text employing the ius sepulcri familiare. The Greek text consists of two poems, one in Iambic trimeters and the other in elegiac couplets, both of which express epicurean beliefs while hidden within the larger, legalistic Latin text. At first glance one could imagine some readers getting bogged down in the Latin legal text and choosing to walk by because it looks like one long, continuous text and that appears to have just one subject. The overall effect of the Greek epigram for those Greek-speaking passers-by, then, is to shock them out of the Latin text and turn their attention to something completely different and very personal, particularly since it starts with an exhortation for the passer-by to stop in spite of being buried in Latin, which makes this hidden morsel of Greek all the more tantalizing. Thus this inscription provides us with a complex look at its life through the phasing of the monument, in addition to providing two powerful texts which characterize those associated with the inscription. Encolpus and Cerellia constructed this inscription at its various stages with the intent to appear as Roman as possible while paying homage to their cultural history. For these reasons, the stone offers modern readers a window into the lives of two Greeks engaged in a struggle to cope with their Romanitasin light of their ethnos. While just one inscription, this monument provides a view of a poorly documented stratum of Roman society with which we can begin to understand other such inscriptions and further develop conversations about the Greek experience under the Roman Empire.

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