Funerary Inscription for Aurelia Nais CIL 6.9801, ILS 7500

Cinerary altar, second century CE (full monument; CIL transcription)

Aurelia Nais, memorialized by this beautifully decorated marble cippus of the early 2nd century CE, was a freedwoman who engaged in an occupation that was apparently unusual for women, at least in Rome. If she is indeed the Aurelia, seller of fish, mentioned by Juvenal in Satire V.98, then she was a well-known figure in the city. The sides of the monument are decorated with a pitcher (urceus) and dish (patera) used for libation rituals. The brief inscription is carved in well-formed letters that surround an elegant victory wreath in relief that originally may have contained bronze decorations, perhaps a symbol of her triumph over death. Long after the actual wreaths on her grave had withered, this monument continued to celebrate the affection she inspired in the two freedmen who dedicated it to her; the three cavities at the top for cinerary urns may indicate that they expected to be buried there as well. One was her patron, Gaius Aurelius Phileros; a former slave himself of Gaius Aurelius, he had acquired Nais as a slave and then freed her (see names); the other, Lucius Valerius Secundus, was a freedman of Lucius Valerius whose relationship to Nais is unknown. The fish shop of Aurelius Nais was located in the port district of Rome (the Emporium).

AVRELIA C[ai] L[iberta] NAIS


C[aius] AVRELIVS C[ai] L[ibertus] PHILEROS


L[ucius] VALERIVS L[uci] L[ibertus] SECVNDVS

[hoc monumentum fecerunt]

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