Notes to the Funerary Inscription for Octavia Arbuscula

Octavia, -ae f.
Octavia, the nomen of the gens Octavia, the family into which Arbuscula was born a slave and whose name was added to her slave name upon manumission. The Octavii, a famous plebeian family from the Alban hill town of Velitrae, were given patrician status by Julius Caesar, who adopted Gaius Octavius (his grandnephew, the future Augustus) as his son and heir.
L[ucius], -i m.
Lucius was one of four praenomina regularly given to males born into the gens Octavia.
⊃[Gaia], -ae f.
wife; this symbol, a reversed C, is used in inscriptions to refer to, but not give the name of, the matrona who independently or, as here, with her husband Lucius, freed the deceased. The symbol is traditionally transcribed [Gaia], the generic name pronounced by the bride in her wedding ceremony: "Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia".
liberta, -ae f.
freedwoman; manumitted slave. The name and status of the deceased to whom the monument is dedicated is usually found in the dative case.
Arbuscula, -ae f.
Arbuscula was her slave name. A Latin word meaning small tree, shrub, it is an indication that she was native-born. Her unusual name may have been influenced by the memory of the mima Arbuscula, a famous actress in the mimes in Cicero's day (see Horace, Sermones I.10.76-7).

vīvo, -ere, vixi, victum
live, be alive, enjoy life; followed by the ablative of time within which (annis).

mensis, is m.
month; the stonemason carved MENSENS for menses.

Tuccia: the nomen of a noble gens in Ostia during the Empire. Tuccia, the  legendary Vestal Virgin who carried water in a sieve from the Tiber to the Temple of Vesta in defense of her chastity, was perhaps a member of this family.

Urbana: the Latin name means townswoman and suggests she was Italian rather than foreign, born in the family's town house rather than on the farm. Missing in the inscription is the verb of dedication feci.

terminus, -i m.
limit, end, boundary line.

vicesimus, -a, -um
twentieth; the mason misspelled the word as vicensimus. The line does not scan properly; if tertius et is removed and annus is added from l. 2, the hexameter line scans perfectly.

cum conjunction
when; since; seeing that; as; verses similar to ll. 2-4 were inscribed on a tomb marker for a 6-year old boy found at the Pincian Gate in Rome (see CIL 6.23551, lines 1-3).

floreo, -ēre, -uī
blossom, flower; (age) to be in one’s prime; (fig) to flourish, prosper; present participle, modifying me.

combūrō, -rere, -ssī, -stum
burn up (as on a funeral pyre); syncopated  form of the 3 pl. combusserunt. This line is also hypermetric; if annus is removed, the hexameter line scans correctly.

parens, -entis m./f.
parent, father, mother; ancestor, founder; subject of combussere.

dum conjunction
while; as long as; provided that.

licuit, ere, -uit/licitum est (impersonal)
it is permitted, it is lawful; a parenthetical phrase with dum.

superi, -um m. pl.
the gods above; ablative case after the comparative adjective.

acceptus, -a, um
acceptable;  the comparative form, which  is better translated here as "rather" instead of "more." It modifies una, in apposition to the subject of vixi.

quoi=cui, the relative pronoun; it is in the dative case, the object of the verb maledicere.

nemo, -inis m./f.
no one, nobody; subject of potuit.

maledico, -ere, -dixi, -dictum + dative
speak ill of; abuse; insult;  quoi (=cui) is the object of the verb.

acerbus, -a, um
harsh, rough; bitter; ablative of means. In CIL 6.23551, line 3 reads:  verbo maledicere acerbo.

crudelis, -e
cruel, hard-hearted; as the meter requires a dactyl in the first food and crudele ( _ _ u) is not (see below line 8), scholars have suggested triste.

funus, -eris n.
funeral; death; corpse.

natus m.
son; child; the stonemason seems to have copied the word from his source:  read natae

pius, -a, -um
dutiful; affectionate; godly.

complexus, -us m.
embrace; affection; the object of spoliata.

spolio (1)  + ablative
rob (of), strip, plunder; modifies pia mater.

senesco, -ere, -ui
grow old, pine away; modifies mater.

at conjunction
but, on the other hand, at least.

dulcis, -e
sweet, pleasant, lovely, kind, dear. Since dulcis soror is not a proper dactyl, scholars have proposed instead: at tu me soror exstincta solare.

soror, -oris f.

exstinquo, -ere, -stinxi, -stinctum
kill, destroy, abolish;  the stonemason seems to have copied the word directly from his source:  read exstincta, an ablative absolute with me

solor (1 deponent)
comfort, console; relieve, ease. The form solare is the 2nd singular imperative, with parentes as its direct object.

Pluto (also Pluton), -onis m.
Pluto, lord of the underworld; vocative case. Epitaphs traditionally blame death on the malice of Pluto or the Parcae (Fates).  From this line to the end, the epitaph becomes an elegy; the poem has four elegiac couplets.

nimium, -i n.
abundance, excess; followed by the partitive genitive rapinae.

saevio, -ire, -ii, -itum
rage; rave. The 4th principle part is used here uniquely in an active sense, as a substantive (noun); it is in the vocative case, addressed to the god of the underworld.

rapina, -ae f.
robbery; theft; plunder; prey.

parco, -ere, peperci, parsum + dative
refrain from, spare; stop (with the infinitive lacerare).

precor (1 dep.)
beg, pray, entreat.

iam adverb
already, now; therefore.

lacero (1)
waste, destroy; tear; wreck.

lapis, -idis m.
tombstone; stone; in the vocative case.

obtestor (1 dep.)
entreat; call upon; followed by the accusative of person and the subjunctive residas. A trope found on many funerary monuments with various addressees.

leviter adverb
lightly; easily.  See Martial, Epigrammata V.34, lines 9-10 for a similar sentiment addressed to terra.

super preposition + accusative
above, over; on.

os, ossis n.

resido, -sidere, sidi
settle down; sink; subside.

ne conjunction
so that. . .not;  introduces a purpose construction  with  the subjunctive doleat.

doleo, -ere, -ui, -itum
grieve; cause pain + dative.

condō, -ere, -idī, -itum
put in place;  establish;  (of the dead) bury; perfect passive participle modifying lapis.

officium, -i  n.
duty; obligation;  a reference to her burial (supremum officium), it is best considered an ablative of time when.

desino, -ere, -i
leave off; cease (from); the verb is followed by both the ablative case (fletu) and an infinitive  construction (exagitare).  Verses similar to ll. 12-15 were inscribed on the 6-year old boy's tomb marker (CIL 6.23551, lines 11-14).

frustra adverb
in vain, for nothing, groundlessly.

fletus, us m.
weeping, tears; supply et. Another hypermetric verse: te belongs on the following line.

miser, -a, -um
wretched, poor, pitiful, sorry. In order for the first foot to scan properly, te must be added before miseram.

totus, -a, -um
entire, the whole, all; with dies, accusative of duration of time.

exagito (1)
stir up; agitate; harass;  following desine, the infinitive  takes a direct object (te) and a predicate adjective (miseram).

namque conjunction
for; for indeed, for example.

dolor, -oris m.
pain; sorrow; trouble, indignation.

talis, -e

contingo, -ere, -tigī, -tāctum
happen, succeed; touch; affect, concern; followed by the dative uni.

īdem, eadem, idem pronoun
the same; also, likewise.

rex, regis m.
king. A similar sentiment can be found in CIL 6.5953: hoc etiam multis regibus [h]ora tulit.

accido, -ere, -ivi
befall, happen; fall (at, on); strike; followed by the dative regibus.


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