Epigraphic image courtesy of Brian K. Harvey
In her epitaph, the young Bassa speaks to passers-by, representing herself by status, personal qualities, age, and early demise. She records her parents unavailing attempts to save her (lines 7-8). Their grief is conveyed by this memorial to their young daughters death, substantial in its material, its lengthy inscription, and the elegance of its style of composition, which is partly in verse. Although epitaphs rarely offer a cause of death, Bassas reference to opposing divine forces (Pluto, the Parcae, and Ceres) and the nature of her curse on the unsympathetic reader may serve to identify the source of her misfortune as dietary. Food problems resulting from poor weather conditions or from barbarian incursions followed by political and economic disruption were not unknown in Rome. The style of lettering suggests a 2nd or 3rd century CE date for the stone. The epitaph concludes with four verses ( lines 10-13) in elegiac couplet (see illustration of the meter) and a closing dedication.
|1||[h]IC SVM BAS[sa s]ITA, PIA FI[LIA],|
|CVM MIHI BIS QVINOS ANNOS MEA|
FATA DEDISSENT VNDECVMVM ME
|CVMQVE PATER MATERQVE DEOS PRO ME|
|10||OPSIDE ME PARCAE FINEM FECISSE VIDENTVR|
|SI QVIS FORTE MEA GAVDET DE MORTE INIQVA|
|[hoc monumentum sacrum est]|
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