Notes to the Funerary Inscription for Caenis

Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus 3.3:
Post uxoris excessum Caenidem, Antoniae libertam et a manu, dilectam quondam sibi revocavit in contubernium, habuitque etiam imperator paene iustae uxoris loco.
"After the death of his wife he resumed his relations with Caenis, freedwoman and amanuensis of Antonia, and formerly his mistress; and even after he became emperor he treated her almost as a lawful wife."
Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus 21:
Postque decisa quaecumque obvenissent negotia, gestationi et inde quieti vacabat, accubante aliqua pallacarum, quas in locum defunctae Caenidis plurimas constituerat.
"After despatching any business that came up, he took time for a drive and then for a nap, lying with one of his concubines, of whom he had taken several after the death of Caenis."
Suetonius, Domitianus 12.3.3:
Ab iuventa minime civilis animi, confidens etiam, et cum verbis tum rebus immodicum, Caenidi patris concubinae, ex Histria reversae osculumque ut assuerat offerenti, manum praebuit.
"From his youth he was far from being of an affable disposition, but was on the contrary presumptuous and unbridled both in act and in word. When his father's concubine Caenis returned from Histria and offered to kiss him as usual, he held out his hand to her."
Cassius Dio, Roman History 65.14.1-4:
"It was at this time that Caenis, the concubine of Vespasian, died. I mention her because she was exceedingly faithful and was gifted with a most excellent memory. Here is an illustration. Her mistress Antonia, the mother of Claudius, had once employed her as secretary in writing a secret letter to Tiberius about Sejanus and had immediately ordered the message to be erased, in order that no trace of it might be left. Thereupon she replied: It is useless, mistress, for you to give this command; for not only this but as whatever else you dictate to me I always carry in my mind and it can never be erased. And not only for this reason does she seem to me to have been a remarkable woman, but also because Vespasian took such excessive delight in her. This gave her the greatest influence and she amassed untold wealth, so that it was even thought that he made money through Caenis herself as his intermediary. For she received vast sums from many sources, sometimes selling governorships, sometimes procuratorships, generalships and priesthoods, and in some instance even imperial decisions. For although Vespasian killed no one on account of his money, he did spare the lives of many who gave it; and while it was Caenis who received the money, people suspected that Vespasian willingly allowed her to do as she did."
Di Manes, m. pl.
the spirits of the dead, the divine spirits; this phrase is in the dative case, indicating the object of the dedication; it or the abbreviation DM is regularly found at the head of funerary inscriptions from the end of the 1st century BCE through the 2nd century CE.
Augusta, -ae f.
Augusta. An honorary title that could be awarded to the Emperor's wife, mother, daughter, or sister. The SPQR at the end of the line contains a statue of Antonia as Hera/Juno holding a cornucopia symbolizing fertility and prosperity.
liberta/us -ae/-i f/m.
Caenis -idis f.
Caenis, a slave cognomen, Greek in inflection and perhaps derived from the Greek word kainos meaning "fresh, new," suggests Caenis' origin in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is possible that hers was a Greek-speaking house.
optimus, -a, -um
best; sometimes spelled optumus.
patrona/us, -ae, -i f/m.
patron; as used here the term refers to the legal status of a former mistress.
Aglaus, -i m.
Aglaus; his cognomen is derived from the Greek word aglaos, meaning "shining, famous." He was possibly Caenis' chief steward (villicus). While he is the dedicator of the monument, one wonders if so expensive an altar was paid for out of Caenis' estate or by the emperor himself. No mention is made of a wife, who may have died prior to Caenis, but his three children, born into slavery and not apparently free, have Greek names derived from his.

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