Laberia Auxime

By
Elisabeth Campbell
Elisabeth Campbell is a graduate student in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology, based in the Classics Department. Her interests include Roman history and archaeology, and she is currently working on her dissertation on the commemoration of victories in the Roman Republic.

  • Accession Number: JHUAM 61 (Wilson 97)
  • Measurements: Height: 49.5 cm, Width: 35 cm, Thickness: 5 cm.
  • Material: Marble
  • Date/Culture: Roman, 2nd century, CE.
  • Provenance: Porta Salaria, Rome, Italy

Translation

“To the spirits of the dead
And to Laberia Auxime
Who lived 10 years
6 months and 12 days.
Lucius Laberius
Hermes made this
Father.”

Description

This marble slab, dated to the second century CE and found in Rome, marked the grave of a young girl named Laberia Auxime. We learn that Laberia died at the young age of 10 and that her father dedicated this stone to her. A young girl, presumably the deceased herself, is depicted above the inscription. So-called “mulieres orantes”, or praying women, are frequently found on grave stones and sarcophagi, especially on Christian ones. Although the belief persists that the Greeks and Romans did not really care about young children because child death was so frequent, grave stones like this one show that they were loved, and that parents grieved the death of a child, even a girl’s.

Conservation

The inscription, during cleaning.

This inscription was cleaned prior to installation in the museum in 2010 as it has likely not been conserved since it was purchased in Rome.  The cleaning was somewhat dramatic, as shown in the during treatment image below.  The images shows a stage when the left side of the inscription had been cleaned using cotton swabs and sponges.

References

H.L. Wilson, “Latin Inscriptions at the Johns Hopkins University VII,” American Journal of Philology 33 (1912), 168-185, 176-7.

The inscription is described in the US Epigraphy Project hosted by Brown University.