Notes to Funerary Inscriptions by Psyche

The findspot of the monument is disputed. It resides now in the Pergamum museum in Berlin.
Di Manes, m. pl.
the spirits of the dead, the divine spirits. Funerary inscriptions from the Augustan age through the 2nd century CE regularly open with the dedication Dis Manibus, at first written in full at the head of the momument and later often abbreviated; the phrase is in the dative case, indicating the object of the dedication. .
Helius, -i, m.
Helius, the slave cognomen of the deceased, a Latinized form of the Greek word meaning sun; his name and title are in apposition to Dis Manibus.
Afinianus, -i, m.
Afinianus, the agnomen of Helius. An additional name, with its distinctive -ianus ending attached to the name of the former master who transferred his slave to the ownership of the state (here, presumably, Afinius), is a special feature of the name of the servus publicus. The form may have been taken from the Roman custom of using this ending to indicate adoption.
publicus, -i m.
public slave; the word servus in this context is often omitted. The servus publicus was of a high social order of slaves; he had special privileges, among them the right to make a will (ius testamenti), earn a salary, and save money (peculium).
augur, auguris m.
augur, one who observes and interprets the behavior of birds to discover the will of the gods; the state augurs constituted the College of Augurs, which Helius served in some capacity.
Psyche, -es f.
Psyche, her slave name, Greek in origin (meaning breath, life, spirit, soul) as she also may have been, freed by her master, a member of the family of the Sextii, whose nomen she adopted as a freedwoman. Public slaves regularly formed unions with freeborn or freed women, never slaves.
coniunx, -iugis m./f.
spouse, husband, wife. If Helius remained a slave, this term could only be a fiction (as also the relief of their marriage ceremony) for the permitted slave relationship contubernalis, which signified tent-mate, bedfellow, partner. However, he may have somehow earned the privilege of marriage .
bene merenti
well-deserving; this formulaic phrase, composed of the adverb bene and the participle merens, later came to be written on tombstones as a single word benemerens or, as here, abbreviated.

hoc monumentum fecit: a phrase regularly found on tombstones that is often omitted for lack of space or funds.

The monument was discovered in Rome in 1753 in the gardens of Cardinal Medici, formerly the vineyards of Julius III outside the Porta Flaminia.
Di Manes, m. pl.
the spirits of the dead, the divine spirits. The dedication at the head of the monument is here written in full, using an alternate form of the dative plural of deus; the second -I is carved larger than the first to indicate that it is long .
sacrum, -i n.
sacred object; shrine. The noun is the neuter form of the adjective sacer; it is the object of fecer[unt] below.
Vivenia, -ae f.
Vivenia, the praenomen of the daughter of Helius and Psyche. Her name may be derived from her father's nomen (Vivenius), as it was customary for servi publici to adopt the name of the state magistrate who freed them. Alternatively, it may be a Latin translation (from the adjective (vivus) of her mother's slave name (Psyche).
Helias, -iadis f.
daughter of Helius; the cognomen of the daughter of Helius and Psyche. The Greek patronymic Helias, together with the formula of filiation (L[uci] F[iliae]), indicate that she was the freeborn and legitimate child of Helius. Her name also suggests that her father's full name (not always spelled out on tombstones) was Lucius Vivenius Helius Afinianus.
mensis, -is m.
month .
pientissimus, -a, -um.
most faithful, loyal, respectful; an alternate form of piissimus, the superlative of the adjective pius.

Close this window after final use.