MEMORIES IN STONE: ANCIENT PET EPITAPHS AND POETRY BRIDGING THE PAST AND PRESENT
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis project explores the relationship between ancient Romans and their pet dogs by analyzing three Latin epitaphic inscriptions from the Roman world. I have divided the project into three distinct sections: Roma, Mors, and Amor. Roma (Rome) lays the foundation for the subsequent sections by discussing important poetic motifs and themes found in Latin literature, particularly those related to the elegiac genre, and Roman cultural attitudes towards canine companions. In the section entitled Mors (Death), I present my translations and analytical commentaries for each of the three epitaphs (CLE 1512, 1175, 1176). My commentaries focus on explaining the lexical, syntactical, and stylistic features of the commemorative inscriptions, as well as providing insights into their intertextual resonance and cultural significance. In the section entitled Amor (Love), I present an original Latin poetic composition, which engages with the language, style, and themes of the epitaphic inscriptions to create a living commemoration of my dogs, Nova and Luna. The entire project has broader implications for our understanding of the ways in which humans across different cultures and time periods have formed emotional connections with animals. By reflecting on our similarities with our ancient Roman counterparts, we may gain a deeper appreciation for the enduring bond between humans and animals and the profound role that pets play in our lives. Ultimately, this paper invites readers to consider the ways in which our relationships with pets reflect and shape our own identities and values.