Siste viator

Latin Funerary Inscriptions in Ancient and Modern Times

Live on-line Course, October 29th – December 17th, 2020

Churches, streets, cemeteries, and museums are replete with funerary inscriptions that speak Latin, an immortal language through which the dead of all ages have sought to hold on to life through identities expressed in written form for those still living.

Roman funerary inscriptions represent the vast majority of the epigraphical corpus from antiquity. In officinae lapidariae inscriptionists, known as lapicidae, would typically write in capitalis form after arranging the text for the dimensions of the tombstone, each letter acting as a vehicle for allowing the deceased to engage in a dialogue with the living. For the entirety of the Middle Ages and well into the Modern Era, Latin was the language of choice for these inscriptions.

An epitaph does not necessarily have to be set in stone. In fact, in the Renaissance a great number of epitaphs were often a genre that circulated exclusively in books.

This course will examine a selection of examples of Latin epitaphs, both those written in stone and those produced for circulation in books. Each lesson will also feature Latin composition exercises with an eye to the genre of funerary inscriptions.


Schedule Topic
Thursday, October 29th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET How should an epitaph be written?
Thursday, November 5th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET Epitaphs of famous authors from Ancient Rome
Thursday, November 12th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET Ancient Roman epitaphs for pets
Thursday, November 19th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET “Do not desecrate this tombstone!”
Thursday, November 26th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET Petrarch’s Epitaphs
Thursday, December 3rd 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET The tombs of Antenor and Livy in Padova
Thursday, December 10th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET Epitaph of a famous Flemish prostitute
Thursday, December 17th 2020, h. 18:00-19:00 CET From stone to paper: renaissance epitaphs




Giuseppe Marcellino

Intended course audience

Teachers, students and scholars of the ancient world.


Online, using Zoom as a platform




Intermediate or advanced

Professional development credit

At the end of the course, a certificate of participation will be issued.


70 €


Once enrolled, you will be placed on the participants’ list and you will be sent an email with the necessary login information for your course. A recording of each lesson will be available for three days from the conclusion of each session.

Lesson materials

Lesson materials will be distributed during the lesson to deepen our exploration of the themes for the course.