Epitaph of the first Paresia


Trismegistos ID: 738904

Source Description


Cyrene Sculpture Museum, 242.


Slightly tapered stele of white marble with strongly marked blue veins; moulded above, with four small holes in the top for an attachment (with the moulding 0.43; 1.08;0.32).


Inscribed on the front face, beginning under the moulding (0.36 to 0.40; 1.005;0.265 to 0.285); the letters are more closely packed together at ll. 1-4 and 9-17 than at ll. 5-8.


0.014; deeply cut letters still reddish from earth, without serifs; a lightly incised palm branch at the end of l. 18; alpha with straight bar, zeta with vertical central bar, theta with central horizontal bar, kappa with long oblique bars, pi with equal vertical strokes, non-slanting sigma, calice-shaped and widely open upsilon, phi with large loop and very tall vertical stroke.

Place of Origin



Second century A.D. (lettering)


Found before 1935 by G. Oliverio at Cyrene : together with GVCyr009 in the same rock-cut tomb of the North Necropolis .

Last recorded Location

Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou at Shahat : in 1979 in the old Sculpture Museum and again in 2010 in the forecourt of the new Museum, which is since the years 1990 the only Cyrene Museum .

Text constituted from

Transcription from stone (CDL).


From †Oliverio's papers Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961 , n. 17, fig. 31 and Gallavotti, 1962 , whence SEG , 20.747. Cf. Morelli, 1963 , Chamoux, 1991 (= Chamoux, 1995 ), whence SEG , 41.1698 and Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique , 1992.583.


Εἰμὶ μὲν Ἡφαιστοῦτος θυ-γάτηρ Ἀκρισίου δὲ πατρός λέγομαι δὲ Παρησία. -

Νήπι|ον εἰς Ἀΐδαο πύλας κατε|(5)λήλυθα, οὐδὲ τέταρτον

| ἔτος πλῆρες εἴδον γλυ|κερὸν φάος ἠελίοιο·

| οὐ καλυβοῖς ἐπ'ἐμοῖς | ἱλαρὸν κρότον εὔρυθμον | (10) εἶδον·

οὐ λιγὺς αὐλὸς ἐ|μαῖς ἐν παστάσι θροῦν ἐδό|νησεν·

5 οὐκ Ὑμέναιος κω|μάζων ἔκρεκεν Μουσῶν | μέλος ἡδύ·

ἀλλά με τὴν ἀ|(15)δαῆ παῖδα σειγῆς τόπος | ἔσχεν,

γράμμασιν ἐν στή|λῃ λαλέουσαν ἐμὸν γέ|νος οὐκέτι φωνῇ


6 ἔτος πλῆρες εἴδον : Morelli, 1963  εἷδον ἔτος πλῆρες (see commentary) || εἴδον : Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961  εἷδον : Chamoux, 1991  {ε}ἴδον

French translation

Je suis la fille d'Héphaistous et d'Akrisios, mon père. J'ai nom Parèsia.

Tout enfant, je suis descendue aux portes de l'Hadès et je n'ai même pas vu pendant quatre

années pleines la douce lumière du soleil.

Je n'ai pas vu près de ma maison s'élever le gai tapage des chants bien rythmés.

Les sons aigus de la flûte n'ont pas fait résonner mes portiques.

Hyménée conduisant le cortège nuptial n'a pas fait retentir la douce mélodie des Muses.

Non! Le monde du silence s'est emparé de l'enfant ignorante que j'étais:

pour dire quelle est ma famille, je n'ai que les lettres gravées sur une stèle, puisque ma voix s'est tue.

(trad. Fr. Chamoux)

English translation

I am the daughter of Hephaistous and Acrisios, my father. My name is Paresia.

As a small child I went down to the doors of Hades and I did not complete four

years while enjoying the mild sun light.

I did not see near my house the joyful noise of well-rhythmed songs.

Nor did the sharp tone of the flute buzz under my porches.

Nor did Hymenaios lead the bridal procession and play the pleasant melody of the Muses.

No! The world of silence seized me, the ignorant child,

who am telling my family through letters cut on a stele and no longer through my voice.

Italian translation

Sono la figlia di Hephaistous e di Akrisios mio padre, il mio nome è Paresia.

Ancora bambina sono discesa alle porte di Ade e nemmeno per quattro

anni interi ho visto la dolce luce del sole.

Nella mia casa non ho visto il lieto rumore ben ritmato dei canti,

né l'aulo sotto i miei portici il suo suono limpido ha fatto vibrare,

né l’imeneo in processione ha fatto risuonare la dolce melodia delle Muse.

Ma il regno del silenzio si è impadronito di me, ignara bambina,

che ora parlo della mia famiglia con le lettere incise di una stele, non più con la mia voce.


This verse epitaph is closely related to GVCyr009. For a common commentary see the latter.

About the rare word καλυβός, see commentary at GVCyr005.

The woman's name Παρησία derives from παρρησία 'frankness'; however the geminate was no longer perceived as is shown by the verse rhythm.

A small palm was lightly engraved at the end of the last line. It might be a later graffito aiming at a parallel with the large sculpted palm which adorns the stele of GVCyr009, rather that an intended punctuation.

Metrical analysis. Lines 1-3 are no verse, although rhythmically echoing dactylic or anapestic segments. Verse-lines 1 to 7 make up a series of dactylic unities, some forming a hexameter, others a heptameter.

For verse-line 2, a dactylic rhythm may be assumed in two ways: 1) Chamoux' proposal of a iotacizing reading of εἴδον in order to have a short first syllable seems the more unobstrusive change of what stands on the stone, this being possible because of the initial position of ἔτος which allows a lenghthening of the first syllable; 2) Morelli's proposal of inverting the word order might be a good idea although more drastic; in this view, reading πλῆρες ἔτος εἶδον might also be possible.

At line-verse 6, παῖδα has a long second syllable due both to the caesura and the initial sibilant of the following word.

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