Epitaph of the second Paresia


Trismegistos ID: 738905

Source Description


Cyrene Sculpture Museum, 251.


Slightly tapered stele of white marble with strongly marked blue veins; on top, a plain and little projecting moulding (0.395; 1.10;0.265); on the front face, up to the upper ridge, including the moulding, a sculpted palm (height 0.18) is standing in the middle, whereas near the bottom a wreath is sculpted in relief inside a shallow circular recess.


Inscribed on front face (0.37 to 0.42; 1.03;0.25 to 0.28), in 29 lines beginning just under the moulding, so that ll. 1-4 are interrupted by the palm (marked in the text by spaces).


0.016; deeply cut letters without serifs, traces of guide-lines; lettering on the whole similar to that of GVCyr008, but for the loop of phi at l. 1 which is angled; an ivy leaf stop in l. 27 (end of a verse).

Place of Origin



Perhaps second century A.D. (lettering)


Found before 1935 by G. Oliverio at Cyrene : together with GVCyr008 in the same rock-cut tomb of the North Necropolis .

Last recorded Location

Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou in 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. 18, fig. 32 and Gallavotti, 1962 , whence SEG , 20.748. Cf. Morelli, 1963 Chamoux, 1991 (= Chamoux, 1995 ), whence SEG , 41.1698 and Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique , 1992.583.


Ἡφαιστ (vac. 1)οῦτος θυγά-τηρ γεν(vac. 1)όμαν Ἀγα-θανγέλο(vac. 1)υ δ'ἀνδρός ἥν πάντ(vac. 1)ες σεμνὴν 5γεινώσκουσιν, λέγομαι δὲ Παρησία. -

Πολλῶν πρα|γματιῶν μέτοχος γένο|μαν πιστὴ κατὰ πάντα.

| Οὕνεκά μοι πόσις ἔνθα βρα|(10)βεῖον ἔθηκεν,

σημαίνων (vac. 1) | πάσης ἀρετῆς στέφανόν | με λαβοῦσαν.

Πάντων | γὰρ χάριν ἔσχον ἐγὼ νείκης (vac. 1) | τὸ βραβεῖον.

5 Καὶ γὰρ χορεί|(15)αις ταῖς ἐμαῖς δ'ἐν παστά|σιν

ἐν καλυ̣βοῖσιν ἐμοῖς (vac. 1) | ἱλαρὸν κρότον εὔρυθμον | εἶδον·

καὶ λιγὺς αὐλὸς ἐμαῖς | ἐν παστάσι θροῦ̣[ν] ἐδόνησεν,

| (20) κωμάζων δ' Ὑμέναιος ἀπή|χησεν μέλος ἡδύ (vac. 1).

Ἑξηκον|ταέτης δὲ πλέον κατελή|{λη}λυθον εἰς Ἀ̣ΐδαο (vac. 1)

10 καὶ νῦν | ἡ πανάριστος ἀσύνκρι- (vac. 2)|(25)τος ἡ περὶ πάντα

κε̣ῖμαι (vac. 1) | σωπήσασα, διὰ στήλης (vac. 1) | δὲ λέγουσα.

❧ Τίς πόθεν; | Ἡ στήλη δὲ λαλεῖ τὸ δ'ἐ- (vac. 2)|μὸν στόμα σειγᾷ.


23 Gallavotti, 1962  Ἀΐδαο : Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961  Ἅιδαο

26 Gallavotti, 1962  σωπήσασα : Pugliese Carratelli-Oliverio, 1961  σ<ι>ωπήσασα

French translation

Je fus la fille d'Héphaistous, j'eus Agathangelos pour époux et j'inspire à tous du respect. J'ai nom Parèsia.

Je me suis dépensée en tâches multiples et l'on pouvait toujours compter sur moi.

C'est pourquoi mon époux m'a élevé ici cette stèle comme prix de mes mérites,

pour faire savoir que j'ai reçu la couronne de toutes les vertus:

n'ai-je pas remporté en toutes choses le premier prix?

Et de fait pour les choeurs formés en mon honneur sous les portiques

j'ai vu dans ma maison s'élever le gai tapage des chants bien rythmés.

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

Conduisant le cortège nuptial, Hyménée éveilla les échos de sa douce mélodie.

A plus de soixante ans, je suis descendue dans l'Hadès

et désormais moi, la femme parfaite, l'incomparable en tous points,

je repose, réduite au silence: la stèle parle pour moi.

Qui je fus et de qui je suis née, c'est la stèle qui le dit, car ma bouche est silencieuse.

(trad. Fr. Chamoux)

English translation

I was daughter of Hephaistous and had Agathangelos as a husband, inspiring respect to all. My name is Paresia.

I was busy in many occupations and trustworthy on all occasions.

That is why my husband erected here this stele as an award,

in order to let know that I received the crown of all virtues:

I did in fact carry off the victory crown in all matters.

So did I see on the occasion of the choruses honoring me under the porches

the joyful noise of well-rhythmed songs spreading around my house.

The sharp tone of the flute buzzed under my porches.

Leading the bridal procession, Hymenaios echoed with his pleasant melody.

Aged more than sixty years, I went down to Hades

and now, a perfect woman, incomparable in all matters,

I lie, bound to be silent, the stele speaking for me.

Who I was, born to whom, the stele tells it, for my mouth is silent.

Italian translation

Sono stata la figlia di Hephaistous e ho avuto Agathangelos come sposo, a tutti ho ispirato rispetto. Mi chiamo Paresia.

Mi sono spesa in molte occupazioni, in tutte degna di fede.

Per questo lo sposo pose qui per me la stele come premio,

per mostrare che ho ricevuto la corona per tutte le virtù:

in effetti in tutte ho riportato il primo premio.

E in occasione dei cori in mio onore sotto i portici

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

l’aulo nei miei portici ha fatto vibrare il suo suono limpido,

Imeneo in processione nuziale ha fatto risuonare la sua dolce melodia.

A più di sessanta anni sono scesa nell’Ade,

e ora, donna perfetta, incomparabile in tutto,

ridotta al silenzio giaccio, parlo grazie alla stele.

Chi sono, da dove vengo, la stele dice, la mia bocca tace.


This epitaph was found along with GVCyr008 and there has been some discussion about their relationship. Oliverio's statement that the lettering of the present one was later than the other, followed by Gallavotti, Chamoux and Reynolds (private information) is not the most certain argument. On the contrary, both letterings are very similar. The same scholars adhered to the view that after a first Paresia died at age 4, her parents (or at least her mother, as the father is not mentioned here and might have been a second husband) gave the same name to another daughter who lived for more than 60 years. When the second Paresia died, a poet composed a poem by imitation and amplification of the funerary verse commemorating the first Paresia. This being also our position, the proximity of the lettering might be explained in two ways: either the stone-cutter of the second stele was commissioned to make as similar a stele as possible or both momuments were made at the same time. Even if so, the baroque style of the second allows to consider it as developing the themes of the preceding and more sober one.

An opposite view was developed by Morelli, who took only textual arguments into account. Although his view would solve the problem of the epigraphic execution, his arguments on substance and form do not seem very convincing.

The relationship of this Paresia with Agathangelos is not quite sure. The husband of married women are often mentioned on funerary stele, but their father's name is also normally a must. And the more so if the mother's name is mentioned. One might also translate 'I was the daughter of Hephaistous and of Aganthangelos her husband'. If so, the mention of 'husband' instead of 'father' like in the heading of GVCyr008 would be explained as a mere taste for variety, whereas there had been a change in the family and both Paresia had only a common mother.

Metrical analysis. Lines 1-6 are no verse, although rhythmically echoing dactylic or anapestic segments. Verse-lines 1 to 12 make up a series of dactylic unities, some forming a hexameter, others a heptameter (but for verse-line 5 which is a iambic trimeter).

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