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The Petrified Muse

As the current debate over refugees, migrants, EU-wide quotas, and immigration-vs-national identity strikes increasingly bizarre, shrill, and discordant notes, I recently had the pleasure to contemplate in somewhat greater depth a remarkable funerary inscription from Aquileia in north-east Italy:

CLE 2199. –CLE 2199. –Image source here. The inscription’s text, engraved on a medium-sized marble panel (66 x 47 cm) that would appear to date to the fifth century A. D., a text that shows several dactylic runs without ever altogether amounting to a poem written in hexameters, reads as follows (CIL V 1703 = CLE 1878 adn. = CLE 2199 = ILCV 4813a):

Hic iacet Restutus peleger in pace fidelis.
ex Africa venit ut istam urbe(m) videret.
hec invisa tellus istum voluit corpus habe-
re. hic quo natus fuerat optans erat illo
reverti. id magis crudelius ut nullum suo-
rumque videret. invenerat satis amplius
quam suos ipse parentes. nec iam…

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