Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Grave of a Seven-year-old Boy from Athens (II CE or later) Athens - Attica

Athens (Attica, Greece and Macedonia — Pleiades map), II CE or later
IG II2 11674 = IDionysosJ 5 = PHI 14166 = AGRW ID# 15808


My dear father and mother named me Thesmophanes before I met my miserable death.  For me the Fates (moirai) spun seven complete years with their threads and then cut them off.  My renowned father graciously satisfied me with every good thing, as one does for the best children.  He took care of all the drink–offerings and whatever else for the gods for the sake of my soul.  The priests of Eumolpos made a sacred branch for me and (10) gave me … great (?) … honor.  The society–members (thiasitai) of Dionysos wove me a crown, and I was initiated into the mysteries of torch–bearing Demeter.  I won a good honor, since the saying is true that children the gods love … die (?) …  Therefore, good father, do not distress your dear heart longer in sorrow.

(Translation adapted from Mary R. Lefkowitz and Maureen B. Fant, Women’s Life in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook in Translation [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2005], 303–304).

Translation by: Harland

οὔνομα Θεσμοφάνην με πατὴρ φίλος ἠδ’ ἅμα μήτηρ ǀ κίκλησκον, δυεροῦ πρὶν θανάτοιο τυχεῖν· ǀ ἑπτὰ δέ μοι μοῖραι περιτελλομένους ἐνιαυτούς ǀ ἐκλώσαντο μίτοις ἄτροπα γραψάμεναι. ǀǀ καὶ <μὴ>ν καὶ πάντων με καλῶν, ὅσα παισὶ φερίστοις, ǀ πλῆσεν προφρονέως κλεινὸς ἐμεῖο πατήρ· ǀ πάσας γὰρ λοιβάς τε καὶ ὅσσα μέμηλε θεοῖσιν ǀ εἵνεκ’ ἐμῆς ψυχῆς οὐ λίπε μειλιχίοις. ǀ καὶ γάρ μ’ Εὐμ[όλποιο] θυηπόλοι εἰρεσιώνην ǀǀ [τε]ύξαντες [μεγάλην ὤπ]ασαν εὐκλείην· ǀ στέμμα δέ [μοι πλέξαντο] Διωνύσου θιασῶται, ǀ πυρφόρ[ου ἐν Δηοῦς μυστι]κά τ’ ἐξετέλουν. ǀ [ἦ] ῥα καλὸν <γ>έ[ρας ἔσχον, εἰ ἀψευδ]ὴς λόγος ἀνδρῶν, ǀ παῖδας [ἀποθνήσκειν οὓ]ς φιλέουσι θεοί. ǀǀ τοὔνεκά μοι, πάτερ ἐσθλέ, φάνη· σ<ὺ δὲ> μηκέτι σεῖο ǀ τειρόμενος γλυκερὴν τρύχε χρόνῳ κραδίην.

Item added: November 9, 2014
Item modified: May 2, 2020
ID number: 15808
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