Archaeology, Museums & Heritage – Seminar Series | Age, Ageing and Epitaphs in the Roman Mediterranean
Age, Ageing and Epitaphs in the Roman
Professor Ray Laurence | Macquarie University
The Chau Chak Wing Museum holds a collection of Latin inscriptions that were purchased, mainly in the 19th century by Charles Nicholson. Many are epitaphs that include the length of life lived or what we call today, the age-at-death. there are tens of thousands of such epitaphs that unusually included an age lived.
This talk explores how we might understand the use of age not just in Rome and Italy, but also in Africa, where many epitaphs include a statement about a person’s age. Professor Laurence will discuss Roman birthdays and the fact that in the census of 73 CE many people stated that they were well over 120 years of age. This begs the question, how did Roman cultures understand age and how did the use of age in epitaphs vary? As well as taking us into the world of Roman counting, Professor Laurence will discuss the distinctiveness of cultures that are so often called Roman, as well as questioning the assumption that Latin inscriptions have a standard pattern or formulae. He will also touch on the role of Charles Nicholson as a collector of inscriptions and how the selection he made creates a particular understanding of Latin inscriptions, which served his interests as a collector.
When | Thursday 25 March
Time | 4pm – 5pm
Where | Education Room, Level 3 Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney
Available online via Zoom
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