Valgia Silvilla

Valgia Silvilla by MrJennings

I love this tombstone!

Valgia Silvilla set this up for herself and her husband Tiberius Claudius Auximus, probably at some point in the first century CE.

What I like about it:
A. First of all, she begins with her full name (in the nominative), letting us know that she’s the one who set up this stone. (VALGIA SILVILLA).

B. Next comes the fact that she set this up for herself (SIBI).

C. Only then do we learn that she also set this up for Auximus (ET TI CLAUDIO AUXIMO)

D. … and that he is her spouse (CONIUGI SUO) and he is well-deserving of commemoration (BENE MERENTI), a cliche found on thousands of Roman tomb inscriptions.

E. Next she set this up for the freedmen and women (LIBERTIS LIBERTABUS/QUE) that they used to own.

F. But Valgia makes sure to specify that some of these belonged to her (SUIS) and some to her husband (ET AUXIMI).

G. Finally, she also set this stone up for the children (POSTERISQ) of the freedmen and women (EORUM).

Valgia Silvilla is also known for another inscription that she dedicated to Bona Dea Castrensis. No mention of her husband there, unsurprisingly. Both inscriptions were found in Rome, and one street which displayed the Bona Dea inscription is now named Via Valgia Silvilla in her honor. (I wonder how Auximus must feel.)

dis manibus
Valgia Silvilla
sibi et
Ti. Claudio Auximo
coniugi suo
bene merenti et
libertis libertabus
que suis et Auximi
posterisq eorum

“Dedicated to the spirits of the dead.
Valgia Silvilla [set this up]
for herself and
for Tiberius Claudius Auximus,
her husband,
well-deserving, and
for the freedmen and freedwomen,
both hers and Auximus’s,
and for the children of those [freedmen and women].”

(original photo by me)

One thought on “Valgia Silvilla

  1. I will not deny that Valgia Silvilla must have been quite an independent lady, but the absence of Auximus in the Bona Dea inscription is quite natural and has nothing to do with Valgia’s personality: men were excluded from the Bona Dea cult.

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