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The Stone of Bologna: A translation - The Ex-Communicator

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October 21st, 2011


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07:43 am - The Stone of Bologna: A translation
In the late 16th century a Roman funerary inscription was found in Bologna. It appears to be a dedication to a woman called Aelia Laelia Crispis, from a man called Lucius Agatho Priscus. For all I know it might have been written by the person who 'discovered' it in the 1590s. Jung was interested in this poem, and some of the alchemists and Rosicrucians and so on, offer various interpretations over the years.

To the Gods of the Dead

Aelia Laelia
Curly-locks
Neither man nor woman
Nor androgyny
Not girl or boy
Not crone or maiden
Neither Madonna nor whore
But all things
You are destroyed
By neither famine nor iron
Nor by poison
But by everything
You are not taken
Into the waters
Nor into the sky
Nor are you within the earth
But everywhere

Lucius Agatho Priscus
Not your husband or your lover
Not needed by you
Not sad
Not rejoicing
Never weeping
This which is amassed
Not a pyramid
Not your tomb
He knows and knows not
What he has laid down

This is the grave
In which there is no body
This is the body
That is held within no tomb
But her body and her tomb
Are one.


D. M.

AELIA LAELIA CRISPIS
NEC VIR NEC MULIER
NEC ANDROGYNA
NEC PUELLA NEC JUVENIS
NEC ANUS NEC CASTA
NEC MERETRIX NEC PUDICA
SED OMNIA
SUBLATA
NEQUE FAME NEQUE FERRO
NEQUE VENENO
SED OMNIBUS
NEC COELO NEC AQUIS
NEC TERRIS
SED UBIQUE JACET
LUCIUS AGATHO PRISCUS
NEC MARITUS NEC AMATOR
NEC NECESSARIUS
NEQUE MOERENS
NEQUE GAUDENS
NEQUE FLENS
HANC NEQUE MOLEM
NEC PYRAMIDEM
NEC SEPULCHRUM
SCIT ET NESCIT
CUI POSUERIT

HOC EST SEPULCHRUM
INTUS CADAVER NON HABENS
HOC EST CADAVER SEPULCHRUM
EXTRA NON HABENS
SED CADAVER IDEM EST
ET SEPULCHRUM SIBI

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:vilakins
Date:October 21st, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
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Intriguing. I like your translation.
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From:communicator
Date:October 21st, 2011 06:55 am (UTC)
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Thank you. I read an interpretation that she was a baby dedicated before birth, perhaps betrothed before her birth, who died before she was born. But I think that is trying to be too literal.
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:October 21st, 2011 08:47 am (UTC)
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And a bit doubtful that they would have known the sex of a child before birth that long ago? I prefer to be less literal...
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From:communicator
Date:October 21st, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
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That is a very good point.
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From:tehomet
Date:November 15th, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Fascinating; quite a puzzle. I had never heard of this inscription before.

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