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Document Details :

Title: Cold Comfort
Subtitle: Speeches to and from the Prematurely Deceased in Early Roman Verse-Epitaphs
Author(s): BOEX, Allison
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 77    Issue: 1   Date: 2018   
Pages: 74-98
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.77.1.3284723

Abstract :
A study of fictive orality in the Republican epitaphs of the CLE reveals that two categories of fictive orality are especially rare, and moreover limited to a specific situation: in a corpus of forty-nine inscriptions, only two (CIL I2 1603, CIL I2 10) are addressed to the deceased, and only two (CIL I2 1223b, CIL I2 1215) feature a speech by the deceased to specific still-living individuals; in all four cases the subjects died prematurely. These two categories of fictive orality seem, then, to be licensed specifically by premature death. This paper examines these four poems; as it explores how each kind of fictive orality is implemented, how each engages with the content of the epitaph, and why the use of these kinds of fictive orality might have been limited to cases of premature death, it also considers the even more compelling question of whether such speeches suggest an expectation of communication between the living and the dead.

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