IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

B.5. Latin verse fragment

Description: Fragments of painted wall-plaster, found in small pieces fallen from the wall: the restorers have been able to assemble a number of larger pieces, with B.4, B.5, B.6, B.7, B.8, B.9, B.10, B.11, B.12, B.13, B.14, B.15, B.16, B.17, B.18, B.19, B.20, B.21, B.22, B.23, B.24, B.25, B.26, B.27, B.28, B.29, B.30, B.31, B.32, B.33, B.34, B.35, B.36, B.37, B.38, B.39, B.40.
Text: Scratched to the right of B.4, above B.6
Letters: Carefully written cursive Latin. Second half of the second or third century CE

Date: Second half of the second or third century CE

Findspot: Berenike: Sidi Khrebish, Building H, Room 5. At a date late in the life of the house the room must have been open to the public who scratched graffiti on its walls; it seems probable that it had in fact become an hotel.
Original location: Findspot.
Last recorded location: Benghazi Museum.


amantes ut apes uitam mellitam exs[ig]ạṇṭ



English translation

Translation by: Charlotte Roueché

Lovers, like bees, spend a honeyed life.

Arabic translation

Translation by: Muna Abdelhamed

العشاق، مثل النحل، يقضون حياة معسلة (حياة حلوة)


The verse recurs in Pompeii, cf. CIL IV. 8408 (at EDH 026899) and is clearly a piece of popular verse, competent but banal. At Pompeii a sceptical comment -vellem- seems to be appended. B.6, which obviously refers to this, is more optimistic. In the Pompeian text the verb is in the indicative and the confident statement that lovers lead a honeymoon life seems to have drawn the comment vellem - I wish it were true - from one less succesful than the writer. At Berenike there is again a comment (B.6 seems directly related), but one which expresses the commemorator's approval of the first writer who receives good wishes for his affairs. It is presumably meant to be a verse, suggesting, like the careful handwriting, a man of some education. The fact that it occurs in Pompeii, written in what seems to be the third quarter of the first century CE, may give some indication of the date at which it is likely to have been written at Berenike. It also authorises a guess that the writer here had Campanian connections. There is indeed other evidence to suggest Cyrenaican connections with Campania - notably that a number of Roman nomina common in Campania appears also in Cyrenaica (e.g. in the indices Ἁβιάνιος, Βιλλιῆνος, Γράνιος, Πάκκιος), so that this is to be seen as new evidence pointing in a direction already expected.

Bibliography: Reynolds, 1974-1975, B.ii, whence Robert, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1975.793; Reynolds, 1978, 6.ii, whence SEG 28.1551.For the building see Lloyd, 1978 89-101.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


None available (2020).