Tenant’s Lament

The magnificent Mary Beard’s book SPQR mentions the following bit of rare class conscious doggerel from Ancient Rome –

‘The epitaph of one tenant, Ancarenus Nothus, an ex-slave who died at the age of forty-three and whose ashes are buried in a shared tomb just outside the walls of Rome, hints at common complaints in some simple lines of verse, as if spoken from the afterlife: “I’m no longer worried that I shall die of hunger / I’m rid of aching legs and getting a deposit for the rent / I’m enjoying free board and lodging for eternity’.’



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