Today, the majority of Americans view their pets not only as animal companions, but as bona fide family members, so it is not surprising that the death of a dog, cat or from another beloved creature could cause sorrow and sadness as strong as those felt at the loss of a loved one who is human.
But having such a tender feeling towards pets is not a modern phenomenon revealing a soft and overly sensitive society. In fact, people mourn their deceased animals for much of recorded history – and by no means is this more evident than in these fascinating and utterly heartbreaking epitaphs written for dogs in ancient Greece and Rome.
Here are 9 of the most touching ancient epitaphs for dogs:
1# “I am in tears transporting you to your last resting place as much as I rejoiced in bringing you home to my hands fifteen years ago.”
The ancients were not ashamed to cry openly for their missing dogs, as seen in the last farewell of this sad pet owner to his companion.
2# “You who pass on this path, If you mark this monument, do not laugh, please, although it is the grave of a dog. Tears fell for me, and the dust s is accumulated above me By the hand of a master. ”
In an era before pet cemeteries, Greeks and Romans buried their pets along roadsides in graves marked like this – a sad gesture they did not take lightly.
3# “My eyes were wet with tears, our little dog when I carried you (to the grave) … So, Patricus, you will never give me a thousand kisses again. You will never be able to be happy on my knees. In sadness I buried you, and you deserve it. In a marble resting place, I put you forever by my shadow. In your qualities, sagacious you were like a human being. Ah, What a beloved companion we have lost! “
This text was found on the tombstone of Patricus, an Italian dog, written by his grieving owner. Note that, even at that time, pets were compared to humans.
4# “To Helena, a foster child, the soul without comparison and deserving of praise.”
Domestic dogs, especially lap dogs, were often called “foster dogs,” suggesting that even adopted animals were then considered family members.
5# “It is the tomb of the dog, Stephanos, who perished, for whom Rhodope shed tears and buried like a human. I am the dog Stephanos, and Rhodope installed a tomb for me.”
Here, a dog named Stephanos is mourned by his owner, Rhodope, who wanted to make sure that everyone who reads this epitaph knows how much the animal meant to her.
6# “[Myia] never barked without reason, but now he is silent.” (Source)
The owner of this dog offers simple but powerful words for his pet, addressing him as an equal.
7# “Here, the stone says that it holds the white dog of Melita, the most faithful guardian of Eumelus; Bull they called him while he was still alive, but now his voice is trapped in the tracks silent of the night. “
For Eumelus, his deceased pet Melita was clearly more than just an animal, but rather a creature with a soul that has crept beyond a kingdom that can only be described in poetic terms.
8# “Issa is more beautiful than the love of the sparrow of Lesbia, purer than the kisses of a dove, sweeter than a hundred girls wrapped in one, rarer than the precious stone of rich India. She is Publius’ pet, dear Issa; She moans, a human voice that you seem to hear. “(Source)
In this longer epigraph, Publius Issa’s dog is described in almost mythological terms, celebrated in a painting or statue that has since been lost.
9# “Certainly, even if you died in this tomb, I consider that the wild beasts still fear your white bones, huntress Lucas; and your valorous great Pelion knows it, and splendid Ossa and the solitary summits of Cithaeron.”
Epitaphs for hunting dogs, like Lucas, often represent animals, much like another soldier on the battlefield – underscoring their importance to the survival of their owner.