Epitaph plaque for Margarita, 1st-2nd cents. AD, Marble
Height: 50 centimetres Width: 61 centimetres
I was born in France. My name comes from a sea-pearl,
to match my appearance.
I was trained to run without fear in the woods
and to hunt in the hills.
I was never chained up
or beaten – my fur snow-white,
and instead I'd lie on my master and mistress' soft lap
and I knew, when I was tired, to go to bed on the cushion laid out for me,
and I didn't bark more than necessary (as a dog, who can't speak).
I didn't scare anyone with my barking --
but now I've succumbed to death trying to give birth
and the earth has covered me under this little marble.
(Translation is mine, given loosely; for a more literal translation, see the British Museum object site: link here)
Gallia me genuit nomen mihi divitis undae
concha dedit formae nominis aptus honos
docta per incertas audax discurrere silvas
collibus hirsutas atque agitare feras
non gravibus vinc(u)lis unquam consueta teneri
verbera nec niveo corpore saeva pati
molli namque sinu domini dominaeque iacebam
et noram in strato lassa cubare toro
et plus quam licuit muto canis ore loquebar
nulli latratus pertimuere meos
sed iam fata subii partu iactata sinistro
quam nunc sub parvo marmore terra tegit