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Men's Opinions



43. Murdia. Rome, 1st cent. B.C. (CIL VI.10230=ILS 8394. L)

The funeral eulogy for Murdia, delivered by her son by her first marriage, was inscribed on marble. Before praising his mother's personal virtues, the speaker approves of the provisions of her will.

The first part of the inscription is lost.

She made all her sons equal heirs, after she gave a bequest to her daughter.

A mother's love is composed of her affection for her children and equal distribution to each child.

She willed her husband [the speaker's stepfather] a fixed sum, so that his dower right would be increased by the honour of her deliberate choice.

Recalling my father's memory and taking account of it and of the trust she owed him, she bequeathed certain property to me. She did so not in order to wound my brothers by preferring me to them, but remembering my father's generosity, she decided that I should have returned to me the part of my inheritance which she had received by the decision of her husband, so that what had been taken care of by his orders should be restored to my ownership.

In such action she determined to maintain the marriages given to her by her parents to worthy men, with obedience and propriety, and as a bride to become more beloved because of her merits, to be thought dearer because of her loyalty, to be left in greater honour because of her judgement, and after her death to be praised in the estimation of her fellow citizens, since the division of her estate indicated her grateful and honourable intentions towards her husbands, her fairness to her children and the justice shown by her sincerity.

For these reasons, praise for all good women is simple and similar, since their native goodness and the trust they have maintained do not require a diversity of words. Sufficient is the fact that they have all done the same good deeds that deserve fine reputation, and since their lives fluctuate with less diversity, by necessity we pay tribute to values they hold in common, so that nothing may be lost from fair precepts and harm what remains.

Still, my dearest mother deserved greater praise than all others, since in modesty, propriety, chastity, obedience, woolworking, industry, and loyalty she was on a equal level with other good women, nor did she take second place to any woman in virtue, work and wisdom in times of danger.

The rest is lost.