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8 touching epitaphs written by ancient Greeks and Romans mourning their late dogs

These emotional tributes demonstrate that humans' love for dogs has known no bounds across time.

8 touching epitaphs written by ancient Greeks and Romans mourning their late dogs
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/lauradibiase (representative)

For most people, their pets aren't just their animal companions. They are considered and treated as actual family members. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the loss of a beloved pet causes feelings of sadness and sorrow comparable to that experienced when a human loved one passes away. 

However, having such a soft spot for animals is not a recent phenomenon signifying an excessively sensitive modern civilization. In truth, mourning for lost pets has been a common practice for most of recorded history. Nowhere is this more apparent than in these heartbreaking and tragic dog obituaries from Ancient Greece and Rome, reports The Dodo.

Here are some emotional epitaphs from an ancient culture that relays the pain of losing a pet dog:

1. "I am in tears, while carrying you to your last resting place as much as I rejoiced when bringing you home in my own hands fifteen years ago."

In Ancient Greek and Roman culture, they weren't ashamed to openly shed tears for their deceased pets.

2. "Thou who passest on this path, If haply thou dost mark this monument, Laugh not, I pray thee, though it is a dog's grave. Tears fell for me, and the dust was heaped above me. By a master's hand."

Before there was a pet cemetery, Greeks and Romans would bury their animals in marked tombs; a somber gesture they did not take lightly. 

3. "My eyes were wet with tears, our little dog, when I bore thee (to the grave)... So, Patricus, never again shall thou give me a thousand kisses. Never canst thou be contentedly in my lap. In sadness have I buried thee, and thou deservist. In a resting place of marble, I have put thee for all time by the side of my shade. In thy qualities, sagacious thou wert like a human being. Ah, me! What a loved companion have we lost!"

This message was left by the Italian dog's devastated owner and was discovered on his tombstone. It demonstrates how, even in that time period, people compared their dogs to humans. 

4. "To Helena, foster child, soul without comparison and deserving of praise."

Domestic dogs, especially lap dogs, were often called "fosters" at the time, which further suggests that adopted pets were regarded as members of the family even back then.

5. "This is the tomb of the dog, Stephanos, who perished, Whom Rhodope shed tears for and buried like a human. I am the dog Stephanos, and Rhodope set up a tomb for me."

Rhodope, the dog's owner, wrote this tribute for Stephanos because she wanted everyone who reads it to understand how much the pet meant to her. 

6. "[Myia] never barked without reason, but now he is silent."

Myia's human bid him farewell with simple yet powerful words.


7. "Issa's more pert than Lesbia's sparrow love, Purer than kisses of a turtle-dove, More sweet than hundred maidens rolled in one, Rarer than wealthy India's precious stone. She is the pet of Publius, Issa dear; She whines, a human voice you seem to hear."

Publius expressed their love for Issa with poetry that pierces the heart.

8. "Surely even as thou liest dead in this tomb I deem the wild beasts yet fear thy white bones, huntress Lycas; and thy valour great Pelion knows, and splendid Ossa and the lonely peaks of Cithaeron."

Lycas' human paid tribute to their pet with an epitaph fit for warriors.

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