Death of a Slave Boy

Jennifer Cromwell Cymbals struck as festival performers wound their way through the village’s streets . But then tragedy struck. Leaning over the balcony to view the players below, a young slave boy Epaphroditos fell and died. Was it an accident? Was it murder?This tragic event took place in year 23 of the reign of the emperor CommodusContinue reading “Death of a Slave Boy”

Death Declarations: The Bureaucracy of Death in Roman Egypt

Jennifer Cromwell In year 7 of the reign of Emperor Claudius, a widow Tapapeis daughter of Pasis submitted a declaration of the death of her husband Abeis son of Horos. In accordance with Roman law, she acts with a male guardian, her relative Adrastos. “To the royal secretary Hermaios from Tapapeis, daughter of Pasis, actingContinue reading “Death Declarations: The Bureaucracy of Death in Roman Egypt”

Living (and Dying) in Interesting Times

Luigi Prada At the age of 21 years and 29 days, the sistrum-player Kheredankh died. A fragment of her funerary stela survives and is today housed in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London. Originally, this stela would have been a remarkable artefact of very fine craftsmanship, with a representation of the deceased inContinue reading “Living (and Dying) in Interesting Times”

Parental Grief and Child Mortality

Jennifer Cromwell At birth, there was only a 66 per cent chance of celebrating your first birthday: one-third of all new-borns in the ancient world died before reaching that milestone. Once a child reached the age of five, their life-expectancy rose considerably, but the loss of at least one child was something that every parentContinue reading “Parental Grief and Child Mortality”

Death in the Desert

Jennifer Cromwell Life in the ancient world, before the development of modern medicine, was hard. Child mortality rates were high, life-expectancy was much lower than it is today, and illnesses and injuries that are easily cured now were often fatal. Life out in the oases of the western desert must have been especially difficult. ForContinue reading “Death in the Desert”