quae vixit [annos---]
d(ies?) VI [---]
Translation: To Flavia Hilarina
who lived [? years] and was buried [date]
The shape of the letters points to
a date after the beginning of the fourth century.
A "d", time and religion
if the "d" stands for "dies",
"days", the author of the text carefully indicated the exact length of
the life of Hilarina in years, months and days. Ancient funerary inscriptions
show that time was very important but in a different way: often no year
The "d" can also be interpreted
as an abbreviation for "deposita", "buried", which is a Christian
expression; or as the beginning of the word "dulcis", "sweet".
Only if the "d" stands for
"deposita" there would be a clear sign of Christianity in the inscription.
The empty space in the beginning
of the last line shows that the last line probably was symmetrically placed
at the centre. This means that there were few words after the "d", which
then most probably was the beginning of "dies". If this is correct, there
is no explicit sign of Christianity in the text. However, the shape of
the slab is exactly that of the tombs, loculi, in the Christian
catacombs, and it is extremely probable that Hilarina was a Christian woman.
Perhaps her tomb was among the many which were destroyed when the Popes
Liberius and Damasus in the second half of the fourth century began to
excavate crypts around the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs.
For more details: Olof Brandt, "Un'iscrizione
riutilizzata da S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana
70, 1994, 197-201.