Tombstone of a Roman woman

Contributed by Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum

Roman tombstone of a freed slave called Regina © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum

Regina was once a slave, but ironically her name means 'Queen'.This tombstone is evidence for immigration and the mixing of cultures 1800 years ago. It was set up outside the Roman fort at South Shields in north-east England and records a British woman called Regina, who originally came from south-east England, and a man called Barates, who came from Palmyra in Syria. Regina was a slave, but Barates freed her and married her, and when she died aged 30, had this expensive tombstone made for her. It is Roman in style and has a Latin inscription, but also, uniquely in Britain, a second inscription in his own language, Aramaic, reading 'Regina, freedwoman of Barates, alas'.

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  • 1. At 10:50 on 23 July 2010, Prof Muster wrote:

    roman matrons usually were patrons of trade. in Holland the Roman goddess Nehallenia was th3e Patroness of shipping-trade in the North Sea.
    She was depicted as ifshe were an epitaph to any roman uxor/wife, represented seated with a treasury chest and breadbasket and a reclined dog. When a woman's husband died childless, she inherited his power of attorney. Most female immages on tombs represented this type of 'bussines-women'

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  • 2. At 18:07 on 24 November 2010, coolpolitealex wrote:

    This is really a very poignant object and shows how love has much to show us even from then as it shows that he must have loved her very much especially since she was a slave; also says to me how brave he must have been to act as he did outside his own priviledged background. So very inspiring indeed.

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Late second century AD.


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