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Online edition, translation and commentary

This is a searchable catalogue of the Ashmolean's collection of Latin inscriptions, which is designed both for scholarly use and for schools.

PDF files: catalogue of monumental inscriptions (ie on stone, bronze) - includes funerary (including Christian and Jewish inscriptions), honorific, building-dedications, religious dedications; catalogue of non-monumental inscriptions ('instrumenta domestica' - includes terra sigillata stamps; brickstamps; gold glass; sling bullets; gems; bronze stamps; strigil; pan pipes; cooking wares; glass; oil lamps; collyrium stamp; rings). For scholarly purposes, some entries are superseded by later print publications. The collection includes a wide variety of inscriptions from Rome, Italy, Britain, and the provinces.

Primary Schools Booklet

This pack uses Latin inscriptions from the Ashmolean Museum to teach the Romans as a KS2 History topic. It covers the KS2 National Curriculum History requirement to teach the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain, as well as the Mathematics curriculum requirement to teach Roman Numerals.

Contents: Roman Funeral Activities; Roman Writing Activities; Roman Army; Clay Inscriptions Activities; Roman Numerals; Roman religion

Additional resources: ash chest lid; ash chest - cut-out model for you to make your own Roman ash chest

Latin Language Adventure Taught Gallery Sessions for Primary/Junior Schools

1.5 hours, maximum 32 pupils. Key Stage 2 Teachers' Notes for an interactive gallery session. Discover how to unlock information about life in Roman times through exploring Latin inscriptions.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding more about the life of real people in the Roman Empire through written evidence
  • Improved linguistic awareness – discovering that our language has been heavily influenced by Latin
  • Knowledge and understanding of using archaeological evidence to learn about the past
  • Understanding more about the different kinds of materials used by craftsmen
  • Improved speaking and listening skills

Activity 1: Read like a Roman Find out about a Roman cavalry officer and his family using Roman numerals to get started. Search the gallery looking for more inscriptions and find out more about real men and women in Roman society and the jobs they did.

Activity 2: Talk like a Roman. Get enlisted in the army and follow drills using Roman commands. Learn about insults inscribed on Roman sling bullets and play an insult matching game. Take part in drama activities bringing to life a Roman bas-relief carving

Activity 3: Object handling Handle original and replica objects to discover more about things that real people from the past made and used.

Activity 4: Write like a Roman Become a Roman citizen taking on a name and a nickname. Make a Latin inscription on EVA foam to take back to school

Please contact the Education Team to book a session.

Classical Civilisation Booklet

This pack contains worksheets for GCSE students. It is relevant to the following areas of the OCR ClassCiv GCSE J199.

  • J199/11 Myth & Religion: Death & Burial (Roman Funeral toolkit, gold glass craft activity)
  • J199/12 Women in the Ancient World - Roman ideas of wifely virtue (Roman Funeral toolkit: Eulogy)
  • J199/22 Roman City Life (Roman names and social roles, write like a Roman)
  • J199/23 Warfare (Roman Funeral toolkit: Eulogy)

Contents: Roman Funeral Toolkit; Gold Glass Craft Activity; Roman Names and Social Roles; Write like a Roman Activities

Focus on Latin Inscriptions: Death and Burial in Rome

Download PDF: a selection of objects which offers a glimpse into the lives of Romans people throughout the empire and show how the Romans commemorated their dead. Includes teaching ideas for Key Stage 3-5.

Latin Booklet

This pack uses Latin inscriptions from the Ashmolean Museum to teach Latin grammar and Roman life topics.

This pack is relevant to the following areas of the OCR Latin GCSE J282:

  • J282/01 Content of Language - Accidence & Syntax [The forms of regular nouns of all declensions; imperatives; Prohibitions with noli and nolite]
  • J282/02: Family Life & Relationships (2018/19) (Roman names and social roles)
  • J282/02: Conflict & Conquest (2022/23) (Imperatives worksheet)
  • J282/06: The Romans in Britain: Roman Army; (Imperatives worksheet)
  • J282/06: Beliefs in the Afterlife (Dative worksheet)

Contents: Teaching with Latin Inscriptions; Accidence & Syntax: Dative Case, Imperatives; Roman names and social roles

Vodcast series - Reading, Writing Romans

  • Felas Octavi:

    Released 11 April 2017

    New research reveals that this sling bullet is much ruder than previously thought. Prof. Alison Cooley discusses this with Dr Jane Masséglia and Dr Hannah Cornwell in the Ashmolean's updated Reading and Writing Gallery.

  • The real Abascantianus:

    Released 26 April 2016

    On 30th October 2015, we staged a Roman funeral in the Ashmolean Museum. But who were we burying? Here you can hear the talk that Prof. Alison Cooley gave on the night, telling the story of the man behind the urn

  • Rider Reliefs:

    Released 26 April 2016

    Prof. Alison Cooley talks with Dr Jane Masséglia about two Roman tombstones showing men on horseback, recently installed by AshLI in the Ashmolean Museum's Rome Gallery.

  • Early Christian Gold Glass:

    Released 26 April 2016

    Prof. Alison Cooley and Dr Jane Masséglia from the Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions Project, talking about the symbols and celebrations of early Christians in the Roman Empire.

  • The Building Bricks of an Empire:

    Released 21 September 2015

    The bricks that built the Roman Empire Professor Alison Cooley and Dr Jane Masséglia, from the Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions Project, take a closer look at some of the brickstamps in the museum’s collection, including the snazzy personal logo of a man named Lupus.

  • Hercules and the Roman teenager:

    Released 12 May 2015

    A memorial for a teenage son, with some unusual images of Hercules. The Roman teenager who was his mum’s little superhero. Hear Prof. Alison Cooley and Dr Jane Masséglia in conversation in the Ashmolean's Randolph Gallery.

  • A Roman Soldier's Plaque to Hercules:

    Released 12 May 2015

    The Roman soldier who went to Newcastle and punched Hercules. Professor Alison Cooley and Dr Jane Masséglia, from the Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions Project, talk about a tiny Roman plaque found near Hadrian's Wall in the North of England.

  • A Roman Intelligence Officer:

    Released 12 May 2015

    A Roman Intelligence Officer stationed in Britain. Being in the Roman Army wasn't all about building roads and dressing up as a legionary. In the third AshLI podcast, Alison Cooley and Jane Masséglia investigate the tombstone of a Roman Military Intelligence Officer who served in Britain before retiring.

  • A Bullet with your Name on:

    Released 12 May 2015

    Slingshot bullet from the seige of Perusia, 41/40 BC. Dr Jane Masséglia and Dr Hannah Cornwell discuss the messages and insults flung (literally!) between opposing sides during the Roman civil war of Perusia (41/40 BC), on display in the Rome Gallery of the Ashmolean Museum.

  • Freedmen and Friends:

    Released 27 July 2015

    A funerary inscription reveals questions of social status and friendship in the Roman world. Prof. Alison Cooley and Dr Hannah Cornwell from the AshLI Project, talk about a tombstone which marked the plot of an entire Roman familia: spouses, freedmen and good friends, all together in the same burial, and consider questions of social status.

Staging a Roman Funeral