EDB14692 (TM304351)

Pertaining to Basilica S.Petri apostoli (via Cornelia)
Titulus sepulchralis
Lost
Date: 500-599
Edition(s): ICVR II, 4209; ILCV, 3484; PLRE II, 537-538, s.v. Helpis; Troncarelli 2011; AE, 2011, 125; CLE II (nn.860-1858), 1432
Helpis dicta fui Siculae regionis alumna
quam procul a patria coniugis egit amor
quo sine maesta dies nox anxia flebilis hora
nec solum caro sed spiritus unus erat
lux mea non clausa est tali remanente marito
maiorique animae parte superstes ero
porticibus sacris iam non pregrina quiesco
iudicis aeterni testificata thronum
ne qua manus mustum violet nisi forte iugalis
haec iterum cupiart iungere membra suis
ut thalami tumulique comis nec morte revellar
et socios vitae nectat uterque cinis

ICVR edits the longest-known version of the carmen, but five more shorter versions of the text do exist in manuscripts. Uncertainty surrounds the identity of Helpis, who from the 10th-11th cents. onwards has been believed to be the wife of Severinus Boethius, the Late Antique philosopher. However, the name of Boethius's wife is known to be Rusticiana. Troncarelli thoroughly deals with the matter, concluding that the shorter versions of the text (four/five verses long) could be the genuine core around which revolved later additions; moreover, these versions show two references to the De consolatione philosophiae of Boethius. On this grounds he cautiously proposes that the original inscription actually remembered Boethius's wife, Rusticiana, and that Helpis could have been her additional name. But – as Troncarelli also infers – this argument needs further evidences to be confirmed (Vilella).
Antonio Enrico Felle, 11/11/2003
Last update by Antonello Vilella on 12/09/2020
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