Written on Water: The Roman Songs

The next two songs are both about the Roman Baths. The secondary meaning of Written on Water is that our lives do not disappear without trace, but leave echoes in the time to come which continue to alter the world long after we are dead. The first one, Successa, is a tribute to a little girl her loving parents, who wrote the memorial stone tablet on which this song is based,  must have thought buried for ever.

SUCCESSA PETRONIA

To the spirits of the departed

and Successa Petronia,

who lived 3 years, 4 months, 9 days.

 

To the spirits of the departed

and Successa Petronia,

who lived 3 years, 4 months, 9 days.

 

Vettius Romulus and Victoria Sabina

set this to their dearest daughter.

 

To the spirits of the departed

and Successa Petronia,

who lived 3 years, 4 months, 9 days.

9 days.

 

The second, taken from the Curses tablets thrown into the springs for the attention of Sulis/ Minerva, strikes an altogether different kind of tone.

CURSES SONG

 

Hail Minerva!

Solinus calling!

I give your majesty, glory, divinity,

my bathing tunic and my cloak..

 

Hail Minerva!

Solinus calling!

Make the thief who stole all my things

bring them back now!

 

Hail Minerva!

Solinus calling!

I give your majesty, glory, divinity,

my bathing tunic and my cloak..

 

Hail Minerva!

Solinus calling!

Make the thief who stole all my things

bring them back now!

Or Minerva,

steal from him

all his sleep, and all his health,

Minerva of the hot spring!

 

Hail to thee, Sulis,

O mighty goddess,

I give you six silver coins,

But only, my Sulis, if you get them back from

Senicianus and Saturninus and Anniola,

Who took them from me,

Oh, Sulis of the hot spring!

 

Hail to thee, Sulis,

Mighty Minerva,

Please hear my prayer.

I have lost two gloves, mighty Minerva.

May those that stole them

Lose all their reason,

And both of their eyes.

 

Right all our wrongs, Sulis,

Restore our goods to us,

Punish the wicked!

Hail to thee, Sulis,

Hail to Minerva, Goddess of the hot springs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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