Theta Nigrum
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Theta Nigrum
Retiarius vs Secutor, the two gladiators lying are dead, as signified by the theta nigrum

The theta nigrum ("black theta") or theta infelix ("unlucky theta") is a symbol of death in Greek and Latin epigraphy.[1]Isidore of Seville notes the letter was appended after the name of a deceased soldier and finds of papyri containing military records have confirmed this use.[1] Additionally it can be seen in the Gladiator Mosaic.

The term theta nigrum was coined by Theodor Mommsen. It consists of a circle with a diagonal line. The Theta signified Thanatos, the Greek deity of death.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Mednikarova, Iveta. "The Use of ? in Latin Funerary Inscriptions". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. 136: 267-276.
  2. ^ A Dictionary of Latin Phrases

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