A team of researchers from the University of Granada has made an exceptional find in the municipality of Domingo Pérez: the proper name of a person that had not been documented until now. This discovery was made while analyzing a Roman funerary stele that was discovered in 2020. The inscription contains the name Subulcus, which, according to the book “Etymologies” by Isidore of Seville, published in 625, means “shepherd of pigs” or “swineherd,” but it is now known that it was also a proper name.
Analysis of the typeface and funerary formulas has made it possible to date the piece between the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century AD. The tombstone, which must have been placed on a monument of certain dimensions, relates the names of six people, all freedmen—people who had been slaves and who had obtained freedom but not the same status as free citizens who had never been slaves. Of the six names on the inscription, three are men and three are women. Three of the men and one of the women belonged to the gens Pomponia, of Plebeian origin, whose presence in the southern peninsular is not attested until relatively late.
The name Subulcus is the first documented testimony in the entire Roman world of the term as part of the onomastics of an individual who, in this case, died at 55 years of age. The researchers Ángel Padilla Arroba and Eva Morales Rodríguez, who belong to the Department of Ancient History of the University of Granada, have assured that this finding is exceptional and enriches the already extensive repertoire of Roman names documented not only in Hispania, but throughout the Empire.
The funerary stele is currently being restored and can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Granada. The discovery of this name opens the door to further research and discoveries in the future.
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