Ancient Alumni

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Say hello to the Greek alumni of the 1st century CE.

British researchers recently translated a 2,000 year-old Greek marble tablet that resembled the yearbook of a graduating class, NPR reported.

According to the translation, the team explained that the inscription was a “class book” listing the names of a group of young men who finished their year-long civic and military training in what was called the ephebate.

The list included 31 names, some of them nicknames which indicates that the graduates had a sense of friendship and camaraderie. The scholars noted that the 31 names were just a part of a full class, which possibly included about 100 men.

The tablet was also marked with the inscription “Caesar” at the end, which possibly refers to Roman Emperor Claudius. He ruled the Roman Empire between 41 to 54 CE – at a time when Greece was part of the empire.

Peter Liddell, one of the translators, said the artifact had been sitting in the National Museums Scotland collection for more than 130 years and it was believed to be a copy of an already-existing inscription in Oxford, England.

He remarked that this inscription and other artifacts help fill in the gaps in ancient history.

“We don’t have objective accounts of ancient history,” Liddel said. “What we have to do is piece together ancient history from the fragments that exist, and this is one of those.”

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