Religious identity and perceptions of afterlife gleaned from a funerary monument to a young girl from (late) Roman Melite

By: George Azzopardi

Possibly late during the Roman occupation of Malta, a young deceased girl had a funerary monument set up in her memory by her loving mother. Analysis of both epigraphic content and iconographic elements on this monument would show that the mother, at least, is likely to have been originally a public slave but later achieved manumission, a status which remained to be enjoyed by herself and by her daughter. Moreover, they seem to have adhered to the then commonly held beliefs regarding the nature of death and afterlife. Yet, identifying their beliefs on the nature of death and afterlife did not prove sufficient to determine their religious identity as such beliefs were evidently shared by different religious groups.