Why is it that us Proletarius, already subject to poverty, and the unhygienic conditions which accompany it, are always victim to ravages of disease and death? My dear younger sister, Cassia, so young and so beautiful, has been taken away from us. She was taken from us at the very eve of autumn, a time when many unfortunate souls leave our world (Gigante). It seems so unjust, as she was just a young innocent girl, never given an opportunity to disgrace her family or the entirety of Rome, yet she was taken before she could enjoy the prime of her life. Her fever worsened every day that passed. Her shaking became more violent and chills more extreme, eventually she began to vomit (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Our family does not have the means to hold the extravagant ceremonies and funerals which some of the more privileged Romans are lucky enough to enjoy, but we said our good-byes the best we could in a traditional Roman way. We approached her individually and gave our last thoughts and comforts. Lastly, my mother, who was closest to dear Cassia, gently shut her eyes and caught her fleeting souls with a light kiss on the lips, before we began the cremation process (Toynbee 43-44). These traditions were performed gracefully and allowed for a proper grieving process. The most important thing was that we were close to her as she passed, so that she would not go alone.

This whole ordeal has no doubt been a scarring and painful experience for my entire family, but we must remain optimistic in times such as these. Although some others might be skeptical , I’m inclined to believe that Cassia’s individuality is still present, even following her earthly existence and, in fact, her soul now enjoys an even greater, beautiful existence (Toynbee 38). My mother has been most effected by this incident, as she was closest to Cassia. She now remains as the sole female in our household and continues her embarrassing work as a prostitute. There is no break for us however, to stop and mourn for even several days would spell starvation and greater debt for us. My father continued his work at glass making and I stepped up my petty theft. Perhaps the one silver lining of this whole ordeal is the fact that there is one less mouth to feed. For individuals in our social position, sometimes I feel as though there is no hope for a better life.


Works Cited

“Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.

Gigante, Linda. “Death and Disease in Ancient Rome.” In Nominate Society. University of Louisville, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.

Toynbee, J. M. C. Death and Burial in the Roman World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1971. Print.

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