Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tombstone quip

Epitaph on the Littleton tomb at Penkridge Church

I'm not sure whether the writer of the epitaph on this tomb at Penkridge Church is being rather learnedly-clever or writing with tongue-in-cheek. 
Maybe the point is that each of the relatives could interpret it as they wanted...?    Or maybe I'm reading too much into a few simple lines?

Here's the modern version:   
Reader!  It was thought enough, upon the tomb of that great captain, the enemy of Rome, to write  no more but 'Here Lies Hannibal'. 
Let this [the two lines, below] suffice thee then, instead of all [that might be written]:   Here Lie Two Knights, Father & Son / Sir Edward and Sir Edward Littleton.

Now, is the writer being sarcastic with his comparison of regional land-owners to a major figure of history like Hannibal?  Or respectful?  Or, very subtly, both?!