calling latin scholars

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
mrs archer
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:40 pm
Location: wakefield

calling latin scholars

Post by mrs archer »

hello!
are there any latin scholars out there who can help me translate a seal inscription? the seal shows a man leading a horse looking coyly back over its shoulder; and unfortunately the surrounding lettering is damaged, but it reads something like' MANTIOR MENTITUR IANVA AUSTOR (or NOSTOR) EQVS'.

i've only been able to come up with some gobbledygook about 'our horse's knapsack (saddlebags?) deceives at the door' - can anyone do better? or has anyone come across a medieval tag or proverb relating to horses, doors and knapsacks that might shed light on the meaning? i'm wondering if it's some variant on 'you can't judge a book by its cover' - but would appreciate any help or info you might suggest.
many thanks,
mrs a
tant le desieree

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Without seeing the original text, however damaged, it's difficult to reconstruct anything meaningful.

Mantior is unlikely to be linked to the term for "knapsack", which is mantica in classical Latin. The "-or" ending might point to a first person singular form of a verb, but there isn't one that fits. There is, however, a surname (Huguenot?) Mantior -
see http://www.genealogyworld.net/ellen/Not ... milies.htm

On a seal, the identity of the owner usually figures prominently, although some do bear a motto or phrase of some kind.

"Equs" looks like it ought to be equus, a horse - the missing second "u" might point to the writer having very poor Latin. Some inscriptions like this were nonsense, written by an uneducated craftsman for uneducated clients, simply to look impressive. There are numerous medieval rings and brooches, for example, bearing bogus pseudo-Latin inscriptions.

It would be interesting to see the exact style of lettering used, since this would help to date the piece.

It may be worth sending a good-quality photograph to the British Museum, or Durham Cathedral Library, both of which have extensive seal collections and they may be able to shed some light on the text for you.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Steady on some of us are very proud of our naff pseudo latin pig rubbish made up stuff.

See what I mean...
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Post by Brother Ranulf »

My favourite is "a term never used by monks":

Salve melita, domi adsum - Hi, honey, I'm home!
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Depends if you believe what Cromwell told Henry or not, omae. :lol:
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

Langley
Post Centurion
Posts: 763
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: West Midlands

Post by Langley »

I have to confess to carrying in my scrip a beautifully written (by Melles of Scriptorium fame) scrap bearing the inscription "Semper Ubi, Sub Ubi". You have to transate then read the translation out loud... I tell people I was sold it by a Camelot who assured me it was an effective charm against rude diseases.

Back at the min thread though. very interesting ideed - it does look like poor Latin but that may be even more interesting than if it were the real thing. What is the full story of it? Where did it come from?

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Post by Brother Ranulf »

I used that one on a group of youngsters I was introducing to Latin and they got it straight away . . . which says a lot about today's youth . . . or about me :lol: The Black Knight took a little longer to get it

"Always where under where" :oops: : :oops:
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Well I liked it. :)
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Medicus Matt
Post Knight
Posts: 1470
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:16 pm
Location: Zummerzet
Contact:

Post by Medicus Matt »

Brother Ranulf wrote:
"Always where under where" :oops: : :oops:
Ubique.
"I never said that I was here to help."

mrs archer
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:40 pm
Location: wakefield

calling latin scholars

Post by mrs archer »

many thanks for the useful suggestions - and humorous interjections! sadly, can't tell you much more about the seal or show a photo. i found the reference in an old local history book on wakefield; it's an onyx seal found near sandal castle in 1760 (hence not necessarily 15th century), exhibited to the society of antiquaries in 1763, and only a line drawing made before it was lost to posterity.

the book says the inscription reads 'MANTICA MENTITUR JANVA NOSTER EQVS' although the accompanying drawing shows it as 'MANTIOR MENTITUR...' - i don't know which is right. lettering looks like debased roman capitals - definitely not gothic black letter.

hope this sheds a bit more light and sorry i can't tell you more.
mrs a
tant le desieree

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Never one to give up on a quest (tomorrow, the Holy Grail!!!!! :roll: ), I continued to dig around for anything similar.

Guess what ... in Trinity College Library, Cambridge, there resides an extremely obscure 11th/12th century copy of a manuscript by Bede which I had not previously seen (BEDA SUPER EPISTOLAS CANONICAS listed as MS B.2.32), which includes a number of later scribbles or random jottings in folio 8.

One of these rambling and extraneous comments is:

2. xiii. Mantica mentitur • ianua noster equus
Dines durus ego faciam gallina siligo.


Having discovered the origin of the text helps not one bit, however - it looks like a simple random list of Latin words strung together, without any hint of grammatical construction, standard word order or intended meaning. Before some American film producer starts looking for hidden Templar/Masonic/ Hebrew secret codes in it, I will give the literal meaning of each word:

mantica a bag for the hand, cloak-bag, portmanteau
mentitur it is deceived

ianua a door, entrance (or with a door, by a door)
noster our
equus horse

Dines ? possibly Dives - a rich man
durus hard, unfeeling, inflexible, harsh, difficult
ego I (emphatic)
faciam I am made
gallina a chicken
siligo wheat, wheat flour

It's either a recipe for a very nutritious soup, or it's a secret code, or it's simply nonsense. One other possibility is that it's a novice scribe practising his script, with an instructor calling out random words to be written down . . .

:?
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Too late I've just had Dan Brown on the phone asking about it. :cry:
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Post by Brother Ranulf »

I sent an email today to Trinity College Library in the hope that they can shed some light on the strange text. Let's hope they can solve the riddle. :?
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

Sorry Ranulf, did you say that insription reads "Lying glove, the door for horses, The Wealthy starve for Chicken Fajitas"? :?

Surely not!

:wink:

I've got to know how this one ends. :D
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Obviously this is to do with the catholic church attempting to take over the world. I rouse you all to take up arms to defend your liberties!

Hang on I am a catholic-go Benny!
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

mrs archer
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:40 pm
Location: wakefield

calling latin scholars

Post by mrs archer »

of course - thanks so much, brother ranulph, all makes perfect sense now: 'my handbag is deceived by our horse at the door; i am made a floury chicken by the nasty toff'. :lol:

seriously, thanks so much for your time and trouble on this - i'm waiting agog to hear more. wondering if it was either an expression common at the time... or a common exercise for learning latin...

very interesting!!
tant le desieree

mrs archer
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:40 pm
Location: wakefield

calling latin scholars

Post by mrs archer »

just occurred... maybe bede had been nibbling at fabulous fungi??
tant le desieree

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Purple hose is on my mind?
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

Post Reply