Chapter 10: Epigraphy

What is the meaning of the latin inscriptions?  

text SIC  SUNT DAMNATI CVNCTI SIMVL ET SCELERATI O PECCATORES TRANSMVTETIS NISI MORES  IVDICIVM DVRVM VOBIS SCITOTE FVTVRVM... Silence (no inscription) FVRES MENDACES FALSI CVPIDIQVE RAPACES SIC STANT GAVDENTES SECVRI NIL METVENTES CASTI PACIFICI MITES PIETATIS AMICI PENIS INIVSTI CRVCIANTVR IN IGNIBVS VSTI   DEMONAS ATQVE TREMVNT PERPETVOQVE GEMVNT SIC DATVR ELECTIS AD CELI GAVDIA VECTIS  GLORIA PAX REQVIES PERPETVVSQUE DIES SIGNATVR LIBER VITE DISCEDITE A ME PATRIS MEI POSSIDETE ( CARITAS (Charity) [H]OMNES PERVERSI SIC SVNT IN TARTARA MERS<I>  <H>OC SIGNVM CRVCIS ERIT IN CELO CUM  <DOMINVS AD IVDICANDVM VENERIT>  LVNA (Moon) CLAVI (nails) LANCEA SOL (Sun) IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDEORVM al youm ou al hamda (felicity or  Glory) IERONIMVS ivdex REX EXIBVNT ANGELI ET SEPARABVNT SANCTORVM CETVS STAT XPISTO IVDICE LETVS O PECCATORES TRANSMVTETIS NISI MORES IVDICIVM DVRVM VOBIS SCITOTE FVTVRVM CVNEVS
Roll over the inscriptions to read them

Table n° 1 English translation:

English translation


Table n°2 Text as it is written:

Text as it is

 

Table n° 3 Latin normalized text: (1)

Normalized text

The chevrons < > mark added letters which are missed or erased.  The brackets [ ] mean letters that must be withdrawn.

 

TWELVE LEONINE VERSES

All the inscriptions (except Gospel quotes) are written in remarkable leonine verses.  This type of versification is  based on internal rhyme, was  commonly used in Latin verse during Middle Ages. Acordding to the belgian Philologist, François De Coster, these verses are of great virtuosity with a perfect metric.

The 12 leonine verses

Internal rhymes are undescored, feet are separated by a slash (/) , the caesura is marked by a vertical bar (I)


The text is graved on limestone bands which separate the three registers. Excepted for thoose told by Christ (Gospel of St. Matthew quote), the words are not the speach of the Characters : there are not exactly bubbles like in comics trips. But, they make sense and light the scenes. They were read out of loud by the performing monks for Pilgrims. Voice, gestures and pictures : this is the birth of liturgical Drama, of religious Theatre, i.e. the medieval Mystery plays.
Monks have got humour. There are several wordplays. : for instance they add or withdraw just one letter to make a pun. For example, the word HOMNES can stand for HOMINES (HOM<I>NES = Men) or OMNES ([H]OMNES = all). So it means as well OMNES HOMINES (all men).   

 

 

SO ALL THE PERVERSES ARE PLUNGED IN THE TARTARUS
[H]OMNES PERVERSI

 

Descover all the secrets of Perse tympanum (in french)

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(1) Special thanks to our friend François De Coster. This Philologist's works are about the latin scansion. He shows that here, at Conques, there is an alternation between hexameters and pentameters. The main point is the rythmic structure of the verses, with series of syllables of different lengths, acording their level of stress. The long syllables (stressed syllables) are noted (Long syllable), short one (unstressed) are noted (Short syllable).
A spondee is a metrical foot consisting of 2 long syllables (Stressed long syllableLong syllable).
A dactyl is a foot with a long syllable followed by two short syllables (Long syllableShort syllableShort syllable
).
A trochee
has a long and a short syllables (Long syllableShort syllable).

At Conques, the verses are mostly hexameters with spondees. For example:

Casti

But Fraçois De Coster notices thant the first and the last verses are ending with a trochee:
Hexametre
Trochee
and
Trochee

At last, he notices two elegiac distics, a couple of verses linked by the meaning, combining a hexameter with a pentameter:

distique

elegy

See: François De Coster, "Pour une relecture des inscriptions du tympan de l'abbatiale de Conques", Etudes aveyronnaises 2010, p. 325-327 (Back)

 

Descover all the secrets of Perse tympanum (in french)

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Last update : 29/06/2019

 

 

 

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