Tag Archives: history

Monthly Latin Spotlight Text: Magna Carta

Posted on 10. Jun, 2015 by in Latin Language

In celebration of 800th anniversary, this month’s text is the Magna Carta!


Name: Magna Carta (Latin: the Great Charter)

Cotton MS. Augustus II. 106, one of only four surviving exemplifications of the 1215 text.

Cotton MS. Augustus II. 106, one of only four surviving exemplifications of the 1215 text.

Also Known AsMagna Carta Libertatum  (Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties”)

Date: June 15 1215

Author(s):  UNKNOWN. Many 19th-century historians suggested that the charter was written by one of its most influential signers, Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. However, the document’s exact wording was likely the product of months of back-and-forth negotiations between the king and his noblemen.

Type of Text: Historic, Political,

Genre: Charter

ContentThe Magna Carta was an agreement between King John and a group of English barons in response to years of the king’s misrule and excessive taxation. Despite a closing line suggesting the charter was “Given by [John’s] hand,” the charter was more or less forced on him by the barons. The charter which would grant rights to all Englishmen.

Type of Latin:  Medieval Latin

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Distinguishing Features: (1). England’s greatest legal document was a failure in its initial form. Intended as a peace treaty, this first Magna Carta never took full effect and failed to avert war between John and the nobles. (2). Multiple copies of the first Magna Carta (a sheet of parchment with approximately 3,600 words written in vegetable-based in) were distributed to individual English county courts during the summer of 1215. Today four of those copies survive; the British Library holds two, and the other two are in the collections of the cathedrals at Salisbury and Lincoln. (3). A handful of other Magna Cartas are versions issued between 1225 and 1297, when the charter officially entered the English statue books. In 2007, a 1297 Magna Carta sold at auction for $21.3 million, the most ever paid for a single page of text.

Where is it today:

There is no original, but four copies survive.

The plan for four surviving original copies of Magna Carta to be brought together in 2015, at the British Library.

The 800th anniversary of the original charter will occur on 15 June 2015, and organisations and institutions are planning celebratory events. TheBritish Library brought together the four existing of the 1215 manuscript on 3 February 2015 for a special exhibition. British artist Cornelia Parker was commissioned to create a new artwork, Magna Carta (An Embroidery), which was unveiled at the British Library on 15 May 2015 and will remain on display until 24 July. The artwork is a copy of an earlier version of this Wikipedia page (as it appeared on the document’s 799th anniversary, 15 June 2014), embroidered into the form of a tapestry.

In Pop Culture: The film Ironclad depicts the an ending of the Magna Carta. Jay-Z had album entitle Magna Carta Holy Grail.




Johannes Dei gracia rex Anglie, Dominus Hibernie, dux Normannie, Aquitannie et comes Andegavie, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, forestariis, vicecomitibus, prepositis, ministris et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis salutem. See more here.


JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting. – See more here.



Spotlight Text of the Month: Book of Kells

Posted on 08. Apr, 2015 by in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes!

I have been giving it some series thought and I think it would be a great monthly post addition to have Spotlight Texts! By this I mean to summarizes a text of Latin in all its major facets and include an excerpt from the text with Latin and English. This week I thought we would start with one the most famous intact Latin texts: Book of Kells! Also, I have been watching the History Channel’s Vikings a little too much and wanted to do a text not from Ancient Rome.

Book of Kells. Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit Liber generationis of the Gospel of Matthew. Compare this page with the corresponding page from the Book of Kells (see here), especially the form of the Lib monogram. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Book of Kells. Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit Liber generationis of the Gospel of Matthew. Compare this page with the corresponding page from the Book of Kells (see here), especially the form of the Lib monogram. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Name: Book of Kells
Also Known As: Book of Columbia
Date: 800 AD
Author(s): Monastery Monks (sometimes referred to Hand A, Hand B, and Hand C)
Type of Text: Hiberno-Saxon Illuminated Manuscript*
The Book of Kells. Folio 27v contains the symbols of the Four Evangelists (Clockwise from top left): a man (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an eagle (John) and an ox (Luke). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

The Book of Kells. Folio 27v contains the symbols of the Four Evangelists (Clockwise from top left): a man (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an eagle (John) and an ox (Luke). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Genre: Religious
Four Gospels of the New Testament with various prefatory texts and tables. In detail, it includes the complete text of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, it only includes a portion of the Gospel of John that is through John 17:13. Many scholars believe that the rest of the gospel has either been destroyed or lost.
Type of Latin: 
The text itself is drawn from the Vulgate, but there is older translations such as the Vetus Latina.
Distinguishing Features:
It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination.
It is also widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure.
The Book of Kells offers a great example of illuminated manuscript’s Latin which usually runs together continuous and rarely breaking up words.
Book of Kells. Folio 309r contains text from the Gospel of John written in Insular majuscule by the scribe known as Hand B.Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Book of Kells. Folio 309r contains text from the Gospel of John written in Insular majuscule by the scribe known as Hand B.Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Where is it today:
The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells, which was its home for centuries. Today, it is on permanent display at Trinity College Library, Dublin.
In Pop Culture:
There was a short animated film entitled “Secret of Kells” that is a fictional retelling of the Book of Kells. The following summary was provided by IMDB: A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. This film was even nominated to the 2010 Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Film. You may watch it here.
 Additional Information:
Have you been inspired? Read more on the Book of Kells-here.


Book of Kells.

Caenantibus autem eis accepit Iesus panem et benedixit ac fregit deditque discipulis suis et ait Accipite et comedite; hoc est Corpus meum.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Matth. xxvi. 26.

. . . . . accipit . . . . . . . . discipulis suis dicens accipite edite ex hoc omnes hoc est enim Corpus meum quod confringitur pro saeculi vita.


Heli heli lema sabacthani.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Ib. xxvii. 46.

Heli heli laba sabacthani.


Ceteri vero dicebant sine videamus an veniat Helias liberans eum.

The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him
Ib. xxvii. 49.
. . . Helias et liberaret eum.
Factum est autem in diebus illis exiit edictum a Caesare Augusto ut describeretur universus orbis.

 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
Luke ii 1.
in illis diebus . . . accessare agusto ut censum profiterentur universi per orbem terrae
ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore praegnante.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to himand was expecting a child.

Ib. ii. 5.

. . . sibi disponsata . . praegnante de spiritu sancto.
et videbit omnis caro salutare dei.

And all people will see God’s salvation.’
Ib. iii. 6.
et videbitur maies [sicdomini.
genimina viperarum.

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Ib. iii. 7.
o generatio viperarum.
adveniat regnum tuum: panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis cotidie.

your kingdom come:Give us each day our daily bread
Ib. xi. 2-3.
adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra, da nobis hodie


Book of Kells.

[No corresponding passage.]

[At end of verse:]

et depositum involvit sindone, et posuit eum in monumento exciso, in quo nondum quisquam positus fuerat.

 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
Ib. xxiii. 53.
. . . . in sindone munda . . . . . . . . . . . et imposito eo imposuit monumento lapidera magnam.
Et cum dixisset, statim discessit al eo lepra, et mundatus est.

And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
Mark i. 17
[After mundatus estet inspiciens Iesus austri vultu eicit eum.
grex porcorum magnus pascens.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
MARK. v. 11.
. . . . . . pascensium [sic]
et videt tumultum.

When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.
Ib. v. 38.
vidit cumuultum [sic].
Et angariaverunt praetereuntem quempiam.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
Ib. xv. 21.
. . . . angarizaverunt . . . .
Quod natum est ex carne caro est, et quod natum est ex spiritu spiritus est.

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritgives birth to spirit
John iii. 6.
Quod natum est ex carne caro est quia de carne natum est, et quod natum est ex spiritu spiritus est quia deus spiritus est et ex deo natus est*

Well that was a lot to translate!

*Hiberno-Saxon manuscripts are those manuscripts made in the British Isles from about 500 CE to about 900 CE in England, but later in Ireland and elsewhere, or those manuscripts made on the continent in scriptoria founded by Hiberno-Scottish or Anglo-Saxon missionaries and which are stylistically similar to the manuscripts produced in the British Isles. It is almost impossible to separate Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Scottish and Welsh art at this period, especially in manuscripts; this art is therefore called Insular art. (This definition was taken from Wikipedia.)

Latin Mass to be offered to mark reinterment of Richard III

Posted on 04. Mar, 2015 by in Latin Language

Salvette Omnes,

I hope everyone is doing well this fine day!

So for today- I will be doing a bit of news-jacking. I love finding these tidbits in the news about Latin being used in everyday life, for historic events, or even old traditions kindling anew.

In today’s news, a Requiem Mass in the traditional Latin form is to be offered at a Catholic church in Lancashire to mark the re-interment of King Richard III. “The idea [of the requiem mass in Latin] is that it will be closer to what he might have experienced in his own lifetime, as a pre-reformation Catholic,” said parish priest Fr Simon Henry.

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard (c. 1520, after a lost original), formerly belonging to the Paston family. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard (c. 1520, after a lost original), formerly belonging to the Paston family. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

For those of you who don’t know-The skeleton of Richard III was found under a car park in Leicester in 2012. In the days before the re-interment service at Leicester Cathedral, the coffin will be taken to Leicester University and Bosworth Field, where the king was was killed in battle.

If you are interested in learning more about how Richard III was found and the details behind his death and burial, you may want to check out the University of Leicester’s YouTube channel:

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A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead (Latin: Missa pro defunctis) or Mass of the dead (Latin: Missa defunctorum), is a Mass in the Catholic Church offered for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons. It is frequently, but not necessarily, celebrated in the context of a funeral. In the case of Richard III, this is a re-interment of his soul and for a proper burial.

If you are interested as to what a Requiem Mass may sound like; it is beautiful in my opinion-check it out below. You can even follow along with the text I provide below [ note this video only goes to about the end of section 3]

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1. Introitus: Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem
Exaudi orationem meam
Ad te omnis caro veniet.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them
A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Zion
And a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem
Hear my prayer
All flesh shall come before you.
2. Kyrie
Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
3. Graduale: Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
In memoria aeterna erit iustus,
ab auditione mala non timebit.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord :
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
He shall be justified in everlasting memory,
and shall not fear evil reports.
4. Tractus: Absolve, Domine
Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis succurente
mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis aeternae beatitudine perfrui.
Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins
and by the aid to them of your grace
may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge,
and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.
5. Sequentia: Dies Irae
Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet apparebit.
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatus
qui salvandos salvas gratis
sale me, fons pietatis

Recordare, Jesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti, lassus;
Redemisti crucem passus;
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste Judex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco tanquam reus,
Culpa rubet vultus meus;
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae,
Sed tu, bonus, fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab hoedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictus.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis,
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.

Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Jesu Domine:
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

This day, this day of wrath
shall consume the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.

What trembling there will be
When the judge shall come
to weigh everything strictly!

The trumpet, scattering its awful sound
Across the graves of all lands
Summons all before the throne.

Death and nature shall be stunned
When mankind arises
To render account before the judge.

The written book shall be brought
In which all is contained
Whereby the world shall be judged

When the judge takes his seat
all that is hidden shall appear
Nothing will remain unavenged.

What shall I, a wretch, say then?
To which protector shall I appeal
When even the just man is barely safe?

King of awful majesty
You freely save those worthy of salvation
Save me, found of pity.

Remember, gentle Jesus
that I am the reason for your time on earth,
do not cast me out on that day

Seeking me, you sank down wearily,
you saved me by enduring the cross,
such travail must not be in vain.

Righteous judge of vengeance,
award the gift of forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.

I groan as one guilty,
my face blushes with guilt;
spare the suppliant, O God.

Thou who didsn’t absolve Mary [Magdalen]
and hear the prayer of the thied
hast given me hope, too.

My prayers are not worthy,
but Thou, O good one, show mercy,
lest I burn in everlasting fire,

Give me a place among the sheep,
and separate me from the goats,
placing me on Thy right hand.

When the damned are confounded
and consigned to keen flames,
call me with the blessed.

I pray, suppliant and kneeling,
a heart as contrite as ashes;
take Thou my ending into Thy care.

That day is one of weeping,
on which shall rise again from the ashes
the guilty man, to be judged.

Therefore spare this one, O God,
merciful Lord Jesus:
Give them rest. Amen.

6. Offertorium: Domine, Jesu Christe
Domine, Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de poenis inferni
et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
Sed signifer sanctus Michael
repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam,
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semini eius.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine
laudis offerimus
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte
transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semine eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, king of glory,
deliver the soulds of all the faithful departed
from the pains of Hell
and the bottomless pit.
Deliver them from the jaws of the lion,
lest hell engulf them,
lest they be plunged into darkness;
but let the holy standard-bearer Michael
lead them into the holy light,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

Lord, in praise we offer you
Sacrifices and prayers,
accept them on behalf of those
who we remember this day:
Lord, make them pass
from death to life,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

7. Sanctus (+ Benedictus)
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domine.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
8. Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei, qui tollis pecatta mundi
dona eis requiem.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem sempitername.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them rest.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them eternal rest.
9. Lux Aeterna
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis,
quia pius es.
Let everlasting light shine upon them, Lord,
with Thy saints for ever,
for Thou art merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them,
for Thou art merciful.
10. Pie Jesu
Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem.
Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem, sempiternam.
Merciful Jesus, O Lord, grant them rest.
Merciful Jesus, O Lord, grant them eternal rest.
11. Libera me
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna
in die illa tremenda
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra,
dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo,
dum discussion venerit atque venture ira:
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.

Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death
on that awful day
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken
and you shall come to judge the world by fire.

I am seized with fear and trembling
until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come:
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken.

12. In Paradisum
In paradisum deducant angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyrus
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.

Chorus angelorum te suscipat
et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere,
aeternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into paradise;
at your coming may the martyrs receive you
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.

May the chorus of angels receive you
and with Lazarus, once poor,
may you have eternal rest.

The following Latin Mass translation and words were taken from requiemsurvey.org