History in stone

If you have a command of Latin, and you pay attention while walking around Rome, you can find some interesting things. 

Here is an inscription on the facade of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. 

Here is the transcription:

                                 ORUM
ORDINIS             PRAED·
INSIGNIA           HEC SUNT

HAC ANTERIORI FOSSULA QUAM
LECTOR INSPICIS FOELICIS MEMO
RIE THOME DE VIO ORDINIS
PRAEDICATORUM CARDINALIS
CAIETANI CONSERVANTUR
OSSA· QUI DUM VIXIT ITA MO
RIBUS· ATQ OMNI DOCTRINA
HUMANO GENERI PROFUIT·
UT PRO TANTO BENEFICIO
DEO GRATIAS AGERE· AC PRO
EIUS ANIMA MERITO PRECES
EFFUNDERE TENEAMUR· HIC
QUORUMDAM ALIORUM INANEM
DECLINANS FASTUM HUMILI
HOC SECONDI IUSSIT TUMULO
VIX· AN· LXV· DIES· XXIX
OBIIT· AN· CHRI ·M· D· XXXIIII

Keep in mind that some words are broken and continued on the next line.  Also, some "ae"s are reduced to "e".  They wrote much as they pronounced the words at the time.  There are some abbreviations.  In the transcription I made some changes of the "V" to "U" when appropriate.

Who wants to take a shot?  Maybe one of you can supply some background on this famous churchman even as others work to decipher what is said of him on this stone.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in My View, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to History in stone

  1. Charles R. Williams says:

    Thomas Cardinal Cajetan, Dominican, opponent of Luther, died 1534.

  2. Charles: That’s the easy part, naming the guy. But its not really background.

    So… what does the inscription say?

  3. These are the arms of the Order of Preachers

    In the earlier tomb which the reader observes were preserved the bones of Thomas de Vio, O.P., Cardenal Cajetan, of happy memory, who when he lived so benefited humankind by morals and every doctrine that we intend to give thanks to God for so great benefit and deservedly pour forth prayers for his soul. Here, avoiding the empty pomp of certain others, one orders this second tomb.

    He lived to the age of sixty five and died in the year of our Lord 1534.

  4. Sorry, should have been “second modest tomb”.

  5. Tonus Peregrinus says:

    With the qualifying “perfidis” removed, one needs to ask these bishops what objection there could possibly be to the rest of the prayer.

    As Sister taught us long ago, it is the most loving thing we could possibly pray for: conversion of others to the Roman Catholic Church.

    Older Missals also have a Good Friday prayer “Oremus et pro Christianissimo Imperatore nostro . . . ” – no question of turning that into the feminine form for Angela – or even Mr. Sarkozy!

    At any rate, even as regards “perfidis,” I always liked Monsignor Knox’s translation: “Pray we also for the misbelieving Jews . . . ” and his explanation: “They are not unbelieving. They believe. But wrongly. Or, please God, not yet fully.”

  6. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    I won’t spoil things for others by translating this, but I would offer one hint I find irresistible…”secondi” is “se condi”, and the Latin is easier if you resist the urge to think “second” and instead think se + condi.

  7. St Charles says:

    Cajetan (aka Thomas de Vio 1469-1534) wrote perhaps the greatest commentary on St. Thomas’ Summa. It is published at the bottom of the Leonine edition. he is called Cajetan after his birthplace, Gaeta. He was general of the Dominican order from 1508-1518 and made a Cardinal in 1517. He met with Luther in 1518 as papal legate to the Diet of Augusburg. He demanded that Luther recant only two points, noting that the rest could be resolved by applying distinctions. He is also important for his Summula peccatorum (1526) which holds an important place in Early Modern European manuals for confessors.
    His works against Luther can be found in English in Cajetan Responds: A Reader in Reformation Controversy ed. Jared Wicks.

  8. Ah, yes, I see. se+condi. I was thrown off by thinking “anterior” was in respect of time, but it must be in respect of place.

    Let me try again:

    These are the arms of the Order of Preachers

    In the burial place which the reader observes before him are preserved the bones of Thomas de Vio, O.P., Cardenal Cajetan, of happy memory, who when he lived so benefited humankind by morals and every doctrine that we are bound to give thanks to God for so great a benefit and deservedly pour forth prayers for his soul. Here, avoiding the empty pomp of certain others, he ordered this humble tomb for his burial.

    He lived to the age of sixty five and died in the year of our Lord 1534.

    Any better?

  9. Curly says:

    I think this is close:

    These are the Arms of the Order of Preachers.

    Before this ditch, reader, which you are looking at, are kept the bones of Thomas de Vio of the Order of Preachers, Cardinal Cajetan, of happy memory. Who when he lived, thus profited the human race by (his) morals and by (his) every teaching that we ought to give thanks to God for so great a benefit, and rightfully remember to pour out prayers for his soul.

    Here, declining the vain pride of certain others, he ordered this tomb in accord with humility.

    He lived 65 years, 29 days. He died in the year of Christ 1534.

  10. Curly says:

    Oops, I meant for that last part:

    “He ordered this humble tomb for himself to be buried.”

  11. Curly says:

    Oops again:

    “he ordered that he be buried in this humble tomb.”

  12. I can’t make out all the Latin, but that is unmistakably a Dominican shield.

    Therefore, the whole thing is Coolness Itself.

  13. Maureen says:

    So Condi’s nickname means “She ordered”? And as a lawyer, she’d probably know that?

    Nomen est omen. :)

  14. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Condo can mean to found and to bury, a word trick Virgil uses to great effect in the Aeneid.

    “Condi” = here “to be buried”.

  15. Mike Schulte says:

    This Is the Shield of the Order of Preachers

    In this small front-room grave, which you, the reader, see before you, are kept the bones Thomas Cardinal Cajetan de Vio, O.P. of happy memory. While alive he so benefited moral theology and the human race by all his knowledge that we are should thank God for so great a blessing and rightly offer many prayers for his soul.
    Rejecting the foolish pride of some others, he demanded to be buried in this, another man’s grave.
    He died within just twenty-nine days of his sixty-fifth year in A.D. 1534.

  16. I guess it helps if you can actually see what the inscription is attached to!

  17. Do we ever get a model answer?

  18. Mike Schulte says:

    (a second try…)

    This Is the Shield of the Order of Preachers

    In this small front-room grave, which you, the reader, see before you, are kept the bones Thomas Cardinal Cajetan de Vio, O.P. of happy memory. While alive he so benefited the human race with all his moral behavior and far-reaching knowledge that we are should thank God for such a great a blessing and rightly offer many prayers for his soul.
    Rejecting the foolish pride of some others, he insisted on being buried in this grave.
    He died within just twenty-nine days of his sixty-fifth year in A.D. 1534.