Today is the birthday of Rome!
Today Rome was (traditionally) founded in 753 BC.
“But Father! But Father!”, I am sure you are about to muse, skeptically. “How could we possibly know that date so exactly? After all, the records aren’t really very helpful, are they””
Peace, O doubters.
Of course the records are sketchy. But once upon a time an Augustinian friar worked all of this out.
I introduce to you the very late Onofrio Panvinio.
In the grand Church of St. Augustine in Rome, not far from the P.za Navonna, the attentive visitor will notice and read the inscription on the tomb of along the right hand wall of the right nave as you face the main altar.
Perhaps when you visit that great church to pray at the tomb of St. Monnica, Augustine’s mother, and to see the Caravaggio and the fresco by Raphael, you will visit the tomb of Onofrio Panvinio (1529 Verona – 1568 Palermo), admire his stony countenance captured in cold marble, and say a prayer for the repose of his soul.
Onofrio was an Augustinian and great scholar. He is the author of such page turners as the 1557 work Fasti et triumphi Rom. a Romulo rege vsque ad Carolum V. Caes. Aug.:Sive epitome regum, consulum, dictatorum, magistror. equitum, tribunorum militum consulari potestate, censorum, impp. & aliorum magistratuum Roman. cum orientalium tum occidentalium, ex antiquitatum monumentis maxima cum fide ac diligentia desumpta. A ripping yarn!
This is the fellow who worked out the date of the founding of Rome, the dates we often see with the abbreviation A.U.C. (Ab Urbe Condita). As you know that condita comes from condo condere cOnditum and not condio condire condItum. If not, we would be saying “From the (year) the City was pickled” rather than “From the (year) the City was founded”. Yep, in Latin it is good to get the accents right.
Here is his monument inscription. Go ahead and take a crack at it!
F. ONVPHRIO PANVINIO VERONENSI
VIRO AD OMNES ET ROMANAS
ET ECCLESIASTICAS ANTIQVITATES
E TENEBRIS ERVENDAS NATO
QVI ALEXANDR FARN. CARD. VICECAN.
IN SICILIAM PROSEQVVTUS ALIENISSIMO
ET SIBI ET HISTORIÆ TEMPORE
PANORMI OBIIT XVIII KAL. APR. MDLXVIII
PRÆCLARIS MVLTIS ET PERFECTIS
ET INCHOATIS INDVSTRIÆ SVÆ
MONVMENTIS RELICTIS VIX. ANN. XXXIX.
AMICI HONORIS CAVSSA POSVERUNT.
Click for a larger image.
So… Buon Compleanno Roma!
And thanks, Onofrio!