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The number of these abbreviations is very great. The following are a few of them :
A. B. V.C. Ab urbe condita.
A. A. A.F.F. According to one interpretation, Ære, argento, auro, flavo, feriunto : according to another, that of Ainsworth, Auro, argento, ære, flando feriundo.
A. A. L. M. Apud agrum locum monumenti.
A. F. P. R. Actum fide publica Rutilii. Cicero playfully puts the following interpretation on it : Æmilius fecit, plectitur Rutilius.
C. P. Censor perpetuus.
D. Divus. D.D. Deo dicavit, seu dedicaverunt; Dono dedit; Deo domestico. D. M. Diis manibus ; Divæ memoriæ ; Deo maxi
Sometimes with S after it, meaning Sacrum. D.I. M. Diis inferis maledictis. B. M. P. Bene merenti posuit. P.P. Posuerunt. P. C. Ponendum curavit. H.M.H.S. Hoc monumentum hæredes sequuntur. H. S. V. F. M. Hoc sibi vivens fieri mandavit. H. M. P. Hoc monumentum posuit.
H. B. M. F. C. Hæres bene merenti faciendum curavit.
I.T.C. Intra tempus constitutum.
III.V. Triumvir. IIII.V. Quartumvir. X.V. Decemvir.
I. O. M. I. Jovi optimo maximo immortali.
To express the word Mulier, they reverse the M, and to express Mulier bona, they write M. B. This abbreviation has given rise to an absurd proverb, Mulier bona mala bestia.
N. F. N. Nobili familia natus.
The following is very complicated, and only partly given in the ordinary list: R. R. R. T. S. D. D. R. R. R. F. F. F. F. Romulo regnante Roma triumphante sybilla Delphica dicit regnum Romæ ruet
flamma, ferro, fame, frigore. The device of the Greek emperors was B. B. B. B. to denote Βασιλεύς βασιλέων βασιλεύων βασιλεύσι, i. e. King of kings reigning over kings.
The same emperors also adopted this cipher XK, on their public instruments, signifying Xgrotos, Christ.
The Latin letters XPS, often found in inscriptions, ought to be the Greek letters XPE.
The Greeks had a proverb, Τριά κάππα κάκιστα, the Cappadocians, the Cretans, the Cilicians, three wicked nations beginning with the Greek letter corresponding with C.
The Romans bore on their standards, S.P.Q.R. meaning, Senatus Populusque Romanus. This has been adopted by certain religionists to express the following: Serva populum quem redemisti. An Italian on entering Rome applied it: Sono poltroni questi Romani. The Protestants of Germany gave it: Sublato papa quietum regnum. The Catholics: Salus papæ quies regni. A wit seeing it inscribed on the chamber wall of a pope newly created, put this question to him: Sancte pater quare rides? The jocular head of the church answered by turning the letters the contrary way: Rideo quia papa
L. L. L. M. M. Libertis libertabus locum monumenti mandavit.
PA. PA. Pater patriæ. A pope having adopted this title, causing it to be written in large letters, it was construed two ways : Poculum aureum Petri Apostoli ; or, Petri apostoli potestatem accepit.
MORS. Mordens omnia rostro suo ; or, Mutans omnes res sepultas. Two words have also been given to each letter: M. Mutatio mirabilis ; 0. Omnimoda oblivio; R. Repentina ruina. S. Separatio sempiterna.
When physicians were sworn in, on passing to their doctor's degrees at Montpelier, in the middle ages, the professor gave them this solemn injunction, Vade et occide CAIM, meaning that they were to try their “prentice hands” on Carmelites, Augustines, Jacobins, and Minorites.
The last compendium seems to have been a copious source of this kind of wit. A monk passing along the road, heard some people saying to one another as they were looking at him, — Beatæ urbes ubi non habitat CAIM: he immediately answered, Beatissimæ ubi non habitat FEL; meaning Faber, Erasmus, and Luther, considered as heresiarchs at that time.
Purpuream vomit ille animam.
There are three epitaphs in Aulus Gellius, which he inserts on account of their superior elegance and beauty : each of them written by the poets to whom they apply, for the purpose of being inscribed on the tombs they had provided while living. The first is that of Nævius, full of insolence and arrogance :
Mortalis immortalis flere si foret fas :
That of Pacuvius is a contrast to it, in point of modesty, and has a remarkable portion of dignified elegance :
Adolescens, tamen etsi properas, hoc te saxum rogat,
I place this second in relief to the other, though the author places it last. The third is that of Plautus :
Postquam morte datu'st Plautus, comoedia luget ;
An epitaph written in the year 1506, is perhaps too epigrammatic, but has some eloquence:
Mors juvenem ferit atque senem discrimine magno,
Nempe ferit juvenem retro, sed ante senem.
Ambiguous epitaphs are sometimes the vehicles of satire; as in the following short one, on a rich and powerful nobleman :
Hic jacet vir amplissimus.
Another on a hard drinker :
Hic jacet Amphora vini.
Epitaph on a physician named Sylvius :
Sylvius hic situs est gratis qui nil dedit unquam,
Mortuus et gratis quod legis ista dolet.
One of the great Erasmus's enemies made a spiteful but witless couplet on him, with a plen