Author Topic: Translation from Latin please  (Read 3511 times)

Offline Penmon

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Translation from Latin please
« on: Wednesday 01 September 10 06:34 BST (UK) »
 I stayed at a holiday home which once belonged to my gt gt grandparents. The house was built in 1598, and there are two wooden carved signs there. One says Anno Domini 1598, and the other "T. DEVMT IMEG" Could anyone help by supplying a translation of the second one please?
Roberts, Beaumaris, Caim, Penmon
Jones, Caim, Penmon
Davies, Llanrwst, Llanarmon Yn Ial
Williams, Nant Y Rhiw, Capel Garmon
Hughes, Capel Garmon
Michell, Cwmystwyth, Mary Tavy, Devon
Jenkins, Blaenau Ffestiniog

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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 01 September 10 13:08 BST (UK) »
T. DEVMT IMEG is not Latin, in the sense that no Latin words look like that, but it may be an abbreviation or a bungling.

DEVM could be deum = God. There are numerous Latin phrases involving God which were popular at the time for filling in otherwise blank space that people felt should have some writing in it, such as Posui Deum adiutorem meum (I have placed God as my helper) and Quae Deus coniunxit nemo separet (Those which God has joined together let no-one put asunder -- obviously from the marriage service) but I can't reconcile either of these or anything similar to your text.

It might not be Latin but a collection of initials of the builder/owner, or an unclear abbreviation of their name.

If you have a picture of the offending text, could you post it?

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Offline aelf

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 01 September 10 13:41 BST (UK) »
It's a pure guess, but could the sign read TE DEUM TIMEO - "I fear thee God"?

This makes all sort of assumptions about the amount of wear on the sign and the spacing of the letters.  Without seeing the original it's not safe to rely on it.
Cannell, Cutting, Lawrence in Norfolk
Gatford anywhere
French in Devon
Kirton in Durham
Donaldson, Hunter, Mckenzie in Clackmannanshire/Stirling
Watson in Renfrewshire

Offline Penmon

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 01 September 10 17:25 BST (UK) »
Thank you both for your replies - photos below.
There is a 'dot' between the 'T' and 'D' in the first picture.
The Anno Domini has '1598' engraved at the right hand side.
The letters 'R' and 'M' appear below the Anno Domini in the left and right corners respectively. Probably the engraver's initials
Hope this of help.
Roberts, Beaumaris, Caim, Penmon
Jones, Caim, Penmon
Davies, Llanrwst, Llanarmon Yn Ial
Williams, Nant Y Rhiw, Capel Garmon
Hughes, Capel Garmon
Michell, Cwmystwyth, Mary Tavy, Devon
Jenkins, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Offline aelf

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 01 September 10 17:36 BST (UK) »
Well you can scrub my first guess.  Back to square one.

Better honestly ignorant than unjustifiably certain!

I wonderr if there is the remains of a dot between the M of DEUM and the next T.  This may be wishful thinking and doesn't help with the last part, which just isn't Latin as it stands.
Cannell, Cutting, Lawrence in Norfolk
Gatford anywhere
French in Devon
Kirton in Durham
Donaldson, Hunter, Mckenzie in Clackmannanshire/Stirling
Watson in Renfrewshire

Offline Penmon

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 01 September 10 18:03 BST (UK) »
There wasn't a significant one - close examination shows there may be a small mark similar to a dot, but it certainly didn't stand out as one no space between the letters as you can see.
Thaks for your help
Roberts, Beaumaris, Caim, Penmon
Jones, Caim, Penmon
Davies, Llanrwst, Llanarmon Yn Ial
Williams, Nant Y Rhiw, Capel Garmon
Hughes, Capel Garmon
Michell, Cwmystwyth, Mary Tavy, Devon
Jenkins, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 02 September 10 08:36 BST (UK) »
I wouldn't rule out te Deum timeo (or te Deum timemus = 'we fear...') as a possible meaning. I agree the G is definitely a G and not a damaged O (as I suspect aelf was wondering), but I wonder whether TIM is an abbreviation of timeo (just as the first T is an abbreviation of te) and the EG are the builder's/owner's initials.

In the kind of Latin mottoes I mentioned earlier, the endings are often omitted to save space, especially where space is limited (e.g. on the face of a coin). The lexical meaning of the words is conveyed by the abbreviation without too much ambiguity, and the missing grammatical information (endings) is interpreted subconsciously by the (contemporary) reader because they know what to expect.

Offline aelf

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 02 September 10 11:44 BST (UK) »
Just to spread more confusion...

The final G (yes FosseWay, I did wonder if it was a damaged O until I saw the image) is smaller than the other letters.  This may not be significant - the other image appears to show that the spacing of the letters is a bit variable, as if the carver was running out of space towards the end of the line.
However, if the smaller letter G is significant, and ifwe ignore it, as well as the T at the start of the line, we get DEUM TIME - "Fear God" - with  T and G as another possible set of initials.
Although an abbreviation is possible it is usually shown by some sign indicating a contraction, even in a case like this one.  There's no Latin word starting with TIMEG, and there are too many with TIME to avoid confusion.
There's also always the possibility suggested by my old Latin tutor when discussing the reasons for the siting a particular hillfort - it may be the person responsible was blind drunk at the time...
Cannell, Cutting, Lawrence in Norfolk
Gatford anywhere
French in Devon
Kirton in Durham
Donaldson, Hunter, Mckenzie in Clackmannanshire/Stirling
Watson in Renfrewshire

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Translation from Latin please
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 02 September 10 13:46 BST (UK) »
Yes, Deum time sounds good, too. Your memory of Latin verb endings is better than mine, aelf! Curiouser and curiouser...

On signing contractions, I agree that in handwriting and lower-case printing (e.g. in books) there tends to be a line or 'tilde' over the last printed letter, which usually represents a missing M or vowel + M. However in block capital inscriptions this can often be omitted. On the tails side of much of Elizabeth I's silver coinage is the motto posui Deum adiutorem meum, but it often appears on the smaller coins as POSVI DEV ADIUTOR MEV, with no marks over the last letters of abbreviated words to suggest anything's missing. I'd therefore suggest caution in presuming that a lack of a contraction symbol means the words aren't abbreviated.