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Saturday, 13 January 2007

Cardinal Bacci

Talking of inscriptions, (and while I am at my Latin shelves), there is a blog called Antonio Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day. I will sheepishly admit that I didn't know that he wrote meditations; I only knew that he was regarded as a really superb Latinist by those whose judgement was worth hearing on the subject. But then I heard about him from Fr Reginald Foster, Rome's renowned teacher of Latin. Somehow or another, during my time in Rome, I managed to pick up a copy of his Varia Latinitatis Scripta, published by the Vatican Press in 1944. It contains Inscriptions, Orations and Letters composed by him in beautiful Latin. He was also one of the first to compile a lexicon of modern words that are difficult to render in Latin.

There is plenty of serious material in the book and he offers many good models for composing inscriptions. But I will share with you one of the items of trivia that he includes: an insciption on the side of a pipe - or, as he heads it, infumibulo incisa, ex quo nicotianum suffimentum sugitur.

DUM NICOTIANUM FUMUM
EX ME SUAVITER PER ARUNDINEM HAURIS
MOLESTIAS ARCE
OMNESQUE OBLIVISCERE CURAS
A. MDCCCCXXXVI

While you softly draw nicotine smoke from me through the reed, put away troubles and forget all cares. 1936
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