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What is Zebedee saying?

Bert45

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On the south side of the altar there is a small statue, helpfully labelled "STA SALOME". On the north side of the altar there is a similar sized figure holding a scroll, on which I am unable to read all the letters. Since Salomé was James's mother. I am guessing that the figure represents Zebedee, James's father. On the offertory box below the figure it say "Zebedeo" which is a big clue. Can anybody tell me what is written on the scroll? 1-Camino 2014 1743.JPG

I hope nobody says, "Time for bed!"
 
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He is saying "I never knew that my son could ride a horse!"
On the south side of the altar there is a small statue, helpfully labelled "STA SALOME". On the north side of the altar there is a similar sized figure holding a scroll, on which I am unable to read all the letters. Since Salomé was James's mother. I am guessing that the figure represents Zebedee, James's father. On the offertory box below the figure it say "Zebedeo" which is a big clue. Can anybody tell me what is written on the scroll? View attachment 113933

I hope nobody says, "Time for bed!"
 

manoll

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  • Santiago El Apóstol.png
    Santiago El Apóstol.png
    2.9 MB · Views: 31

Bert45

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Found this information that you might find helpful:

https://dadun.unav.edu/bitstream/10171/38513/1/CCPAN_05. LIBRO COMPLETO.-3.pdf

Explanation can be found on the bottom of p.20 beginning the last paragraph that ends on p.21 in relation to fig. 8 (shown on p.30)

Ultreïa!
I don't get it. Figure 8 shows the Portico de la Gloria. The paragraph on P.20 refers to Figure 9 which shows Santiago on the Altar Mayor. I can see nothing that tells me what is on the scroll held by the figure in my photo. The last paragraph on p.20 ends at the bottom of p.20. A new paragraph starts at the top of p.21. Did you link to the wrong part of the document?
 
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LesR

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this may be a clearer pic of the lettering on the scroll for scholars of Latin to work on... Still looking for a translation.
2425aa%2B%25E2%2580%258EWednesday%252C%2B%25E2%2580%258ESeptember%2B%25E2%2580%258E24%252C%2B%25E2%2580%258E2014%252C%2B%25E2%2580%258F%25E2%2580%258E357%2BPM.JPG
 
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Blue Tang

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On the south side of the altar there is a small statue, helpfully labelled "STA SALOME". On the north side of the altar there is a similar sized figure holding a scroll, on which I am unable to read all the letters. Since Salomé was James's mother. I am guessing that the figure represents Zebedee, James's father. On the offertory box below the figure it say "Zebedeo" which is a big clue. Can anybody tell me what is written on the scroll?
Bert45, to my chagrin, I don't speak or read Latin, but perhaps I can help get you started. At the following link you will find this article: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA Y LA DEVOCIÓN AL APÓSTOL SANTIAGO ALFEO, LA OTRA FAZ DEL CULTO JACOBEO by José Manuel García Iglesias of the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela


Using the pagination of the article, scroll to page 231 where you will find this picture:

1638061976742.png

At page 216 of that article there is the following Spanish sentence:

Un Santiago el Menor sedente se presenta en el crucero de la catedral, en su lado norte, arrimado al pilar toral, sobre un limosnero. Está figura despliega un texto, en una cartela, que dice: «ECCE
ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTOLI»


Using various translation tools, I get the following very rough translation of the Spanish. (From your original post, I assume the word "beggar" below refers to the offertory box--or perhaps there is a beggar below the statue.)

A seated Santiago el Minor appears on the transept of the cathedral, on its north side, leaning against the main pillar, over a beggar. This figure displays a text, on a cartouche, that says: ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTOLI.

The Latin is translated as: "Behold the ark of the work of Blessed James the Apostle."

The problem I have is that I cannot tell from the article if the referenced text refers to the text shown in the above-inserted picture which is identified as "Lam. 3." Someone who reads Latin should be able to solve the puzzle.

Bueno suerte!
 

LesR

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Bert45, to my chagrin, I don't speak or read Latin, but perhaps I can help get you started. At the following link you will find this article: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA Y LA DEVOCIÓN AL APÓSTOL SANTIAGO ALFEO, LA OTRA FAZ DEL CULTO JACOBEO by José Manuel García Iglesias of the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela


Using the pagination of the article, scroll to page 231 where you will find this picture:

View attachment 114033

At page 216 of that article there is the following Spanish sentence:

Un Santiago el Menor sedente se presenta en el crucero de la catedral, en su lado norte, arrimado al pilar toral, sobre un limosnero. Está figura despliega un texto, en una cartela, que dice: «ECCE
ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTOLI»


Using various translation tools, I get the following very rough translation of the Spanish. (From your original post, I assume the word "beggar" below refers to the offertory box--or perhaps there is a beggar below the statue.)

A seated Santiago el Minor appears on the transept of the cathedral, on its north side, leaning against the main pillar, over a beggar. This figure displays a text, on a cartouche, that says: ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTOLI.

The Latin is translated as: "Behold the ark of the work of Blessed James the Apostle."

The problem I have is that I cannot tell from the article if the referenced text refers to the text shown in the above-inserted picture which is identified as "Lam. 3." Someone who reads Latin should be able to solve the puzzle.

Bueno suerte!
Following this lead, I have come across some additional information.

Firstly - some text from https://flic.kr/p/NiyRoE

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Cathedral. Santiago Alfeo.

At the entrance to the presbytery, on the other side of Salomé, is this statue of Santiago Alfeo, from the same period (14th century) and probably from the same workshop. : "Ecce arca hoperis beati Iacobi Apostoli".

Eclipsed by Santiago "el Mayor", the son of Zebedeo, we know little about his namesake, who was given the nickname of "the Lesser" or that of his father, Alfeo. Until his death he ruled the church of Jerusalem and left us the "Letter of Santiago" that is part of the NT texts. He was the brother of Judas Tadeo, and Flavio Josephus in his work "Jewish Antiquities" tells us how Ananías (or Anano) summoned to the Sanhedrin to judge him for having transgressed the law, being sentenced to death by stoning in the year 62.


Secondly, and with some significant differences, a published paper, (in Spanish) at https://www.academia.edu/34070896/_...go_de_Compostela_2017_pp_97_141?auto=download includes reference to the following:

in Santiago, we conserve a pale reflection of this new fashion of representing the
kindred of Christ. Next to the pulpits located at the entrance of the main chapel, between
the pillars of the main arches, made by Juan Bautista Celma in 1583, are found
two interesting statues:
- The first, on the side of the epistle, represents María Salomé, as indicated
the scroll that he holds in his right hand: “STA SALOME” (fig. 27).
On the left is the book with the passage from Matthew 20, 20-23, in which
he claimed a position of priority for his children. The statue is situated
on the Ark of Santiago, which bears the inscription 1527.
- The second, on the side of the gospel, has wanted to identify with Santiago
Alfeo, then, according to José Mª. Fernández Sánchez and Francisco Freire Barreiro,
his name is written on the scroll that he holds in his right hand111. No
However, the said placard reads ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI
APOSTO (LI) ("Here is the Ark of the Work of Santiago Apóstol"), by
what its attribution to James the Less is uncertain, and would rather lead
to think that it is Santiago el Mayor himself (fig. 28). In fact,
The statue is on the Ark of the Work of Santiago Apóstol, which reads the
inscription 1497. His forceful gesture, inviting his pilgrims to
that they deposit their alms there, he does not seem to have any doubts about his
identification with the Son of Zebedee.


The paper further suggests that the statue is that of St James the Greater (ie St James the disciple, rather than his father Zebedee/Zebedeo) and the base is Ark of the Work of Santiago Apóstol.

I speak no Spanish so my understanding of this paper is derived only from small snippets that Google has translated for me - a reader fluent in Spanish might get a different slant on things... I am unsure exacty what the "Ark" might be...

The phrase: ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI
APOSTO (LI) Google translates to "Here is the Ark of the Work of Santiago Apóstol"
 

Kathar1na

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I speak no Spanish so my understanding of this paper is derived only from small snippets that Google has translated for me - a reader fluent in Spanish might get a different slant on things... I am unsure exacty what the "Ark" might be..
Deepl.com is often more useful than Google Translate. In this case, below the translation windows, Deepl.com offers this for Spanish arca: chest, treasury, coffer.

Another useful tool is Wiktionary. It has these entries for Latin arca:
  1. chest, box, coffer, safe (safe place for storing items, or anything of a similar shape)
  2. coffin (box for the dead)
  3. ark (kind of ship)
 

Kathar1na

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The phrase: ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTO (LI) Google translates to "Here is the Ark of the Work of Santiago Apóstol
There are some wonderous translations for this Latin phrase on the internet. I love “ark of hope of the Apostle Santiago” 😉 which I saw in one long text about the interior of the Cathedral.

I was a bit puzzled by the ‘h’ in hoperis. My guess was that this term is the same as operis, a grammatical form of the Latin word opus, and a quick look on Google confirmed it. Opus has many meanings, in this case it means good work or good deed. Ecce is the word that you may know from the well-known phrase Ecce homo. There is a small Ecce Homo chapel on the Camino Francés just after Astorga.

So the text wants to draw the pilgrim’s attention to the alms box below the statue: Look at the alms box of the Apostle Saint James! (and put money into it)
 
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Bert45

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I am SO grateful to all the contributors to my quest. I now know what the scroll says in Latin, and I have a good idea of what it means. I am not sure that anything can be relied on (except death and taxes), especially on the internet. Once I see two interpretations of a "fact", I find it often difficult to prove that one of them is wrong. I had assumed that the figure holding the scroll is Zebedee, the father of St James (the Great) -- Santiago. This seems likely as his mother, Salome, is portrayed on the other side of the altar, and the offertory box has the word 'Zebedeo' painted on it. But perhaps the painter of 'Zebedeo' made the same assumption that I did, because Salome was on the other side. In a way, it is understandable that Zebedee, proud of what his son, James, had achieved should hold a scroll saying "Look a the ark of the work of the Blessed Apostle Jacob." A bit like what it written in St Paul's, above Wren's tomb and on the floor, under the dome, "Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice." I suggest, in this case, that the ark being referred to is the Cathedral itself. Surely nobody is going to say "Behold! Look at this offertory box!" I find it hard to believe that the figure is that of Santiago Alfeo (James the Less). Was there any connection between the two disciples apart from their name? But, if the figure is Zebedee, would the scroll not have the latin word for "son" (filius) on it? "Look at what my son has achieved." I suggest that the figure represents Santiago himself. It may seem that he is being a bit boastful, blowing his own trumpet, to say "Look at the ark of my work, this Cathedral", but remember, these are not the words of Santiago, but of the maker of the figure, who thought it necessary to identify the figure with the scroll. In this I am agreeing with the writer of "and would rather lead to think that it is Santiago el Mayor himself " (above). I wonder why the offertory boxes need to be identified, unless the Cathedral keeps a tally of who gets the most donations. These figures are probably not where they were originally, so the downward pointing finger may not have been pointing to an offertory box.
Lastly, 'limosnera', reminds me of something I read about Granada. A blind beggar said, "Dale limosna, mujer, que no hay en la vida nada como la pena de ser ciego en Granada”. 😢
 
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Kathar1na

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José Fernández Lago who is currently the Dean of the Santiago Cathedral wrote an article about the biblical figures in the cathedral. One paragraph deals with this statue which he labels as Santiago de Alfeo and Santiago el Menor. The offertory box at the foot of the statue dates from the 14th century (may also be the date of creation of the statue, not clear to me). Unknown artist. He writes that the statue is inspired by the statue of the sitting Saint James in the Portico de la Gloria. With his right hand, he says, this apostle points to the piggy bank (muestra la hucha). With his left hand, he holds the card (cartela) that says Ecce arca Hoperis Beati Iacobi Apostoli. That's all he says about the statue. He doesn't even mention the word Zebedeo that someone wrote on the box. It can be best ignored. It sounds as if the statue is not Romanesque.

But luckily, with art, even religious art, we can believe it to be anything we want. ☺️

And the art of translation ... I had given a literal translation so that people can see what each Latin word means. How would I translate medieval church Latin Ecce arca Hoperis Beati Iacobi Apostoli into modern language in this context? Like this:

Offertory box.jpg
 
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And the art of translation ... I had given a literal translation so that people can see what each Latin word means. How would I translate medieval church Latin Ecce arca Hoperis Beati Iacobi Apostoli into modern language in this context? Like this:
Brilliant.
And it rings much more true than abstruse biblical interpretations.
 

Kathar1na

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And it rings much more true than abstruse biblical interpretations.
The real stories are often more fascinating than the myths and legends and free associations. The popularity of saints in the Middle Ages rose and waned. The cult (in the sense of devotion) of James the Younger (my preferred moniker) was more wide-spread and important to the faithful then than it was later. The various Jameses of the New Testament - James the Greater who is 'our' Santiago, James the Less who is the one associated with this statue, and the author of the Epistle of James - often got mixed up, and the distinction that we make today between these three personalities wasn't important to the faithful or not even known to them.
 

Kathar1na

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I had a look at the link that @Blue Tang had provided:
https://dadun.unav.edu/bitstream/10171/20264/1/GarciaIglesias.pdf

The Spanish of the text is difficult for me but this much I could figure out (p.217 and 218): The statue of this apostle James of Alfeo was moved around in the Cathedral. Santiago Alfeo was popular with medieval pilgrims. The Cathedral had a major relic - his skull. I think it might have been on display, unlike the bones of Santiago himself who were always kept out of sight and out of touch.

It sounds as if the text on the statue was originally different from what it is now, and an abbot (I can't even figure out from the Spanish text what his name was) then decided "that they write on the statue of Santiago Alfeo in the customary place in thick letters that can been read from far (? de luene leer ?) the following words: ecce arca operis bti Iacobi Apostoli.

And that is not merely on the internet. That's in scholarly studies based on reading original documents from the archive of the Cathedral of Santiago of which there are many. Unfortunately, most of these studies never make it into English.

Come to think of it: Both Jameses were apostles. So Iacobi Apostoli refers to which one?
 
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Kathar1na

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I had wondered how it could be possible that the initial inscription had been different from the current text. I guess it is doable: You smooth the surface of the stone and chisel new letters into it?
 

nathanael

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On the south side of the altar there is a small statue, helpfully labelled "STA SALOME". On the north side of the altar there is a similar sized figure holding a scroll, on which I am unable to read all the letters. Since Salomé was James's mother. I am guessing that the figure represents Zebedee, James's father. On the offertory box below the figure it say "Zebedeo" which is a big clue. Can anybody tell me what is written on the scroll? View attachment 113933

I hope nobody says, "Time for bed!"
of interest yet don't see any explanation. Of interest there is a Church rarely open that is dedicated to St James mother in Santiago. I had the opportunity to enter it once there was a baptism going on ; the church is very beautiful and the statue of St. Salome and other saints real clothes which seems to be a tradition in Latin countries.
 

Kathar1na

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There is a Church rarely open that is dedicated to St James mother in Santiago.
Interesting! I didn't know that.

When I tried to know more about the devotion to Santa Salomé or Santa Maria Salomé, especially in the Middle Ages, I learnt that in all of Germany, there is only one known chapel that is dedicated to her devotion.

It would be even harder to find a church or chapel dedicated to the devotion of Zebedee. He is not even a Catholic saint.

That's another factor that speaks for the fact that the two statues placed opposite each other in such a prominent place in the Cathedral of Santiago are Saint Mary Salomé and Saint James the Less (son of Alphaeus): A saint on each side - nice symmetry! And both are often described as followers of Jesus, in reference to Mark 15:40-45.

But what matters is not how we see them. What matters is how the people at the time saw them.
 

Bert45

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"Interesting! I didn't know that." -- You do surprise me, Kathar1na. The church is near the market. I found it open in November 2016 and I was able to take several photos. In the porch there is a rare figure of Mary feeding the Baby Jesus on the keystone of the arch over the door. I fell off that porch as I backed away trying to get what I wanted in the viewfinder. Luckily, two people passing by prevented me hitting the deck.
 
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I found a high resolution image and retraced the letters. I would never have guessed that these letters say: ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTI (I think the last word is abbreviated). Would you have guessed it?

View attachment 114121
I am confused by the use of U for T; I can come up with reasons for the strange looks for the other characters though. I'm assuming that the stone cutter used a paper version handwritten by a priest as the source for cutting. So some transfiguration from thought to paper to stone would happen but a T to a U? In classical Latin there was a T and a U would be carved as a V.

Anyone know anything about this? I will accept wild speculation too if labeled as such.
 

Kathar1na

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Anyone know anything about this? I will accept wild speculation too if labeled as such.
😂

I have absolutely no idea. The high resolution photo that I had used is labelled as santiago-alfeo-1393-pilar-izquierdo-tapa-cierre-alcalde-ubicacion-interior-de-la-catedral-santiago-de-compostela-la-coruna-espana-image211207151. And since you are willing to accept wild speculation, I will wildly speculate that 1393 is a year and that this font is dated 14th century or later and that this font was used in and around Santiago de Compostela at the time. Font as in typeface, not font as in receptacle in churches.
 
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David Tallan

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I found a high resolution image and retraced the letters. I would never have guessed that these letters say: ECCE ARCA HOPERIS BEATI IACOBI APOSTI (I think the last word is abbreviated). Would you have guessed it?

View attachment 114121
Would I have guessed it? Perhaps not entirely. Once I know what it says, I can easily read it from the image. It helps that I spent a long time a while ago studying medieval calligraphy. Your tracing is only partial and doesn't include lines that I can see, perhaps because I know that they would be there, like the horizontal line across the top of the A in ARCA.
 

Kathar1na

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I have long given up trying to decipher Latin inscriptions chiseled in stone, not even when it is proper Latin from the Romans, other than the odd word here and there. If someone can transcribe it for me, gladly with their fantasy abbreviations written out in full, then I am happy to tackle the translation.

When I had a first look at it, I thought the first word could be eius. Turns out that it's ecce. Also, it doesn't help that there are no rules about where a word ends or starts and that the concept of syllables seems to be unknown when you reach the end of a line and a hyphen would come in handy.
 

Bert45

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I asked a learned friend of mine to take a look at this thread. [He is learned in Latin and Greek and is teaching himself Egyptian hieroglyphics.] One of his comments: "I've never seen opus with an h, but there's always a first time, and intrusive H's are not only the hypercorrective province of Cockney speakers, but go way back." Another: "Those T's are just rather mannered." If you look VERY carefully you can see (or imagine that you can see) a vertical line with a diamond mark in the middle after the final I of IACOBI. I take this to be some sort of punctuation mark. He believes the last line to be OSTL, i.e (AP)OSTOL abbreviated.
 
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David Tallan

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I asked a learned friend of mine to take a look at this thread. [He is learned in Latin and Greek and is teaching himself Egyptian hieroglyphics.] One of his comments: "I've never seen opus with an h, but there's always a first time, and intrusive H's are not only the hypercorrective province of Cockney speakers, but go way back." Another: "Those T's are just rather mannered." If you look VERY carefully you can see (or imagine that you can see) a vertical line with a diamond mark in the middle after the final I of IACOBI. I take this to be some sort of punctuation mark. He believes the last line to be OSTL, i.e (AP)OSTOL abbreviated.
The AP is on the previous line at the end. The lines break in the middle of words. There was a medieval T that instead of having a vertical descended had a very curved one. I can imagine one looking almost like a U. The horizontal line at the top is so faint as to perhaps require some imagination to see. Other letters are difficult to decipher if one isn't aware of medieval calligraphic practices, like using a vertical like (often curved) to close the Cs and Es that we leave open, as we see in the ECCE.
 

Kathar1na

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I've never seen opus with an h
Neither have I, so I researched it. Hopus appears in Medieval Latin texts and can be found in dictionaries for Medieval Latin. Hopus instead of Classical Latin opus even appears in the Codex Calixtinus, Book II, Miracles. I found it twice, and that's just the nominative form. ☺️

I've learnt in the meantime that hopus instead of opus and orror instead of horror points to Medieval Latin texts with origin on the Iberian Peninsula. How do we know? When these texts were copied elsewhere, the writer dropped the h and/or put it back in again in their copy.

Isn't it amazing what one can get out of one question? 😎
 

Kathar1na

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There was a medieval T that instead of having a vertical descended had a very curved one. I can imagine one looking almost like a U.
I remember having seen capital T‘s in the manner you describe. And now that you pointed it out I also see the vertical line across the top of the capital A’s. I’m going to edit my post. I will like it better ☺️.
 
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Kathar1na

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Another thing I’m no longer happy with is the ‘good’ in ‘good works’. Opus denotes the ongoing building works in the given context. Medieval pilgrims were exhorted in various foreign languages to donate at the altar and at the donation box. Their donations were supervised by Cathedral staff. One of them was the arqueiro or arqueyro - the donation box [arca] guy.

There had been a quarrel among staff and clerics about how the donations were used or distributed; some of the donations went to the workers/builders. Pilgrims had been confused and had left gifts at the box while they were meant for the donations at the altar or vice versa. The Archbishop named an abbot as judge who made the decision about the inscription on the statue to clarify what’s what. He made this decision on 17 December 1393. So this would explain the need for and purpose of the inscription. Neat, isn’t it?

Edited to add: For original quotes about the arqueiro and these procedures and processes, as described in Libro de las Constituciones from the Archives of the Cathedral, see footnotes 19 and 20 here. The footnotes are very clear, and this shows again how important it is to have context when translating a single sentence or a single word. You need to be familiar with the foreign culture or the ancient culture to correctly or fully understand their words.
 
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Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Kathar1na,
Indeed context is so important. 50+ years ago in graduate school I attended courses by the great art/architecture historian Meyer Schapiro. His erudite lectures focused on not only what was made, built or painted but by whom, why and how.
 
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Bert45

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
There is a famous exchange between a judge and a barrister (F E Smith), after the barrister had given a long and complicated explanation of something or other.

Judge: I've listened to you for an hour and I'm none the wiser.
Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, my lord, but certainly better informed.
(There are other versions of the exchange. What can you believe?)

I can sympathise with the judge.

 

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