Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


I should probably explain the etymology of the word rebus and then provide a better idea of why this site is called "In Rebus".

According to A Dictionary of English Etymology
by Hensleigh Wedgwood, John Christopher Atkinson:

Rebus. A riddle where the meaning is indicated by things (Lat. rebus} represented in pictures, the syllables forming the names of the things represented having to be grouped in a different manner. Thus the picture of a fool on his knees with a horn at his mouth is to be read in Fr. fol Ó genoux trompe (tromper, to blow a horn), but read in a different manner it gives "fol age nous trompe".ŚCot. Rebuses in Heraldry are such coats as represent the name by things, as three castles for Castleton.

It's an old dictionary, but the information holds true. If I recall correctly, this use of the Latin Ablative of the word res ('thing', 'object', 'matter') dates back to the 16th century or thereabouts.

Conversely, "in rebus" refers to the medieval philosophical notion of universal ideas (universalia) being present in "things". My reasoning is that given this name this site can provide information on anything whatsoever. Which is not to say that at one point I will not make some kind of actual rebus or even a rebus generator.

Masonic Knights Templar rings' motto

I have observed that there is considerable interest regarding the looks of the Knights Templar rings. Unfortunately, my research has only extended to the Masonic Templars, who are in no way connected to the actual military order. However, having found a reference to a Latin motto I felt obliged to make a note of this design.

In hoc signo vinces - In this sign thou shall conquer.

This excerpt is taken from:
Rings for the Finger, from the Earlieast Known Times to the Present. by George F. Kunz:

In rings of the Knights Templar the design is usually a cross passed through a crown, with the motto of Constantine the Great: In hoc Signo vinces. The cross will be of black enamel (occasionally of red enamel) and the crown is gold. A special ring for this order has a Blue Lodge emblem on one shoulder and the Chapter emblem on the other, and is arranged for a diamond to be set in the centre of the bezel. On a fourteenth degree ring ( Lodge of Perfection) appears the initial Hebrew letter ( yod) of the Tetragrammaton, or Ineffable Name, now approximately sounded Yahweh. Sometimes the symbols of more than one degree appear on the ring, one example bearing those of the fourteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, thirtieth and thirty-second; this is one of the Consistory rings, as those for thirty-second degree Masons are denominated. These usually have the double eagle on the bezel.

By the way, if you have your own message you want to engrave on a ring it's very easy to do. You can even choose IN HOC SIGNO VINCES!

Now, not too long ago another phrase was suggested as a Templar motto: Veritas vos liberabit". Unfortunately, it appears to have no direct connection with the Templars.

Knights Templar Vault - Veritas vos liberabit

Knights Templar motto

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam! - Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto your name grant glory!

When I decided to see how often this phrase from Psalm 113 was used in the Middle Ages I discovered that it really was not all that popular until Berndard de Clairvaux started using in his sermons and writings. He apparently really liked this short prayer that eventually became the motto of the Knights Templar, being displayed on their black and white banner, the Bauseant.

Another Church writer who favored this phrase was Augustine. I would not be surprised if Bernard was heavily influenced by his works, but I am really don't know theology well enough to be a judge of this.

Proklean as in...?

Friday, January 25, 2008, 07:36 - Etymology and word roots, World History: Ancient, Medieval & Modern
Posted by Administrator
Here is another curious company name. Proklean is an Australian company that makes all sorts of cleaning products ( Why did they name themselves with a k in klean? Perhaps someone else had already registered Proclean (which is highly likely). Or could it be that they did not want to be thought of as supporters of the Proclean (after Proclus) trend in Neo-Platonism? That was, of course, my first thought upon accidentally discovering this name, because in Greek we would naturally see a K in this case, as in any other.

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