Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Dog Latin?

The nearby village of Ameugny hosts a beautiful Romanesque church. It is one of many in this region; the abbey of Cluny has certainly left its traces in the area. The church is built of beautiful yellow stone, which has a stunning effect when the late afternoon sun shines on the church.
There is a tympanum above the church door, which may not be unique; however it is special in its own way, because the stone mason who made the tympanum has left his signature on it. On the lintel, at the bottom right hand corner, the following words are carved: “SEGVIN LAPIFEX MALEI”, which means “SEGUIN, STONE MASON FROM MALAY”. Malay is one of the many villages near here, with its own inevitable Romanesque church. I would have loved to make a picture of this signature, but my knowledge of cameras, light and photo editors was insufficient to come up with a photo showing a legible text. Fortunately one of our gîte guests has been teaching photography in the past and still is a keen photographer. He offered to help out, and he has not only taken the photos I wanted, but also made a collage of the various interesting parts of this tympanum. In the arch there is a central circle with an E carved in it. Funnily enough this E strongly resembles the Euro sign €! Around the circle four words are displayed. The whole thing must have been something like a mediaeval rebus. None of the words has an E in it. After filling in the E in the right place, the words “LX DI VRA ST” are transformed into “LEX DEI VERA EST”, which means as much as “Gods word is the truth”. The photograph attached is the collage made by Paul Geels (thanks a lot, Paul!). For those who cannot get enough of Romanesque churches, please click here to see more. The page is a first set-up of a collection of photos of churches in the area. They are ordered by post code and then alphabetically; this makes finding them on a map easier.

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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