[Bell Historians] Gloucester

John Camp camp at 8p4aeKAhCg6w4Hu4oaElC3aNDyMcLp9G2OVFnvoFNfk4NmZtP_ueNYHHJmm-0-iOBBiWixyRraDI0x-Vaw.yahoo.invalid
Sun Apr 15 15:06:57 BST 2007

At 08:53 on 13 April 2007, Humpers wrote:

> It bears an inscription in Latin - Celis Nomen Gabrielis - but reads
> in reverse as it was cast back to front.

> Cathedral press officer, the Reverend Geoff Crago, said: "It is a very
> long time since I did Latin at school.

> "I can manage Nomen Gabrielis - the name of Gabriel - but I'm not sure
> about Celis. Even an online Latin dictionary on the web couldn't help
> me with that word."

It's an alternative way of writing 'caelis' or 'coelis' and therefore
means 'in heaven' or 'heavenly'. So '[My] name is [the name of] of
Gabriel in Heaven'.*

It's not classical Latin, though. 'Caelum' is neuter singular in
classical Latin and (as far as I can check) not used in the plural. In
the 'Te Deum' (written well after classical times, though no-one seems
at all sure when), we get 'Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae
tuae' ['Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory'], which
suggests that the word was by then used in the plural. This fits with
'celis' or 'caelis/coelis' in the bell inscription. ('Caeli' also
suggests that it was treated as masculine.)

*It could also be dative and mean something like '[I send] the name of
Gabriel to heaven', but we don't want to get bogged down.

Should be grateful to know if my analysis is wrong or if anyone can
propose an alternative translation of the inscription, but I can't see
one myself (unless there's a bloke called 'Celis').

John Camp


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