From Servius Tullius to Abrahamo Lincolnio, translation help please

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DoyleDH

Member
English USA
In 1865 a group of Roman liberals procured a stone from the agger of Servius Tullius, 6th king of Rome, and inscribed the following:
ABRAHAMO LINCOLNIO

REGION FOEDERAT AMERIC PRAESIDI II

HVNC EX SERVI TULLI AGGERE LAPIDEM

OVO VTRIVSOVE

LIBERTATIS ADSERTORIS FORTISS

MEMORIA CONIVNCATVR

CIVES ROMANI

D.

A. MDCCCLXV

The translation given this, also inscribed in stone at the Lincoln tomb is: “To Abraham Lincoln, President for the second time of the American Republic, citizens of Rome present this stone from the wall of Servius Tullius by which the memory of each of those brave advocates of liberty may be associated.”

The attached photos show the text for both; I hope they are readable.

I would like a second opinion on the accuracy of this translation and suggestions for a more accurate one, if you please. The back story on this is that for the past 150+ years the accepted narrative of this gift has been that the Romans were honoring Lincoln's second election as president, not memorializing his assassination and that it was sent to Lincoln, not his successor. I have supporting evidence for the latter view, but I want to understand better how the translation might have thrown people off the more likely explanation of the Romans' purpose in sending this tribute.





 

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  • Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    ABRAHAMO LINCOLNIO

    REGION FOEDERAT AMERIC PRAESIDI II

    HVNC EX SERVI TULLI AGGERE LAPIDEM

    QVO VTRIVSQVE

    LIBERTATIS ADSERTORIS FORTISS

    MEMORIA CONIVNGATVR

    CIVES ROMANI

    D.

    A. MDCCCLXV


    A couple corrections, if I may.

    As for the translation, I'll defer to other more knowledgeable colleagues.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    saluete omnes!

    There are clearly some abbreviations, and to judge by the photos, I think also epigraphic errors here.

    I read:

    ABRAHAMO LINCOLNIO

    REGION[VM] FOEDERAT[ARVM] AMERIC[AE] PRAESID[ENT]I II

    HVNC EX SERVI TULLI AGGERE LAPIDEM

    QVO VTRIVSQVE

    LIBERTATIS ADSERTORIS FORTISS[IMI]

    MEMORIA CONIVNCATVR

    CIVES ROMANI

    D[EDICAVERVNT].

    A[NNO] MDCCCLXV
    As for the translation:
    To Abraham Lincoln, President for the second time of the United States of America, the citizens of Rome dedicate this stone from the wall of Servius Tullius, by which the memory of each of those brave advocates of liberty may be associated. AD 1865.

    There may reside some doubt about dedicauerunt or dederunt. ('dedicated' or 'gave').

    Σ

    Edited afterthought: I would love to know of the historical circumstances that gave rise to this.
     
    Last edited:

    DoyleDH

    Member
    English USA
    whatever it says on the web, long ago the story of this tribute to Lincoln got way off track. I’m trying to correct the current negative and set the story within the history of Papal Rome and the Risorgimento
     

    DoyleDH

    Member
    English USA
    What I meant to say below is that I am writing an article whose aim is partly to correct the current narrative and to explain the origin and meaning of this tribute. In brief: The tablet was lifted from the wall, inscribed, and shipped to the US by a group of Roman liberals, members of the National Roman Committee, opposed to the papal government and in favor of the new Italian state, which had already claimed Rome as its capital. The prevailing narrative, based on nothing but a misreading of the inscription, has them sending this to honor Lincoln's re-election and excusing Andrew Johnson for not honoring the gift. I now have good evidence the tablet was intended to commemorate Lincoln's assassination and draw attention to the Roman struggle for freedom by linking Lincoln and Servius as martyrs to liberty and emancipation. It has been a challenge to get at what happened. We shall see if my efforts do anything to dislodge a very stubborn legend that has persisted in print and now online.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    saluete omnes!
    I now have good evidence the tablet was intended to commemorate Lincoln's assassination
    This I find puzzling. Not because I am or ever have been an adherent of the communis opinio which DoyleDH now wishes to challenge, but because nothing in the text offers any indication that it was formulated in the knowledge that Lincoln was already dead. One might (for example) have expected something like Dis Manibus or in Memoriam. For what it is worth, it would have taken a good many weeks for news of Lincoln's assassination in April 1865 to reach Rome, and a few more for the idea (and its execution) of this commemorative inscription to be formulated, and the stone to be sent to Washington.
    Σ
     

    DoyleDH

    Member
    English USA
    saluete omnes!

    This I find puzzling. Not because I am or ever have been an adherent of the communis opinio which DoyleDH now wishes to challenge, but because nothing in the text offers any indication that it was formulated in the knowledge that Lincoln was already dead. One might (for example) have expected something like Dis Manibus or in Memoriam. For what it is worth, it would have taken a good many weeks for news of Lincoln's assassination in April 1865 to reach Rome, and a few more for the idea (and its execution) of this commemorative inscription to be formulated, and the stone to be sent to Washington.
    Σ
    News of the assassination came to Europe on April 26. The tablet was acquired, inscribed, and shipped by August 4, but a bad storm at sea left it stranded for months in Bermuda. From there to NYC, overland to DC, then it lay in a coal room in the White House for months. It then became politicized. Republicans accused Johnson of disgracing the memory of Lincoln, nevermind Servius. A counter-narrative had the tablet addressed to Lincoln and arriving before the assassination. That narrative stuck and continues to, even after 1912 when one of the Romans, now in his dotage, reported the facts along with an eloquent address that had gotten separated from the tablet and made it clear this was to honor two martyrs to liberty (and express the Romans' desire for same). Educated people in the US would have been familiar with the horrific circumstances of Serivus's death and it ought to have occurred to one of them how indelicate it would have been to suggest the two men had parallel lives.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Sirs, Mesdames

    I remain mystified. The first transatlantic cable was established in 1858, but broke up, and it was not until 1866 that a reliable telegraph-wire was established.

    How then could news of the assassination have reached Europe in April 1865?

    Σ
     

    DoyleDH

    Member
    English USA
    Sirs, Mesdames

    I remain mystified. The first transatlantic cable was established in 1858, but broke up, and it was not until 1866 that a reliable telegraph-wire was established.

    How then could news of the assassination have reached Europe in April 1865?

    Σ
    The transatlantic cable was not completed and in reliable use until the summer of 1866. The news traveled by steamship from Halifax to Ireland in 11 days and then flashed by telegraph overland.
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Hi Doyle! These are 3 pages from the 7th volume of "Cronache della guerra d'Italia" Rieti, 1866 I found on Google books. They contain a copy of the message the Comitato Nazionale addressed to Johnson to accompany the gift of the stone. Maybe you were already aware of it, it that case never mind my intrusion. Otherwise you might find it interesting.
     

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    DoyleDH

    Member
    English USA
    Hi Doyle! These are 3 pages from the 7th volume of "Cronache della guerra d'Italia" Rieti, 1866 I found on Google books. They contain a copy of the message the Comitato Nazionale addressed to Johnson to accompany the gift of the stone. Maybe you were already aware of it, it that case never mind my intrusion. Otherwise you might find it interesting.
    You are wonderful! Thank you. I have been looking for this, but in the wrong place. Yes, news of the tablet and the address the Comittee intended to go with it was publicized in Europe and in the US. But the connection became lost and the false narrative of the tablet took hold, despite efforts by the Committee to contact the US via the Italian legation in Washington and the account that surfaced in 1912.
    I appreciate your find very much.
     
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