SATOR Square Magic

It has been a few days since my last post, mainly due to the beautiful weather we are having and the fact that I have spent so much time outside in the garden planting, weeding and fixing things. By the time I get inside and grab a beer I really haven’t had the mental resilience to sit down at the keyboard and compose anything.

Today, though, I finished my self-imposed “chores” early and managed to get some time to create a new art piece. It is based on the SATOR square and follows on from several ceramic works I made earlier in the year. I thought I had written about those pieces earlier, but it would appear that I had not.

So, I’ll start off with a brief history of the SATOR square (aka ROTAS square). This is a unique five-line text in Latin and is the ONLY palindromic sentence that can be read in any direction: left to right,right to left, down to up, up to down, and even in serpentine fashion line by line, and still have the same meaning. It is a feature of Latin that allows this word order to be acceptable.


Now, the sentence itself is a bit trite and has been assigned the meaning “The farmer, Arepo, uses a plough for his work” but the point is that it is a meaningful statement. Now to the he fun part. Back in the olden days it was thought that the devil could be confounded by palindromes since he would be unable to corrupt them by saying them backwards. The SATOR square, being palindromic in so many ways, was thought to be very strong magic and was often used as a protective symbol.


And couldn’t we all do with a  little protective magic these days?


3 thoughts on “SATOR Square Magic

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  1. I always liked magic squares, including the numerical ones. I stumbled through two years of Latin and the SATOR Square was the best (and only) lesson I recall. Thanks for jolting my memory 🙂

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