A 16th century German ‘oath skull’ engraved with the ‘magical’ Roman ‘Sator square’

Margie Jones
07/09/2023

A 16th century German ‘oath skull’ (a human skull on which defendants swore their oath in Vehmic courts) engraved with the ‘magical’ Roman ‘Sator square’, mysterious palindromic word-squares found across the Roman world, comprising the words SATOR, AREPO, TENET, OPERA, ROTAS

A 16th century German 'oath skull' (a human skull on which defendants swore  their oath in Vehmic courts) engraved with the 'magical' Roman 'Sator square',  mysterious palindromic word-squares found across the Roman

The Sator square is a type of word-square that was found across the Roman world. It consists of five words arranged in a palindromic manner, forming a square shape. The words are SATOR, AREPO, TENET, OPERA, and ROTAS. This arrangement creates an intriguing puzzle-like pattern that has captivated scholars and enthusiasts for centuries.

Gareth Harney on X: "A 16th century German 'oath skull' (a human skull on  which defendants swore their oath in Vehmic courts) - engraved with the  'magical' Roman 'Sator square', mysterious palindromic

This is a 16th century German so-called 'oath skull' on which defendants  swore their oath in Vehmic courts. It is engraved with the Roman 'Sator  square', a five-line palindrome, rendered in Latin,

The meaning behind these words remains enigmatic and subject to interpretation. Some believe they hold magical or religious significance due to their palindrome structure and inclusion in various ancient texts. Others suggest they might have been used as mnemonic devices or simply served decorative purposes.

An oath skull, German, 16th - 17th century Human skull missing the upper  and lower jaw. Dark patination with traces of use. The top of the skull  shows five engraved bar-crosses within

Regardless of their true purpose, the combination of the oath skull with the engraved Sator square creates an aura of mystery around this artifact. It serves as a tangible link to both medieval German legal practices and ancient Roman word puzzles—a testament to the rich cultural tapestry woven throughout history.

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