12 May 2021

Saldum est cor Virginis

Tomorrow, in provinces and dioceses where some members of the hierarchy can count, is, of course, Ascension Day. But the following might be of use to you lucky people where the arithmetical skills of the hierarchs ... holy pontiffs ... do not reach quite as far as 40: because, tomorrow, you might be celebrating our Lady of Fatima. Indeed, such appears to be the expectation of whoever put together this year's List of Marian Shrines, to assist our prayers for the end of the Pandemic.

Why do I write a blog? An old post I reread recently reminded me why. I had written about a detail in the Office of Readings in the Liturgia Horarum on the memoria of our Lady of Fatima. I had wondered about the word at the start of the Responsory after the Patristic Reading (itself a passage from S Ephraim illustrating a mot of Eric Mascall: whenever Rome wants to say something really 'extreme' about Mary she has to raid Eastern sources). Saldum est cor Virginis: ad angeli nuntium concepit mysterium divinum ...etc. I did not know saldum as a Classical Latin word. I knew, of course, that Italian saldo means 'firm'; Danteists will know that Dante once used saldo to qualify cor, but not in a Marian context. Was saldum Late Latin? Was this responsory itself a quotation from a source which uses the word? Or did an Italophone in CDW intend to write 'solidum' but have his native tongue too much in mind? Or was this another typo?

Writing a blog enables me to access information! The thread provided me with just the information I sought. You will find it repeated below. Thank God for erudite readers! Meanwhile, do remember that her Immaculate Heart will prevail.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us, that your ascended Son and God may grant us many favours at your hands..


Figulus said...

Hello Father,

Thanks for the information about Saldum. I too could not help but notice this unfamiliar word, strangely absent even from my Ecclesiastical dictionaries, when I prayed matins last night. Unlike you, I did not know the Italian word Saldo.

Looking at the source of the lesson, I suspect that this italianism was not the work of some CDW editor deceived by his native tongue. The source of the text is the monumental 18th century translation from the Syriac by Benedictus Petrus Mobarak and Stephanus Evodius Assemani. These gentlemen were native speakers of Aramaic who dwelt in Rome. Their publication (6 folio volumes) introduced the thought of St. Ephraem to the West. It seems plausible to me that one of them may indeed have been deceived by the similarities in his two adoptive languages, Latin and Roman.

If such is the case, I can sympathize with a CDW editor who might be reluctant to tamper with such a classic work, even where it seems solecistic. That would be especially true were he to lack familiarity with Syriac, and could not correct the solecism by glancing at the Syriac column across the page.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

A discussion on this site suggests Saldum is a typo, and the correct word should be saludum.

However, that is disputed by others, one of whom offers the following:
"I went to a library and found "Glossarium [ad scriptores] Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis," by Charles Dufresne du Cange, printed at Paris, France in 1846. This has some seven or eight volumes. Some libraries have a microfiche of this.

I did find the adjective word "SALDUS" in volume 6. There are two different definitions: (1) Integer, Solidus; (2) Palustris, Paludosus. I think (1) seems to be OK since that means "dense, firm, whole, entire, complete." (2) is "marshy or boggy."

I could not find any word matching "SALUDUS." The word "SOLIDUS" however, does have an alternate spelling "SOLDUS." "

Lepanto said...

'Her Immaculate Heart will triumph' - and very soon I hope. Thank you for the reminder of this comforting assurance.

Pastor in Monte said...

Latham's Revised Mediæval Word List has "sald-, see saldanus; 2 solidus
It doesn't have an entry for saldanus.

Anonymous said...

This is only relevant in terms of the general topic of your blog and may not be worthy of publication as a comment, but I came across an article recently that I thought might be of interest. Entitled "The First Roman Fonts" it is really about an aspect of the history of typography, but since early printing was mostly under ecclesiastical control, it contains fascinating material about the first printed liturgical books and some of the monastic pioneers of the craft. You can find it on the following link:


(cut paste the whole line into the address bar of your browser)

Benjamin Ekman said...

A priest of my acquaintance wrote to Rome about this issue and got the following response:

""3. Warum gibt es in Liturgia horarum. Textus inserendi, 2005, S. 16, eine (fragwürdige) lateinische Wiederübersetzung einer offenbar italienische Version des klassischen Responsorium Confirmatum est cor Virginis (Corpus antiphonalium officii, ed. Hesbert, n. 6314 = Breviarium Romanum, In Circumcisione Domini 1. Januar, nach die fünfte Lesung). Ein Adjektiv saldus (ital. saldo) gibt es im Lateinischen nicht (wenn nicht vielleicht einmal in Du Cange belegt)?"

kann ich Ihnen nur folgende Antwort mitteilen: das Responsorium wurde von einen Mitarbeiter erarbeitet, der nun im Ruhestand ist. Wahrscheinlich hat er die alte bekannte Form "Confirmatum est cor Virginis" als Vorlage benutzt, und diese auf die konkrete Situation der Mutter Gottes von Fatima angeglichen, für die diese Antiphon erstellt wurde. Mehr wissen wir darüber auch nicht."

Ruhestand, that explains it!