Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, Rotas · Passion For Italy Travel

The Ancient Magic Square.

The church of San Pietro ad Oratorium is in the municipality of Capestrano about 40 km from L’Aquila. Left of the main portal there is a stone, a relic of the ancient 9th-century construction, inserted into the walls upside down. It contains the so-called ancient magical square, formed by five words of five letters each that can be read from left to right, from right to left, from top to bottom and from the bottom to top.

The five words “rotas – opera – tenet – arepo – sator” that means “everywhere-operates-holds-plow-sower”, have been variously interpreted, and some researchers thought that they hid the anagram of “Pater Noster”.

One likely translation is The farmer Arepo has [as] works wheels [a plough]; that is, the farmer uses his plow as his form of work.

The church was believed to be founded in 752 by Desiderius, the last king of the Lombards. The presence of a previous pagan altar on which the presbyteral ciborium is placed suggests that a temple might have existed on the site before the 8th century AD

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