13 May 2010

Saldum est cor Virginis

Saying today's Office of Readings, commemorating our Lady of Fatima, I wondered - again - 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 do not know saldum as a Classical Latin word. I know, of course, that Italian saldo means 'firm'; Danteists will know that Dante once used saldo to qualify cor, but not in a Marian context. Is saldum Late Latin? Is 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 is it a typo?

New Latin texts from CDW printed in Notitiae (just like the Liturgia Horarum) usually contain errors: sometimes just typos, sometimes real grammatical howlers. I'm not just indulging myself some easy abuse: I am prepared to substantiate my accusation. In today's Reading from S Ephraim, for example, in the last paragraph, 'mulieribus' is presumably an error for 'muliebribus'. Perhaps Rome should hand over the whole business of Latin Liturgical texts to the Ordinariates "in consultation with" (a phrase Anglicanorum coetibus so often employs) SSPX.


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." "

Chapel of the Good Shepherd said...

Saldus is not in Souter's Glossary of Later Latin, nor is it in Albert Blaise's Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens, nor in Latham's Revised Medieval Latin Word-List. It is, however, in Blaise's Lexicon Latinitatis Medii Aevi, where the entry is:

saldus (saudus) 1. marécageux, inculte -- 2. entier.

My Langenscheidt gives marécageux as "boggy, swampy, marshy", which is not how I normally think of our Lady. But would "uncultivated" (in the agricultural sense) work here? I confess that I can't locate this feast in my Liturgia Horarum -- are my 2000 copies out of date already? In any case, Blaise doesn't cite any sources for this word, and I can't dig up any examples in PL, CCSL or CCCM. So I suspect that the explanation offered by Figulus takes us nearer the answer.

Figulus said...

The feast is not in the 2000 edition. It is, however, in the "Textus Inserendi" supplement to that edition, which is a pamphlet available from the Vatican bookstore for a few euros.