I've been sent the following photo of an inscription in a Unitarian church.

Low-res photo

As best I can tell, it says:

Templum hoc [re]novat[u]m
est […]eribus denuo et inte[g]re[?]
regnante serenissimo dono do[…]o
principe Georgio Rakoci
Anno do[min]i 1640

In other words, this church was renovated once by ??? and again by a gift from the most serene reigning prince, George Rákóczi.

However, I'm curious what the other damaged parts might mean. What was the cause of the first renovation? And what is the word starting with D on the third line?

  • 2
    D for Domino using the conventional tilde for a missing n or m plus vowel.
    – Hugh
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 18:30
  • @Hugh Ah, so most serene reigning lord prince?
    – Draconis
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 18:47
  • 2
    Could denuo mean 'anew, from scratch;' and integre (almost the same) 'totally, from the ground up.'
    – Hugh
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 19:22
  • The Brill edition is (in brief) "Title: Instructio, quam ... princeps ac dominus, dominus Georgius Rakoci, Transylvaniae princeps, partium regni Hungariae dominus et Siculorum comes etcaet. tradidit ... domino Georgio Rakoci, filio suo, natu maiori non longe post cum ille scholis valedixisset"
    – Hugh
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 20:56
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_I_R%C3%A1k%C3%B3czi
    – fdb
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


With some help from this description, which contains a few errors, here's what I think it says:

Templum hoc r[e]novatum
est [l]ateribus denuo et integre
regnante serenissimo do[mi]no do[mi]no
principe Georgio Rakoci
Anno do[mini] 1640

My translation:

This temple [i.e. church] was completely and newly renovated with bricks during the reign of the most serene lord, the lord prince George I Rákóczi in A.D. 1640.

It seems that "Dominus, Dominus noster" (the lord, our lord...) is an idiom. Searching for "domino domino nostro" returns numerous examples. I'm not positive that it should be parsed out that way, instead of just a simple second "domino," but the line over the "n" (and some superficial experience with paleography) makes me suspect that "nostro" is intended.

On second thought, I agree with Cerberus's comment that "Domino" is repeated twice, first with "serenissimo" and second as part of his title. Such repetition of "Dominus" seems to be fairly common.

  • 3
    I think this is mostly correct. I wonder why you translate lateribus as "with bricks": is that Neolatin? Isn't something like "sides" or "side aisles" intended? // Dominus can indeed be repeated; I believe one is the ordinary polite form of address, the other an address belonging to certain titles. I have often seen this repeated use.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 3:44
  • 2
    While the abbreviations are indeed unconventional, (dono rather than dno), I would not be inclined to believe in the second dono's being do no "domino nostro". I rather think there is a line above both instances of dono; the line above the first one might seem like the tail of the t above, but notice that none of his other t's have tails. So I would read it simply as do[mi]no do[mi]no without nostro.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 3:44
  • 1
    @Cerberus I agree with your second point. As for the first, I was taking it as later, -is (not latus!) That seems to make most sense in context.
    – brianpck
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 12:19
  • Ah! I must confess I did not even remember the existence of this word. Good.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 5:14

It could be "dono" which would mean "by gift" Donum fed into most Romance languages, and would make sense to be placed here to show the king helped out of generosity

Templum hoc r[e]novatum est [l]ateribus denuo et integre regnante serenissimo dono do[mi]no principe Georgio Rakoci Anno do[mini] 1640

This temple was fully rebuilt with bricks By gift of the lord, while Georgio Rakoci reigned most peacefully In the year of our lord 1640

Dono might look out of place, but if serenissimo is applied to the reign instead of to the king it makes perfect sense

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