When I asked this question, I learned that the Latin word "monumentum" did not mean "monument", but "grave". So, how would you say "monument" in Latin?

For example, Vukovar Water Tower is a monument to the Vukovar Massacre, but it is not anybody's grave. The mass grave is in Ovčara.

1 Answer 1


That's not the correct takeaway from that question, though I can see how that mistake can be made. A monumentum can indeed mean "monument" in our sense. You can see this plainly spelled out, too, in the dictionary.

I. that which preserves the remembrance of any thing, a memorial, a monument; esp. of buildings, statues, galleries, tombs erected to perpetuate the remembrance of a person or thing

The primary definition isn't a grave, but rather some sort of marker for remembering someone or something, including a massacre.

It can also be used more metaphorically, such as when Horace says "[he has] created a monument more lasting the bronze" (exegi monumentum aere perennius, Odes 3.30.1). He is talking about poetry, not a tomb here.

While it can often mean a tomb, it's certainly not restricted to only that one definition.

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    There is a famous inscription in St Paul's Cathedral in London which says, Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice. It is a play on the double meaning of monumentum. The tomb is Christopher Wren's, who lies below the inscription. The monument too is Wren's, which is all around you; it is the cathedral which he designed.
    – Figulus
    Jun 7 at 4:08

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