So I think the words are clear enough—Nobilissimo Principi FREDERICO GEORGII ffilio Celsissimi, GEORGII Nep: Augustissimi, CAESARI destinato, M. BRITANNIAE spei, Delicijs, Animaq. desideratissimae, PENATES hosce, Annos sesquimille Terra absconditos, voti & Obsequij sui Pignus, sacrari voluit, Guilh: Mulgrave, G. F. ISCANUS.—although if any of that is wrong please let me know.

The basic structure is pretty simple. There's a really long intro of the honoree Prince Frederick, son of the future George II, son of the reigning George I. ("To the Most Noble Prince Frederick, son of the Most High George, Grandson of the Most August George, designated Heir/Caesar, hope of Great Britain, ...") Then, there's a shorter summary of what's going on ("... [wanted] these here Penates, hidden by the Earth for 1500 Years, ... [to be dedicated] ...") and where it's coming from ("... of his own desire and submission to his own Pledge [of loyalty] ...") and then humbly and last the guy himself ("William Musgrave... from Exeter-on-the-Exe").

1) Does anyone have any idea what Delicijs/Deliciis, Animaeq. desideratissimae is doing up there in the middle and what it's going with?

2) Any idea what G. F. would be abbreviating here? This is the guy in question: medical doctor, antiquary, fellow of the Royal Society, alumni of Winchester H.S., New College at Oxford, and Leiden.

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  • From this source it looks like that Iscanus might be specifically talking about Exeter College at Oxford and G. F. means something regarding Musgrave's fellowship there. This post uses the Royal Society sodalis but only as a guess. Any ideas?
    – lly
    Jun 16, 2023 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


It's all in the dative and continues the list started with spei.

Magnae Britanniae spes, deliciae, animaque desideratissima = Great Britain's hope, delight, most longed-for soul.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that Frederick was born 14 years before Musgrave's death, so he was a child when this was written.

Also, holce should be hosce (but I guess you know that already).

  • I'll go ahead and check this for hitting all the most important points. Any idea why delicium is plural here? or what the G. F. is doing?
    – lly
    Jun 15, 2023 at 7:39
  • 1
    @lly unfortunately not. Musgrave's father was called Richard, so the most obvious idea falls flat. Jun 15, 2023 at 7:40
  • 3
    @lly the word is deliciae, -arum, f, a plurale tantum. Jun 15, 2023 at 7:42
  • 2
    (Actually, if you look it up, it's not so tantum after all, and delicium, -ii, n also exists, but it's a good, classical habit to use deliciae.) Jun 15, 2023 at 7:49

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