What does POSSVit mean in this latin inscription that appears in a novel? hi. does anyone know in machen's "great god pan" the latin inscription that is supposed to appear on a Roman monument which says "DEVOMNODENTi FLAvIVSSENILISPOSSVit PROPTERNVPtias quaSVIDITSVBVMBra" what does POSSVit mean? posit? i cannot find it in https://www.online-latin-dictionary.com/ or wiktionary any article for anything close to it.

1 Answer 1



I'm guessing these are separate lines, since we've got several words joined together on each one. Separating them out would give:

Devo M(?) Nodenti
Flavius Senilis possuit
propter nuptias
quas vidit sub umbra

This is pretty close to an actual inscription to the god Nodens, CIL 07 00137:

D(eo) M(arti) N(odenti) T(itus) Flavius Senilis pr(aepositus) rel(igionis?) ex stipibus pos{s}uit o(pitu)lante Victorino interp(re)tiante
To the god Mars Nodens, Titus Flavius Senilis, superintendent of the cult, had (this mosaic) laid from the offerings with assistance from Victorinus the interpreter

The braces around the {s} in pos{s}uit here mean that the editor thinks the original author made a mistake. There's not supposed to be a second S there: the word should be posuit, "he placed".

Taking that as our guide, we get something like:

De{v}o M[arti] Nodenti
For the god Mars Nodens
Flavius Senilis pos{s}uit
Flavius Senilis laid [this inscription]
propter nuptias
on account of the marriage
quas vidit sub umbra
that he saw beneath the shadow.

I would expect sub umbris instead of umbra, under the "shadows" instead of under the "shadow", but I don't know anything about this novel; perhaps a single shadow makes more sense in context.

  • 1
    But sub umbrā is valid form for singular number ("beneath shadow"), while sub umbrīs is form for plural number ("beneath shadows")... (I think that you can just update English translation.)
    – Arfrever
    Commented Jan 26 at 6:51
  • @Arfrever Ahh, of course. I was thinking sub umbris is more common, so they must have changed the case; I completely missed that they could have just changed the number.
    – Draconis
    Commented Jan 26 at 17:18
  • Of possible interest: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nodens (note there are several inscriptions to Nodens cited there).
    – MPW
    Commented Jan 29 at 15:35

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