To finish my Maltese question series before boarding a plane off the island, here is another question about Latin inscriptions in tombstones in St. John's co-cathedral at Valletta. In many tombs, including the one below, the inscription begins with the abbreviation "D. O. M." in a fashion very similar to Roman grave inscriptions starting with "D. M." much earlier.

What does this abbreviation mean? I did not find any graves with this abbreviation expanded (starting with three words with initial letters DOM). I assume it is a Christian counterpart of the Roman Dis Manibus and that the D stands for some form of Deus. Is "D. O. M." related to "D. M." at all, or is the similarity a complete coincidence?

A tombstone in Latin

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    Aha, they were programmers! Document Object Model Commented May 27, 2018 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


A Google search gives results for both Domino and Deo Optimo Maximo. However the former offers results for both, suggesting it is a variation of the latter.

Deo Optimo Maximo,

in turn, has its own Wikipedia article and seems to be the preferred form. According to the article,

Deo optimo maximo, often abbreviated D.O.M. or Deo Opt. Max., is a Latin phrase which means "to the greatest and best god", or "to God, most good, most great". It was originally used as a pagan formula addressed to Jupiter. [And later adopted by Christianity.]

It dates from antiquity and is also common in ancient tombstones in Rome, both Christian and pagan. I recall seeing a lot of them in the scavi Vaticani.


Deo (or Domino) Optimo Maximo. It is the motto of the Benedictine order.

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