Blinding Realization of Mistranslation

In re: “The Lorica of St. Brendan” —

1. “parentes” was being used in the sense of relatives. This I found out from the notes to another Irish poem, which also pointed out that all manner of medieval writers do this. This neatly explains why one would pray for one’s father and mother, and then for one’s parents.

2. I figured this out this morning, when I woke up. The reason lorica prayers say “I bind unto myself” is because — duh! The armor laces, or rather straps, together.

3. Therefore, the “opening” section of this particular lorica — which uses the same word as for opening a book or unrolling a scroll — is all about unwrapping one’s spiritual armor and laying it out, ready to put on.

Lorica segmentata collapses into four pieces which can be stacked inside each other. Here’s a picture of a modern reenactor “binding” such a lorica onto himself (with a little help from his friends). This page also includes good pictures of the other types of lorica. (Btw, check out all the pictures. The hobnailed caligae are particularly cool. “Caligae” usually is translated as “boots”, though in a Roman soldier’s case they’re sandals with a little heavier construction and the said hobnails. But Roman sandals are super-comfy.)

Lorica squamata is shown here. This gentleman is wearing lorica plumata (mail made with scales instead of rings).

Now that I know what I got wrong, I will correct my podcast posting ASAP (although in this case, that means a few days from now). But that’s not all bad. I did want to check the scriptural references in the lorica, and now I’ll have time. (There’s one place name I’m not sure I’ve spelled right, for instance.)

I also messed something up on the hymn to St. Aedh, which is depressing but easily corrected on that post.

1 Comment

Filed under Translations

One response to “Blinding Realization of Mistranslation

  1. Hehe, gotta love my family and their obsession with old things.

    I always understood that he was kinda saying “God is my armor”– so he had to put on the armor. (BTW, if you know a kid who is scared of the dark, St. Pat’s breastplate is THE best feel-safe-while-walking thing EVER.)

    However…. *steals link for future brainstorming* that’s a GREAT link for armor!

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