Latin Phrases They Didn’t Teach You in School

This story appeals to my sense of humor. You wonder if the bad bishop even knows what he’s signing.

Aliens in This World

“Valens cartam et calamum e manibus eius violenter extorsit.”

Valens violently wrenched the paper and pen out of his hands.

— Hilary of Poitiers, Liber I Ad Constantium, 8. (CSEL 65: 187, 12-15.)

This is another bad bishop story. Bishop Eusebius of Vercelli (good bishop) found out that his younger colleague, Bishop Dionysius of Milan, had signed a synod statement that was kinda Arian. So he up and went to the synod himself, and ended up presenting the synod with the Nicene Creed to sign. Dionysius thought this was a great idea, and started writing down his name.

That’s when Bishop Valens of Mursa (bad bishop) grabbed the paper and pen away from Bishop Dionysius.

“carta” is literally a sheet of papyrus, and hence a page or a letter.

“calamus” is a reed, and hence a reed pen or a reed pipe. A reed pen basically operates…

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Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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