Sator Enigma: Ancient Roman Mystery Solved
For centuries, scholars have been baffled by a mysterious inscription found in ruins across the Roman Empire: at a military headquarters in Syria, a sport complex in Pompeii, two British colonial towns… it must have been a saying or a spell of extraordinary importance in the Roman world. At last, the mystery is solved--and the solution is more meaningful (even today) than anyone imagined. More
In an age of thrillers and mystic secrets, here is a true-life Da Vinci Code: the Sator Enigma, from ancient Rome. Is it Christian? Is it Pagan? What did it mean to the Romans? Should it mean anything to us in modern times?
John T. Cullen has discovered the only plausible translation and explanation of the ancient Sator Arepo inscription, after scholars have spent centuries trying to unravel the ancient code. And yes, it is not only meaningful, but fundamental to Christian theology, even though it was a Pagan artifact of Roman agrarian origin.
The inscription is remarkably the same everywhere we turn in Roman ruins from Asia to Europe: Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas. It is the most perfect four-way palindrome ever devised. When arrayed in a repetitive five-by-five square, it reads the same left-right, right-left, up-down, down-up. It can be written backwards as well, without a change in meaning. In part, this is due to the magic properties of Latin, an almost perfectly inflected language, and perfect for creating world-class puzzles.
What does the Sator Enigma mean? Famous composers (Anton Webern), Classics scholars (C. W. Ceram, Jerome Carcopino, and many others), and mystics have turned their attention to it--sometimes desperately, always in cosmic awe—but the meaning has utterly eluded them. One man did his Ph.D. thesis in Classics at Yale University, on this very subject, without managing to crack the Sator Code.
The answer has been hidden in plain sight for two thousand years, all across the Roman Empire and today, in contexts of religion and magic around the world. But what does the ancient epigraph mean? During his study of ancient Roman topology (for creating the first virtual tour guide for lay readers, of the entire imperial capital in 150 under the Emperor Antoninus--A Walk in Ancient Rome, Revised 2nd Edition, due out in 2011), the author happened upon this ancient inscription (of which he had been aware for many years, without ever thinking he could solve it).
During the summer of 2007, with research sources spread all around him at his desk one night, John T. Cullen came across the Sator Square and idly toyed with it. Within moments, he spotted what turned out to be the key--something nobody else has ever noticed. From there, it was only a matter of some two weeks until he had a complete translation—from which, quite logically, an astounding explanation of many layers and implications unfolded, as the Sator Enigma opened up and revealed its secrets. Soon, the author was on a plane flight to Yale University, to be interviewed for a History Channel program. Here is the research paper he wrote on his discovery.