Friday, May 11, 2007

Ex Ossibus

This little Latin phrase means, I believe, "from the bones of". I spotted it in the Treasury section of Saint Marcus' Basilica which, in addition to boasting an astonishing number of gilt mosaics, also houses assorted precious reliquaries, or little bits of bone of various saints that have been stored in lavish casings. The Treasury boasts that it contains some relics of Jesus Christ himself, and my guidebook said that the Church has in its possession one of the thorns from his crown. Isn't that worth paying two euros to see? I thought so. Unfortunately all of the little bits and pieces of people were labeled only in Latin, on the containers themselves, and since some of the containers were several deep in the case I couldn't read all of the descriptions. It didn't help that a railing prevented one from taking a close look. Why the Italians chose not to provide clearer guidance as to what is what (or who) is a mystery to me.

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