I am looking for the correct english translation of this latin scripture and if this passage is written correctly in latin. "HEC E SPECIOSIOR SOLE + SVP OEM STELLARV DISPOSICOEM LVCI PATA IVEITVR POR. CADOR E ENI LVCIS ETERNE. + SPECLM SN MACLA DI MAIESTIS."
These words are from the Book of Wisdom, however i do not know which of the many translations to believe. If you could shed some light on this it would be greatly appreciated. (Of course some words are hidden in the painting and some have changed)
First of all I have to point out that the Latin inscription that we read on the halo around the head of the Virgin Mary in the Ghent Altarpiece, also known as Hubert and Jan van Eyck's Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (15th century, Early Flemish polyptych panel painting ) contains many abbreviations by truncation general signs as well as tildes (marks made above a letter, in the standard late-medieval usage) such as e.g. the mark that you can see on the E after HEC, where HEC stands for HAEC and E stands for EST.
In short, “HEC E SPECIOSIOR SOLE + SVP OEM STELLARV DISPOSICOEM LVCI PATA IVEITVR POR. CADOR E ENI LVCIS ETERNE. + SPECLM SN MACLA DI MAIESTIS” stands for:
“HAEC EST SPECIOSIOR SOLE ET SUPER OMNEM STELLARUM DISPOSITIONEM. LUCI COMPARATA INVENITUR PRIOR.CANDOR EST ENIM LUCIS AETERNAE ET SPECULUM SINE MACULA DEI MAIESTATIS” meaning:
"She (The Virgin Mary) is more beautiful than the sun and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared to the light she is found to be superior. She is in fact the reflection of the eternal light and the immaculate mirror of God’s majesty ".
Read more below.
-HAEC (demonstrative pronoun, feminine, nominative case) = she
-EST (present indicative of SUM) = is
-SPECIOSIOR (comparative of the adjective SPECIOSUS) =more beautiful
-SOLE (ablative of comparison from the noun SOL)= than the sun
-SUPER (preposition which takes the accusative) = literally, “over”, i.e. “excels”
-OMNEM (accusative of OMNIS) =every
-STELLARUM (genitive plural of STELLA) =of the stars
-DISPOSITIONEM (accusative of DISPOSITIO) = literally, "the place", i.e.constellation
-LUCI (dative of LUX) =to the light
-COMPARATA (feminine, past participle of COMPARO) =compared
-INVENITUR (present indicative, passive form of INVENIO) =she is found
-PRIOR (comparative)=to be superior
-CANDOR (nominative) =the reflection
-EST(present indicative of SUM) =she is
-ENIM =in fact
-LUCIS (genitive of LUX) =of the light
-AETERNAE (genitive feminine of AETERNUS)) = eternal
-SPECULUM (nominative)=the mirror
-SINE MACULA (the preposition SINE + the ablative MACULA )= literally, ”without spot”, i.e. spotless/immaculate
-DEI (genitive of DEUS)=God’s
-MAIESTATIS (genitive of MAIESTAS) =of majesty
Note that “HAEC EST SPECIOSIOR SOLE ET SUPER OMNEM STELLARUM DISPOSITIONEM. LUCI COMPARATA INVENITUR PRIOR” is a passage from the Book of Wisdom (7:29), while CANDOR EST ENIM LUCIS AETERNAE ET SPECULUM SINE MACULA DEI MAIESTATIS comes from 7:26 (Book of Wisdom).
Lastly, for the scribal marks used in medieval Latin see 3.1 at:
For abbreviations see also: http://www.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/abbrevtn.htm