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Hi Maria, I've recently been digging into 12th and 13th century monasteries. I've grown very interested in their Latin text, and documents. However I'm struggling to find a definition of the word "sacristarum". I've seen it several ledgers and script but I can't piece together what it means. I would greatly appreciate any help regarding this mysterious word. Thanks!

Answer
Hello,

the word “sacristarum” is the genitive plural of the medieval Latin masculine noun “sacrista” (nominative case)belonging to the 1st declension and meaning “sacrist”/ “sacristan”/”sexton”, i.e.: “one charged with books/treasury of church/monastery” as well as “a person who looks after a church and churchyard, typically acting as bell-ringer and gravedigger”.

So, the genitive plural “sacristarum” means “of the sacristans/of the sextons/of the sacrists” as in e. g. “Gesta sacristarum monasterii sancti Edmundi “ (late 13th century)literally  meaning “The deeds/The history  of the sacrists of St.Edmund’s monastery”, aka “Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey” written in the late 13th century  by the sacrists of St.Edmund’s Abbey at Bury (Bury St Edmunds, UK), ruined following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.

Lastly, I have to point out that the medieval Latin noun “sacrista”, which did not exist in classical Latin, is based on classical Latin adjective “sacer, sacra, sacrum” meaning “ sacred”/”holy”, as the medieval Latin “sacrista” was just related to a sacred building such a church.

Hope this can be helpful to you.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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