Five words, five letters. Read it left to right, top to bottom, left to right, bottom to top: it reads all the same.
Sator, Arepo, Tenet Opera, Rotas.
This writing was initially found in Pompeii and has Christians connotations in Rome, England, and Syria.
- (from serere=to sow) Sower, planter; founder, progenitor (usually divine); originator
- unknown, likely a proper name, either invented or, perhaps, of Egyptian origin
- (from tenere=to hold) holds, keeps; comprehends; possesses; masters; preserves
- (noun) work, care; aid, service, effort/trouble; (from opus): works, deeds.
- (accusative plural of rota) wheels
Recollecting the trip to Pompeii, the tour guide did not mention the faith system of its citizens. From what I’ve learned, it was a hedonistic society with many sex parlors. This one graffiti on the street points the way to the red district.
The question is: where there Christians in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried the whole area? The translation according to Wikipedia in a literal form: “The farmer Arepo has [as] works wheels [a plough]” This is meaningless in Christian formation.
Further research, I found an Italian site Sator that provided a better meaning on the palindrome with moral value.
Changing the reading order at the end of each row or column, the palindrome appear as follows: “SATOR OPERA TENET AREPO ROTAS”, where the word SATOR is used in the meaning of the Sower and the word AREPO can be translated as a contraction of Areopago (i.e., the Supreme Court). As a result the palindrome as a whole could be translated as follows: “The sower decides his daily works, but only the Supreme Court decides upon his destiny”. In this sense, the palindrome holds a moral meaning as: “Men determine their daily activities, but only God shapes their destiny”.
Therefore, we can choose our duties and perform our activities, but there is a destiny that rules over us. In order to reap we need to sow and in order to build our own success we need to work hard. Above all, we need to stay in tune with the world as a whole.