12 °CClear sky
Stoney reception for Scots memorial
|News||Tue, 01 May 2012||Tweet|
A plaque presenting a Scots translation of words by the ancient Greek poet, Simonides, has been given to St Andrews by Historic Scotland and will go up in the library as a monument of our 600th anniversary.
It was made during the BBC Radio Programme, which featured major dude and genius, St Andrews English Professor, Robert Crawford. While we at The Stand dedicate our spare time to zealously studying Made in Chelsea and The Apprentice, Crawford wiles away his hours outside lecturing by translating the epitaphs of western soldiers killed in battle in the Middle East 2,500 years ago. One of these translations will adorn our library.
It took Charles Jones, Traditional Skills Officer of Historic Scotland, 13 HOURS to carve the stone to perfection, which reads: ‘The city is the Dominie o the man’ (old Scots for ‘The city is the teacher of the man’ – that’s right, we translate Scots too.)
Charles believes that letter carving is a skill which ought to be treasured: "Inscriptions in stone have helped preserve the culture and identity of people and places for thousands of years." Just to be clear, the scribbled ‘Kony’ outside Sallie’s Hall or detailed genitalia scratched into the back of a toilet door in the Union only makes us look idiotic in the eyes future generations. Anyway, for all you soon-to-be-graduates, Historic Scotland offers apprenticeships in Letter Carving to keen chippers. (Though with each letter taking around 30 minutes to complete, you’ve got to LOVE IT.)
John MacColl, University Librarian said, “It seems appropriate that a revitalised poem, from the haunting Simonides collaboration between Robert Crawford and Norman McBeath, made permanent through the efforts of a craftsman deploying an ancient skill, should be displayed in a library which has built collections over 600 years and whose task is to preserve meaning from the past for the world of the future.”
Wise words, John.
If you’re curious, Crawford and McBeath’s Body Bags / Simonides collaboration, which was also commissioned by St Andrews as part of its 600th anniversary, is currently being exhibited at Glasgow University.
Photos © University of St. Andrews