Follow olinrev on Twitter
Copyright 2008 Olin Revelation. All Rights Reserved.
Contact
Custom Search

Solving the Sator Square

Scholars have long wondered what the significance was of a grid consisting of five 5-letter words known as a sator square that was found carved on walls throughout the Roman empire.

S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S

Some have suggested that the sator squares were linked to early Christians, but the words contained within the square do not appear to convey any obvious message.

S A T O R "sower"
A R E P O the name "Arepo"
T E N E T "holds"
O P E R A "work"
R O T A S "wheel"

Some scholars have also pointed out that the twenty five letters of a sator square can be rearranged to form a cross containing the phrase "pater noster" written both horizontally and vertically with 2 extra As and 2 extra Os.

P
A A O
T
E
R
P A T E R N O S T E R
O
S
T
O E A
R

For me, however, that is about as remarkable as, perhaps, discovering that the letters could also be arranged to form some other phrase, such as "my uncle likes hamburgers for lunch". True, the phrase "pater noster" is relevant to Christianity as is the symbology of the letters A and O, which can be seen as a reference to Christ's statement "I am the Alpha and the Omega"; but it alone does not, in my opinion, provide sufficient justification for the square being duplicated throughout the Roman empire.

After studying the square, I believe that I may have some answers to the puzzle.

First I would point out that the word torot appears in opposite corners of the square.

S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S

The word torot has no meaning in Latin; however, in Hebrew, torot is the plural form of the word torah and it has the meaning "teachings" or "instructions".

One can also recognize that the word tenet forms a cross in the middle of the sator square.

S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S

The word tenet begins and ends with the letter T, and the letter T is understood to symbolize the cross. Obviously Jesus was crucified on a cross, so the message appears to be Christian. The Latin word tenet means "hold", so the inter-relationship of the cross-shape, the "held" meaning and the "instructions" meaning suggests that the square is related to Christian teachings.

Now to fully understand the meaning of the square, one must fully understand the meaning of all of the letters within the square. One must also understand the purpose that the square served.

The Roman army was an army of converts. The army was made up of volunteers from all over the Roman empire. Just as is common in arnies today, those who volunteered to serve in the army who were not Roman citizens were granted Roman citizenship. It was also not uncommon for a soldier from one end of the Empire, such as Judea, to end up serving in a legion stationed in another part of the Empire, such as in England. In order to meet other people of the same faith, early Christians who enlisted in the Roman army needed a "secret handshake". That "secret handshake" was fairly simple. It involved one person drawing an S-like curve in the ground with a stick. The other person "completed" the drawing of the first person by drawing another S-like curve in the ground overlaying the first in such a way as to create a crude image of a fish.

But believers did not simply go around randomly challenging others to complete their drawing in the hope of finding another believer. Believers needed another way to signal to others that they were Christians well before they performed the "secret handshake" to prove they were Christians. And that, I believe, was the purpose of the sator square.

The letters A and O are generally understood to mean "first" and "last". However they can also be seen to mean "before" and "after". The cross formed by the word tenet can also be seen to be the English word net rotated like spokes within a wheel. From the language I call Olin, we know that the N in the center of the cross can also be seen as meaning "related". By working our way around all of the "spokes of the wheel" and reading from the outside inward, we can discern three other messages: from SRN, translating as either "S movement related" or as "alternating changes movement related"; from RPN, translating as "movement stalk/surface above related"; and from TEN, translating as either "surfaces related out of related" or as "cross out of related".

S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S

Finally. we should also revisit the underlying meaning of the Latin words that can be directly read within the square without any rotation.

S A T O R "sower" = "one who tills the soil"
A R E P O secret meaning = "prior movement out of stalk/surface above later"
T E N E T "holds" = "contains within surfaces"
O P E R A "work" = "purposeful movements"
R O T A S "wheel" = "repetitive/rotating movement surfaces above"

Thus it appears that the letters within the sator square describe exactly the nature and purpose of the fish drawing challenge: confirmation that those who can complete the challenge are Christians.

However, before I conclude this discussion, I should also point out another interesting pattern within the square related to the word torot as mentioned before.

S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S

Besides the word torot evident from the letters contained in the green squares, one can also discern from the light blue squares above the word pera rotated around the letter N. The word pera today means "pear" in most Latin languages. In Hebrew pri, the origin of the word pera, actually refers more generically to fruit. Thus we see the word pera being bound by the word torot. And from the letters within the remaining yellow squares, SNS , one can possibly read the word sins or perhaps the message "sin, reversing changes related". Taken together, the message appears possibly to be that the teachings (of God) constrain and reverse the effects of sins.

One should also note that Hebrew is written right to left while Latin is written left to right. Thus the sator square also appears to intentionally reflect the linguistic relationships of the two peoples that were intimately connected by Christianity.

The last hidden message that can be gleaned from the sator square comes from the "spokes" within the inner square.

R E P
E N E
P E R

The letters PNP, translating as "stalk related stalk", can be seen to be a reference to the cross. The letters RNR, translating as "movement related movement", can be seen as a reference to repeating prior movements or to teaching, and the letters ENE, translating as "out of related out of", can be seen as a reference to the assembly or meeting of members of the same community.