22 January 2012

Sospel - the Spiked Sculptures

Details from the Renaissance facade of the Cathedral Saint-Michel in Sospel (see yesterday). I wish I could tell you who the two sculptures depict. Note the spikes on the head, shoulders etc of the sculptures - to keep the pigeons away.

The Latin inscription over the door needs a Latin scholar to translate.

In 1809, Pope Pius VII stayed in one of the oldest houses, located to the right of the church.


Détails de la façade Renaissance de la cathédrale Saint-Michel à Sospel (voir hier). J'aimerais pouvoir vous dire qui sont les personnages représentés par les deux sculptures. Notez les pointes sur la tête, les épaule, etc des sculptures - destinées à éloigner les pigeons.

Il faut être latiniste pour traduire l'inscription latine gravée sur la porte .

En 1809, le pape Pie VII a séjourné dans une des maisons les plus anciennes, située à la droite de l'église.


  1. Hi Jilly, I was hoping a few little details. In those days were really artists who created these magnificent buildings.

    The two statues in the niches are the protectors of the city of Sospel "Saint-Hippolyte and St. Absender." (Source: Wikipedia).

    Whoever they may be .. I've enjoyed again, thank you!

    Nice Sunday!

    Warm wishes, Helena

  2. I don't speak latin, either, so I tried the google translator. But the translation doesn't really make a sense. What I understand is that this church was built during or after the plague epidemic and was considered a safe place. "Sospit civita" = "Safe city" --> maybe that's the translation for "Sospel"??
    On their website the mayor says "don't hesitate to contact us" - maybe he can help?
    Barbara from Germany

  3. Helena and Barbara - thanks for all the research. I was using a brochure for Sospel and the Sospel Tourism website, neither of which is very helpful. I didn't think of Wikipedia! Duh! Thanks Helena for that.

    Sospel had another name before Sospel but yes, perhaps it was a safe city Barbara.

  4. Pigeon spikes... too funny. But looking at the sculpture closer, it seems to work. No strands of white... hahaha

  5. I have seen a lot of places using netting to stop the pidgeons as well...seems to stop those unsightly trails of muck.

  6. I'm enjoying your photos of Sospel very much, Jilly.

  7. I haven't tried my hand at Latin since high school.

    With the help of a computer... the top phrase over the door of the church reads "To God the Best and Greatest (D.O.M.) temple erected from the vow this raging plague." It doesn't make much sense but you can move the words around to get the gist of it.

    When I was an exchange student at the lycee in Menton many years ago, I took Latin. But it was difficult for me because I had to translate everything twice... first to English and then to either Latin or French.


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