(literally: “Remember you must die”) is a well-known Latin phrase.
The phrase originates from a particular custom typical of ancient Rome: when a general returned to the city after a war triumph and parading in the streets collected the honors that were bestowed on him by the crowd, he ran the risk of being overwhelmed by pride and by the cravings of size. To prevent this from happening, a servant of the humblest was instructed to remind the author of his human nature: he did so by pronouncing this sentence (the custom was maintained in the custom but declined in the ceremonial context expected that instead of the Triumph during the Empire destined to the Emperor alone as commander general, the victorious leaders were granted the “Triumphal Ornaments” as in the case of Giulio Agricola conqueror of Britain
In the Christian context, custom then naturally had a different value as a warning to work for good and not to get lost in the lure of the world = for example, the strictly enclosed order of the Trappists, founded in 1664, adopted this phrase as a motto: monks of this order they repeated the phrase continuously among themselves, and dug – a little every day – the pit destined to welcome them, with the aim of always keeping in mind the idea of death and therefore the meaning of life, destined to end.
However, it should be remembered that the reference to the “transience of life” and the custom of resorting to quotations concerning the inevitability of the existential end disappeared – especially in the context of the most auspicious periods such as these characterized by parties, ostentation of wealth, disinhibition typically post-renaissance – and little by little, even in a religious context, even if, times changed and various problems emerged (including epochal wars both in Europe (read here) and in that eternal conflict that occurred with the Turkish Empire – without neglecting famines, earthquakes, fires, floods and economic and environmental disasters and the ferocious social and legal discrimination between powerful, intermediate and humble classes by virtue of the “Privileges of the Forum”, the Principle of Restitutio and also in the different fruition of the “Right of ‘Ecclesiastical Asylum “which in detail then marginalized women and with them a multifaceted context of” different “and many of whom, as we read here, were contemptuously ass indulge yourself in the term “Stepchildren of God” -: all involved in the epochal terror of the Plague reputed anticipation of the Apocalypse and the advent of the Antichrist and his legions of Demons and supreme index, almost emblematic of the brevity of life) such attitude worldly aroused the criticisms of several including that bizarre spirit, from “Poet”, as it was said wanting to criticize him in some way, which was the scholar from Ventimiglia Angelico Aprosio who also wrote about it to the detriment of many religious taken by vanity = contrary to certain ideas modern currents the idea emphasized by the ascertainment of previously ignored dramatic aspects of existence and therefore the distressing proposition of the “Memento Mori in the form of simulacra and clearly visible objects destined to always warn man of his fragility was not his own or that of Inquisitors who wanted to scare the accused and not even iconic characters such as Pope Alexander VII mentor of Maria Cristina of Sweden co however both very sensitive to the theme but became a general constant, and many, without resorting to less conspicuous sacred objects such as the rosary proposed above, being able to afford it, loved to “decorate” their thoughts, rooms but also studies especially with skulls (and even that of the great Descartes escaped this fate) intended precisely to recall the inevitable passage of time until the end inevitable for anyone large or small or humble who was as Pier Francesco Minozzi wrote in the way that we read here
In sacred objects, as can be seen above and has already been said, Memento Mori became a constant warning, variously elaborated according to the possibilities: but the theme also entered art and especially in painting on which there was no lack of debates, especially against the paintings of he previous age sometimes permeated with paganistic eroticism, particularly in the context of still life in which the most typical example is that of a skull positioned next to flowers or fruit.