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Old Jul 31, 2010, 05:39 PM   #1
cogito
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Latin phrase?

Hello fellow mates,

Recently I found what I suspect is a mini British campaign chest at an antique auction while on vacation. The auction house didn't have much to add other than it was late 19th / early 20th century. The burl walnut veneer is well-matched and only distinguished by an inset brass plate with the following engraved, "A Deo Nobis Benefit." The first three look right, but "benefit"? And, assuming it's a proper Latin phrase, what does it mean? There's a lion-type family crest and a decorative set of initials "CS/SC" accompanying the phrase on the brass plate.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Warmly,
Jeff
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 06:17 PM   #2
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It looks like someone combined English and Latin. "Benefit" is definitely not a Latin word although it sounds like one. Its Latin equivalent is "beneficium". I understand this phrase as "God's gift to us".

Last edited by Flavus : Jul 31, 2010 at 06:23 PM.
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 09:28 PM   #3
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Thanks. I took another look at the phrase, and it looks like it's actually "Bene Fit". I'm not certain if this changes anything, though. Also, what looks like a lion on first glance is actually a gazelle or deer on it's hind legs.
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 05:06 AM   #4
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First of all. Welcome back. Thought you relocated to Borneo.

I guess you don't have a picture of the crest yet? I've looked at hundreds of crests over the past few months and a photo might spark a recollection. I assume you bought this chest.

BR

Mark
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 08:12 AM   #5
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I believe that "fit" is the third person singular of fio, factus sum, fieri, which serves as the passive of facio, feci, factum, "to do or make."

My guess, then, and I am no Latinist, is that the phrase means something like, with God's help, for us it is done well.

Don
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 09:36 AM   #6
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Here's a picture of the crest and motto. Thanks to all for the input.

After doing some digging on the web, I'm fairly confident that the animal is an antelope. The initial style in the top portion is certainly consistent with monograms I've seen on late 19th - early 20th century silver pieces and pocket watches.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 04:17 PM   #7
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'We enjoy blessings from God' is probably best. Literally, 'It is well done for us by God'.

Richard
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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Horseshoe

The horseshoe seems to suggest an equestrian background for the owner of the box, or it was part of a club's posessions etc.

SC = South Carolina Jockey Club? I guess not...

Alex
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Old Aug 1, 2010, 08:02 PM   #9
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From Google Books

Hi,

I did a search of "A Deo Nobis Benefit" and got several responses from Latin text books.

A screen dump of 2 of them follows :-



and



Regretfully this doesn't help with the crest but I am hoping that somebody will come up with an answer soon as I am wearing myself out trying to identify it!

John.
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Old Aug 2, 2010, 07:07 PM   #10
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Thanks, John! It looks like Richard was right on the money! Kudos, Richard.

Alex, I suspect that's not a horseshoe, but the letter "C". That particular style of typography was popular in monograms from the late 19th - early 20th century.

I've been looking furiously for the herald info, as well...but without much luck.

Cheers to all,
Jeff
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