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Calling all Latinists!


Ian Macmillan
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Whilst watching Matthew Bourne's Red Shoes last night, I became aware of a 2-part Latin inscription on the top of the proscenium arch that is an essential part of Lez Brotherston's staging for the show.  The first part, clearly visible was "INCEPTUM IULIO" and, on the other side but never quite so clear for me was, I'm sure, "VARIO EXACTUM."

 

Now what I believe was there were words saying "Begun by Julius" and that seems straightforward enough.  But what follows?  I can't make sense of anything involving exactitude and am toying with some derivative of 'agere,' something like "Carried on by others."  And if that's anywhere near the truth, does anyone know from where the inscription may have been taken?  It sounds like something from a monument in classical Rome.  Or to be really fanciful, might it be a pun - an Empire theatre referring back to Rome and its empire?

 

I always like shows that leave you with something to think about!

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from memories of school Latin, exactum can mean 'completed', used as a declined adjective from the pp of exagere.  vario is in the singular, so perhaps it means 'completed by another', which would make sense given 'begun by Julius'

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