1. Arnica Member

    Could anyone explain the word "spe", as found here:

    Music and ceremony at Notre Dame of Paris, 500-1550,
    by Craig M. Wright (read via Google books)

    15 April 1575 Claudius Ruffin, spe of the choirboys, is petitioning to be sent to a college after the coming feast of Pentecost,

    [15 April 1575] Claudius Ruffin spe puerorum chori...

    Thanks.
  2. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Ludoviciana
    It is the ablative form of the noun spēs, meaning 'by/through hope'
  3. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Hmm...it seems that if the term were simply "hope" or "by the hope" it would have been translated that way. According to p. 171 and p. 175 of your book it was an office in the choir. Your author says the etymology of the word may be found in the book "Patronage" by Wright (I assume he is citing one of his own books).

    I would guess the etymology is related to the Latin word spes, meaning "hope."

    spe appears to be nominative though.

    p. 171 - et ille qui erat spe factus est clericus matinuarum..."and he who was spe is made clerk of Matins."
    Your other example is not so clear.
    p. 175 - Claudius Ruffin spe puerorum chori - could be translated "Claudius Ruffin, by the hope of the choirboys," but your author translates it as "Claudius Ruffin, spe of the choirboys,
  4. Arnica Member

    I have another example where it was translated (in German) by "the eldest":

    spe puerorum chori
    Ältester der Chorknaben

    (This interpretation does seem to make sense in the context, though I have no idea where it comes from).

    Thanks.
  5. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena
    Among the eight, ten, or twelve choirboys at Notre Dame there was one, the eldest, who was assigned the special position of spe
    In fact, the spe was not a boy at all, but a young man who had served six, seven or eight years as a choirboy and whose voice had finally broken
  6. Arnica Member

    Thank you.

    I also found the following in Gille Ménage's 17th-century Dictionaire étymologique (for those who read French):

    SPÉ. On appelle ainsi dans l'Eglise de Paris le plus ancien des enfans de Choeur. Je suis fort de l'avis de Mr l'Abbé Chastelain Chanoine de cette Eglise, qui dérive ce mot de spex ; cestadire, inspectetur : duquel mot on a fait specere, comme de Rex, regere. De specere, mot ancien Latin, on a fait conspicere, inspicere, despicere, de la même façon que de regere, on a fait dirigere, corrigere. Voyez spia dans mes Origines Italiennes, & cy-dessus espion.
    A Saint Etienne de Sens, il y a des Officiers subalternes, qui ont une pareille inspection, & lesquels, pour cela, on nomme les Speces. Aux anciens Synodes du Chapitre de l'Eglise de Paris, on trouve Spex puerorum Chori. Et dans les Regîtres du Chapitre de Sens, on trouve en divers endroits Speces, qui est le même mot au plurier. Schradenus rapporte que de son tans il y avoit à Rome une Eglise dite de Saint George des Spez ; en Italien, de' Speci ; en Latin, in Specibus. C'est la même, pour le marquer en passant, dont parle Jacques Gaiétan dans son Ordinarium, écrit à la fin du IV. siécle : où il dit qu'elle étoit prês de Saint Jean de Latran ; & qu'elle servoit principalement à conserver les Saintes-Huiles ; & que le Pape avoit de coutume d'y célebrer Nones tous les ans le Jeudy-Saint. Spé ne vient donc pas de sperare, comme quelques-uns le croyent.
    Cette remarque m'a été fournie par Mr l'Abbé Chatelain.
  7. Chamaeleo New Member

    Location:
    Melbourne
    In other words, the spé is the eldest choirboy, the word deriving from spex meaning ‘inspector’, the root of speciō, inspiciō, etc.

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