During the time of ancient Rome, legend has it that a general returning home after being triumphant in an important battle, paraded around the entire city celebrating his victory. He received accolades, congratulations, and compliments from the crowds. For a moment, the general felt a great deal of pride and intense arrogance. At that moment, a slave, who would have otherwise gone unremembered, said in a low voice, so not to be heard by anyone but his master, uttered the words, “Memento mori.” “Remember that you too will die.” So profound and obvious that it remains important in Western culture even to this day.
The concept of “Memento mori” may seem overtly morbid to our sensibilities, but mindfulness of our own mortality is key to making us realize the importance of making the most of the time that we have on earth.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. For Horace, mindfulness of our own mortality was key to making us realize the importance of the moment. “Remember that you are mortal, so seize the day” (Carpe diem). “Carpe diem” is part of Horace’s injunction “carpe diem quam minimum credula postero,” which appears in his Odes (I.11), published in 23 BCE.
- Contains: 2 oz. Troy .999 Fine Silver
- Obverse: The word “MEMENTO” encircles the top field, and the word “MORI” in the bottom field, separated by artistic flourishes surround a skull in the center surrounded by items significant to the phrase, including an hourglass at 6 o’clock, a crowned skull with wings of good and evil (depicting the ascent to heaven) at 12 o’clock, skulls opposing at 3 and 9 o’clock, an extinguished candle, dice showing a roll of 7, a snail and a flower.
- Reverse: The word “CARPE” encircles the top field, and the word “DIEM” in the bottom field, separated by artistic flourishes surround a draped skeleton mounted upon an apocalyptic horse, wielding a medieval spiked flail.
- Finish: Antique
- Weight: 2.00 troy ounce
- Purity: .999 fine
- Edge: reeded
- Diameter: 39mm
- Thickness: ~6mm