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Memento Mori


A Memento Mori marks a tomb in Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. (Photo by Scott P. Richert)

A Memento Mori marks a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. "Memento mori" is Latin for "Remember, you must die." The image reminds us of our own mortality and the judgment to come.

(Photo by Scott P. Richert)

Definition: A Latin phrase meaning "Remember that you must die." It is a reminder both of our mortality and of the judgment that will follow our death.

Memento mori is also the name given to paintings or sculptures that illustrate the theme of the phrase. Usually featuring a skull, or at least bones, such sculptures were a common feature of tombs in churches in Europe during the late Middle Ages and early modern age. The deceased usually requested that the sculpture be placed on his tomb as a warning to remaining family members (who would frequently visit the tomb) to attend to the good of their souls.

Pronunciation: məˈmenˌtō ˈmôrē

Common Misspellings: momento mori

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