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Sator is the first word of a well-known Latin palindrome featuring the five words “SATOR - AREPO - TENET - OPERA – ROTAS”. It is composed of five words each including five letters so that the same sequence of words can be read in a 5x5 square, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right and right-to-left.

This palindrome was found engraved in square, circular and cross-like shapes on a number of ruins in Europe, particularly in Italy, some of which are over 2,000 years old. 

Although over the centuries the “Sator” enigma has many different interpretations, it is still thought to hold a hidden meaning. Its interpretation is still controversial, particularly because of the enigmatic meaning of the word AREPO, which is not a Latin word, and which might have stood for a proper name or even have been sourced from the Celtic (more specifically Gaulish) word for “plough”.

It is difficult to establish the literal meaning of the sentence. For instance, from left-to-right the palindrome reads “SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS”.  This can be translated as follows: “The sower, with his plough, holds the wheels with care”, or - according to other interpretations - “The sower Arepo leads the plough with his hand”.

According to a more recent interpretation, the palindrome is thought to have an astronomic or cosmological meaning and therefore it can be translated as follows: “The Great Sower (i.e., God) with His plough makes the celestial orbits and mechanisms go on”. This translation would be consistent with the generally accepted belief in the late Middle Age, that the Sator-God would be the ultimate engine of the universe.

Changing the reading order at the end of each row or column, the palindrome appear as follows: “SATOR OPERA TENET AREPO ROTAS”, where the word SATOR is used in the meaning of the Sower and the word AREPO can be translated as a contraction of Areopago (i.e., the Supreme Court).  As a result the palindrome as a whole could be translated as follows: “The sower decides his daily works, but only the Supreme Court decides upon his destiny”. In this sense, the palindrome holds a moral meaning as: “Men determine their daily activities, but only God shapes their destiny”.

Therefore, we can choose our duties and perform our activities, but there is a destiny that rules over us. In order to reap we need to sow and in order to build our own success we need to work hard. Above all, we need to stay in tune with the world as a whole.