Ludge Not, Yest Ye Be Ludged: Even the Vatican Makes Typos

Thousands of commemorative medallions misspelled the name of "Jesus." 
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The medallion (Courtesy OMNIROMA via The Telegraph)

Let he who is without typo cast the first stone.

Earlier this week, a collection of more than 6,000 commemorative medallions was put up for sale at the Vatican Publishing House in St. Peter's Square. The medals, created to celebrate the still-relatively-young papacy of Francis, were produced by the Italian State Mint and fabricated of different metals: 200 in gold, 3,000 in silver, and 3,000 in bronze. 

The medallions, as many Church mementos do, bore an inscription in Latin. Here is the line meant to be etched on the border of each of the 6,000 medallions: “VIDIT ERGO JESUS PUBLICANUM ET QUIA MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO VIDIT, AIT ILLI SEQUERE ME." 

But here is, instead, what the inscription ended up saying: "VIDIT ERGO LESUS PUBLICANUM ET QUIA MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO VIDIT, AIT ILLI SEQUERE ME."

The word "Jesus," in other words, had been rendered as "Lesus."

Leepers! the Italian Mint said. Lust kidding! We lust didn't read carefujjy enough!

To which the world responded: Hey, no probjem—who are we to ludge?

The error is understandable. Not only in the who among us? sense, but also in a more directly pragmatic one: In Latin script, the letters "J" and "I" are variants of each other. In many early Church texts, you'll often see "Jesus" written out as "Iesus." And "L" and "I," of course, are visually similar, especially in ALL CAPS.

So. Totally understandable. (Or, you know, totajjy understandabje.) And it's reassuring that even a national mint working on behalf of the Vatican itself is as susceptible as the rest of us are to the occasional typo. Because, again, seriously: Who among us? 

The medallions, in this case, were recalled after the offending character-error was discovered. But four of them were sold before the realization was made—and those four will likely "rocket in value," the Telegraph has it, "because of their rarity." The medallions will become collectors' items. Or, you know, cojjectors' items. 

Via The Telegraph

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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