Friday, March 1, 2013
Where does the word "Vatican" come from and what does it mean?
The word derives from the Latin vates, which means "tellers of the future." This name was the name given to a hillside on the west bank of the Tiber River in Rome because daily lineups of fortunetellers used to hawk their "wares" there to passersby on the street. In the fourteenth century, when the papacy was returned to Rome from Avignon (France), the present-day Vatican became the residence of the popes, and the word came to refer to the enclave in the middle of Rome that had become the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.