In articulo mortis. O upamiętnianiu ostatnich słów
In articulo mortis. On commemorating the final words
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The topic of the work are the final words, uttered at the point of death, written down and commemorated by their witnesses and by posterity. Occassionally, it is only by decision of the addressees that a statement is ascribed a special significance, granted the features of an apophtegm, and its preservation in the memory of posterity as ‘winged words’ is determined. History and tradition retained many of them. Ultima verba come from rulers and commanders, geniuses and artists, saints and convicts, as well as ordinary people. At the point of death common, spontaneously uttered words gain the gravity of ‘testament’ and farewell, and the ones thought through by their author acquire a symbolic meaning. The article recalls the selected ‘final sentences’, but most importantly it proposes a reflection on what ulitma verba are, why we ascribe a significance to them, what are their authors’ intentions, what are their recipients’ emotions, how they ennoble the moment of death, and what they say about the human need to possess mementos from the dead – in this case, immaterial ones.
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