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Hartebeestpoort Dam Triumphal Arch
Hartbeespoort district, North West

Frederick WILLIAMSON: Architect
FW SCOTT: Contractor

Date:1923
Type:Archway
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
25°43'32.50" S 27°50'50.11" E Alt: 1166m

It has also been attributed to TG ELLIS who's wife Elizabeth Robertson had a Masters degree in classics from Edinburgh University and who advised on the correct Latin inscription on the archway built over the centre part of the Hartebeestpoort dam wall which was erected to provide structural mass to the wall's water-retaining strength (Ellis 1986).

The two inscriptions on the eastern and western sides of the Hartbeespoort arch were mottoes of the Department of Irrigation at the time.14 The first inscription is from the Vulgate translation of Isaiah 43.19-21:
glorificabit me bestia agri dracones et strutiones quia dedi in deserto aquas flumina in invio ut darem potum populo meo electo meo.
'The beasts of the field, the serpents and ostriches will glorify me Because I provided waters and rivers in the pathless desert So that I might give drink to my chosen people.'

The second inscription consists of an abbreviated version (sine aqua arida ac misera agri cultura 'without water agriculture is dry and harsh') of the first sentence of M. Terentius Varro’s Res Rusticae. The full version is:
nec non etiam precor Lympham ac Bonum Euentum, quoniam sine aqua omnis arida ac misera agri cultura, sine successu ac bono euentu frustratio est, non cultura (Varro Res Rusticae 1.1).
'I pray especially to the spirits of water and good luck, since without water all agriculture is barren and harsh, and without progress and good luck it is frustration not cultivation.'

(LATIN IN SOUTH AFRICA: TWO INSCRIPTIONS ON THE HARTBEESPOORT COMMEMORATIVE ARCH. J Hilton, University of Natal, Durban)

Additional information for this entry was supplied by Konrad Voges, August 2018.

See also Hartebeestpoort Dam