View Full Version : Roman find...or was it?

26-Apr-13, 10:06
Hot News's journalistic reputation was well'urn-ed'

THE Auckengill runes are by no means the first ancient find to be uncovered on the north-east coast of Caithness.
My late father, John “Hot News” Donaldson had a veritable network of contacts underpinning his Wick news agency.
So, he was understandably “miffed” when he arrived at the Bruce brother’s newspaper shop in Bridge street, Wick, back in the 1950s, and observed a Caithness Courier poster on the billboard, boldly stating – “Roman urn found at Groats”.
Dad was at a loss to know how the Docherty brothers, who ran the then privately-owned Courier, had stolen a march on him.
Inside the shop, he tore open the weekly newspaper and learned how the urn had been uncovered by a group of students. Dad was particularly interested in the inscription on the potentially major find. It read “Iti sapis potanda bigone”. An MA of two universities, he pondered on it.
Sapis, translated as being “a wise man” and potanda, was a pot. But Iti and bigone had him baffled...until the penny drop. He whipped out his trusty pencil and edited the words thus – It/is/a/pis/pot/and/a/big/one. The students had played a prank on the unsuspecting Dochertys who were at a disadvantage as they didn’t have any Latin.
Dad was still chuckling when Rev. Douglas Briggs entered the shop and enquired what the joke was all about.
Dad replied-“You have Latin the same as me, minister...work it out!”
Within a couple of hours you couldn’t buy a Courier in town. It was somewhat ungraciously dubbed by Dad, as "the pis pot edition".