What The Helen of Troy is This?

IMG_2273, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This was in the front yard of home in Capitol Hill. Do you think it is a memorial/initials of someone who once lived in the home? It reminds me a bit of the tree box memorial in Mt. Pleasant.

10 Comment

  • It’s called a Christogram or basically the initials of Christ. It’s derived from the Greek spelling of Jesus or something…anyways something religious. Also the source of the Jesus H Christ saying.

  • It looks like a carriage step, which were often carved with family names or initials.

    I could be wrong, though, because it’s hard to tell the size of it from this photo.

  • Could you be a little more specific about the location? Those are my initials, and … um… that would look awesome in MY yard.

  • That’s where the junior high school used to be.

  • I don’t tihnk there’s a letter “J” in the Greek alphabet so I doubt it’s the Christogram.

  • From Wikipedia:

    In the Latin-speaking Christianity of medieval Western Europe (and so among Catholics and many Protestants today), the most common Christogram is “IHS” or “IHC”, derived from the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, iota-eta-sigma, or ΙΗΣ. Here, the Greek letter eta was transliterated as the letter H in the Latin-speaking West (Greek eta and Latin-alphabet H had the same visual appearance and shared a common historical origin), while the Greek letter sigma was either transliterated as the Latin letter C (due to the visually similar form of the lunate sigma), or as Latin S (since these letters of the two alphabets wrote the same sound). Because the Latin-alphabet letters I and J were not systematically distinguished until the 17th century, “JHS” and “JHC” are equivalent to “IHS” and “IHC”.

  • Oh snap! Anonymous you got me!

  • I also think it would look great in Jim’s yard.

  • The carriage steps I’ve seen in Georgetown look more worn and aged as they were cut from solid granite so very, very long ago. The engraving cuts here seem very sharp for an aged carriage step stone.

    The size of this slab can be imagined with the oak leaves around it.

    If it were a carriage step, it seems well situated as you can just make out a granite curb on the lower right corner.

    If parking is allowed on this Capitol Hill street, a modern day automobile door would be blocked from opening next to it.

    Interesting for this Washingtonian.

    Good Helen of Troy post.

  • Thanks, Emmaleigh. Bring your shovel and we’ll go looking for it when the weather breaks.

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