Adso asking William that Salvatore may killed Greek translator. Actually William with his novice Adso came to examine murder case in Abbey, meanwhile Greek translator found dead.

Adso: Well, then, could he not have killed the translator?

William: No. No. Fat bishops and wealthy priests were more to the taste of the Dolcinites.

I don't understand what William saying about wealthy priests?

  • Did you look up taste? Did you look up Dolcinite? What exactly do you not understand? Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 15:03

2 Answers 2


Take into consideration a more complete portion of the dialogue:


One learns that:

A) The Dulcinites were a group that had the tendency to slaughter the rich.

B) Fat bishops and wealthy priests clearly refers to two affluent groups.

Thus, when William says:

"Fat bishops and wealthy priests were more to the taste of the Dulcinites"

he is stating that the Dulcinites were more inclined to have killed the translator (perhaps a bishop or priest) and not the hunchback.


If something is to somebody's taste, it means that the person likes that thing, or more specifically, that the person would prefer that thing to other things in a category. If X is more to somebody's taste than Y, it means that the person would be likely to choose X over Y if given the choice. For example

"Will you be having wine with your dinner?" "No, beer is more to my taste."

If given a choice of things to drink, I am more likely to choose beer than wine.

"Is Sarah going to paint her room pink?" "No, blue is more to Sarah's taste."

If given a choice of colours to paint a room in, Sarah is more likely to choose blue than pink.

"Could [Salvatore, a former Dolcinite] have killed the translator?" "No, fat bishops and wealthy priests were more to the taste of the Dolcinites."

If given a choice of murder victims, a Dolcinite would be more likely to choose a fat bishop or a wealthy priest than a Greek translator. Brother William is contrasting "fat bishops and wealthy priests" with the actual murder victim; he says that Venantius is the wrong victim for Salvatore, if Salvatore were the murderer.

What's actually happening in the scene is that Brother William is very gently rebuking Adso for thinking like an inquisitor rather than a detective. Adso has discovered that Salvatore is a heretic, and has leapt to the conclusion that he must also be the murderer. William's point is that Salvatore's heretical past is irrelevant: if Salvatore had been inspired to commit murder by his history with the Dolcinites, he would have murdered somebody that a Dolcinite would have murdered. The Dolcinites were a sect that preached poverty and protested against the wealth of the clergy, and they killed many "fat bishops and wealthy priests", but very few ordinary monks who happened to be good at translating Greek.

As an aside, one wouldn't normally use "taste" to refer to murder victims. Drinks and colours are a matter of taste, murder is a little more serious. It comes across as rather blackly humorous, which is quite in character for Brother William, who has very much an English sense of humour (as seen through the eyes of a German novice, imagined by an Italian author and interpreted by a French director ...)

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