This is a Latin term and the complete phrase is: “Carpe Diem! Memento Mori!” (Seize The Day, Remember Death). It originated in the days of the old Roman Republic.
During their Triumphant return, victorious Roman generals would parade through the streets of Rome with their spoils, they would have a slave stand behind them whispering: “Remember, You Will Die”
This reminder was meant to keep the victorious generals humble.
Image: French – 16th/17th century ivory pendant, Monk and Death, recalling mortality and the certainty of death
Location: Walters Art Museum