If the Sator Square is read boustrophedon, with a reverse in direction, then the words become SATOR OPERA TENET, with the sequence reversed., 'I creep towards', may be coincidental.
Most of those who have studied the Sator Square agree that it is a proper name, either an adaptation of a non-Latin word or most likely a name invented specifically for this sentence.
A further example is found in a group of stones located in the grounds of Rivington Church and reads SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS.
In Cappadocia, in the time of Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus (913-959), the shepherds of the Nativity story are called SATOR, AREPON, and TENETON, while a Byzantine bible of an earlier period conjures out of the square the baptismal names of the three Magi, ATOR, SATOR, and PERATORAS.
If "arepo" is taken to be in the second declension, the "-o" ending could put the word in the ablative case, giving it a meaning of "by means of [arepus]." Using this definition of "arepo" and the boustrophedon reading order produces the text "The sower works for mastery by turning the wheel." at Corinium (modern Cirencester in England) and Dura-Europos (in modern Syria).
Jerome Carcopino thought that it came from a Celtic, specifically Gaulish, word for plough.
David Daube argued that it represented a Hebrew or Aramaic rendition of the Greek An origin in Graeco-Roman Egypt was also advocated by Miroslav Marcovich, who maintains that Arepo is a Latinized abbreviation of Harpocrates, god of the rising sun, in some places called Γεωργός `Aρπον, which Marcovich suggests corresponds to Sator Arepo.
The words may be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, or right-to-left.
When read top-to-bottom and left-to-right, it forms the palindromic sentence "sator arepo tenet opera rotas".
Its translation has been the subject of speculation with no clear consensus, but a common interpretation is "the farmer Arepo works a plough".