Archives for: May 2009


Permalink 10:55:19 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 11 words, 868 views   English (US)
Categories: Modern Latin

Mirum Hudsonium

H/T to Rogue Classicism for this video from Radio Bremen


Permalink 11:26:29 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 60 words, 3124 views   English (US)
Categories: Announcements, Fun & Games

Ite Romani Domum

Stumbled on a new Classics blog: Pop Classics, a fun if somewhat fastidious review of clasical influences in modern pop culture (sorry, I thought the whole Star Trek franchise was played out long before Voyager:-).

Anyway, I’ve added it to the blogroll…take a look if you’re having trouble remembering the film that translated the phrase in the title line…


Permalink 10:50:00 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 168 words, 1409 views   English (US)
Categories: Education

Parlez-vous Anglais?

A bit off-topic, but nevertheless…

A recent study rated French students the least skilled at English compared to other European nations. Author Laurel Zuckerman–a bilingual American who has lived 20+ years in France–suggests that one of the reasons for this is the arcane French education system and a selection process for English teachers that is shockingly biased against native English speakers.

Her book Sorbonne Confidential and this interview with Patrick Cox of PRI’s should fascinate any language teacher; each offers a perspective on language instruction from an uncommon perspective (at least for Americans where the native and foreign languages are reversed). One point she makes in the interview is worth highlighting:

In France they’ve constructed this whole..idea that, if you’re a native speaker, because you’ve never taken the time to really take apart the language and understand what kind of obstacles a learner might encounter, you can’t explain the grammar properly.

How many Latin teachers reliying exclusively on the grammar/translation method would agree?


Permalink 12:14:54 am, by Chris Jones Email , 648 words, 5552 views   English (US)
Categories: Calpurnius' Bucolica

Calpurnius, Bucolica VI

Text can be found at the Latin Library. Change in speaker is indicated (as in II) by capitalizing the first word of a line.

Summary: Lycidas trades insults with Astylus, and the pair plan to settle their dispute with a singing contest.



Permalink 02:32:47 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 63 words, 3384 views   English (US)
Categories: Fun & Games, Statius' Thebaid I

Classics in the Electronic Age

Although I have yet to find a compelling use for Twitter, someone has set up a Daily Thebaid twitter promising one line translated each day. By my calculations that project should last, oh, about 14 years. If you’re interested, the opener Fraternas acies… comes July 1st.

And while we’re at it, if you haven’t see the Aeneid Facebook Page, well, where have you been?


Permalink 12:55:51 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 512 words, 4126 views   English (US)
Categories: Education

How should Latin be Taught?

A lengthy back-and-forth this past week on the LatinTeach listserv got me to thinking about the question in the title line.



Permalink 02:09:05 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 185 words, 4689 views   English (US)
Categories: Announcements, News, Modern Latin

Latin Diplomas

Neque Ego Haec Intellegere Possum

Around 1960, US college diplomas started changing from Latin to English (my mother earned her BA and MA in English from the same midwestern college around this time; the BA was in Latin, the MA from two years later was in English). The Ivy League has (naturally) always been a holdout, but this op-ed by classics professor Christopher Francese argues it’s time to retire this pretentious and obsolete practice.

It’s a point I’m sympathetic to. The only reason to write a diploma in Latin today is to overawe with faux-erudition–face it, if you can’t read your own diploma, what’s the point of having it? There’s something ironic about insisting on a token of education that demonstrates your own ignorance. Worse, defending the practice simply encourages students to see Latin as an “ivory tower” subject, which means fewer students taking up the subject in school.

And before you ask, yes I wish my diplomas were in Latin, but then again I can easily read a Latin diploma–at least the ones that don’t have some unusual Neologism (hmm…what’s the Latin for “Marketing” or “Los Angeles"?).


Permalink 10:54:12 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 171 words, 49864 views   English (US)
Categories: Modern Latin

Ille qui nos omnes servabit

That, TV fans, is the answer to the question posed throughout the second half of the season on ABC’s hit adventure/drama series Lost: “What lies in the shadow of the statue?". As noted in a previous post, this season revealed that the group of island dwellers known as the “Others” spoke Latin, and it appears the ageless Richard (Ricardus?) has been speaking the language for quite a long time.

Sorry if none of this makes any sense to you, but I expect the thousands of Lost fans who are googling the phrase are champing at the bit for a translation. Fine; Ille qui nos omnes servabit - “He who will protect us all.” Latin students will be careful not to confuse the verb servo, servare - “protect, keep” (it’s the root of English words like “conserve” and “preserve"), with the almost-homophone servio, servire - “to serve". The writers probably didn’t intend a double meaning in Richard’s answer, but given the amount of speculation this show fosters, I’ll leave it for others to decide.


Permalink 09:23:33 am, by Chris Jones Email , 131 words, 794 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Pax et Bonum

An unusual experience this morning after my alarm clock-radio went off and CBS World News began their report.

About a minute in, I was jolted awake by a snippet of Latin: PAX ET BONUM. I soon realized this was a portion of remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI, who was traveling in Jerusalem earlier today. A quick search of the web for news turned up only this text of a speech the pontiff gave a few days ago from the basilica at Mount Nabo, so I’m not sure what was going on today. I just found it odd to hear real Latin spoken on national radio this morning.

The phrase, of course, is the famous motto of the Franciscans, and a good example of hendiadys, a favorite trick of Latin rhetoric.


Permalink 10:41:00 am, by Chris Jones Email , 251 words, 5598 views   English (US)
Categories: Lost in Translation, Vocabulary and Grammar, Modern Latin

Quiddam or Alius?

Just spent some brief email-time consulting with a writer who was commenting on Pope Benedict XVi’s encyclical Spe Salvi. A point of grammar/vocabulary from that letter was essential for teasing out a correct theological meaning.



Permalink 12:36:37 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 725 words, 5738 views   English (US)
Categories: News, Literature

Lucretius and the H1N1 Virus

Recent news about the spread of the H1N1 flu virus–at first mistakening labeled a new “swine flu"–reminds us that rational beings are not always immune to fear and panic, with examples that range from amusing (an on-line Swine Flu game) to banal (the CDC decision to divert a commercial airliner because one of the passengers displayed “flu-like symptoms") to tragic (Egypt authorities have begun to slaughter all of the nation’s pigs in a mistaken belief that the virus was transmitted from swine to humans). The Roman poet Lucretius understood this frailty; his devotion to the Epicurean philosophy led him to write the didactic De Rerum Natura, a work that unapologetically champions reasoned analysis over panicked superstition.



Permalink 03:54:15 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 432 words, 1628 views   English (US)
Categories: Vocabulary and Grammar

There is Wisdom in Age...

Antiquus, -a, -um and vetus (veteris) both generally mean “old", but there is an important difference between the two.


Qui sciet quae quoque sint modo dicenda, nisi tamen in procinctu paratamque ad omnis casus habuerit eloquentiam, velut clausis thesauris incubabit.

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