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  • 2015
    • September
      • Haec olim meminisse juvabit

        The idea, of course, is that at the time the things in question are the last thing we want to ever recall and remember. But perhaps, as years pass and we gain perspective and wisdom there will be some redeeming aspect to all of this. Although, that's not a given...

    • June
      • Latin toasts
        We don't have a definitive collection of Latin toasts from the times of Ancient Rome. The phrases chosen here come from a variety of sources: medieval sayings, classical authors and modern usage. Feel free to use them if the occasion is right!

        Ad finem esto fidelis - Be faithful to t

    • February
  • 2014
  • 2013
    • October
      • Extreme makeovers: Ancient style.

        According to Cassio Dio's Roman History (58, 22), Sextus Marius, an incredibly wealthy Plebeian, once demonstrated his might to a neighbor in a rather unusual way. Marius invited the man (with whom he had a dispute) to stay with him as a guest for two days. On the first day, Marius

    • June
    • February
      • "Latin" inscription on a dog bowl

        Bought this the other day without looking too closely. Nice fleur-de-lis bowl. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this object proudly displays a small heraldic achievement with this motto: Diligo meus canis - Love my dog - Diligo meus canis. If you know any Latin at all you should

  • 2012
    • July
      • Liberation Philology Apps for Latin and Greek

        Greek and Latin apps for iOS are often somewhat disappointing. "Liberation Philology" apps don't promise much, but they certainly deliver. They actually make several apps for a number of languages, all based on the same engine. Even Old Norse can now be studied on an iPad.

  • 2011
    • November
      • Searchable database of Latin phrases
        Happy to announce that my new searchable database of Latin quotations is up and running! The interface is very simple and intuitive, you only need Flash installed on your computer (a standalone version is possible, but I am not currently planning on making one). You can search for Latin or English w

      • Past, Present and Future. Quote from Augustine?
        This phrase is often attributed to St. Augustine: "Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence."

        Here's the scoop. I simply cannot find any direct match for this quote in Latin, in Augustine or elsewhere. The e

      • The Iliad - an autographed copy!

    • October
      • Malleus Maleficarum Quotes

      • SPQR - Latin app for iPhone & iPad (Review)

        1. The dictionaries are not integrated with the reader part of the app. I have several decent readers for iOS that allow one to select a word and get its definition, as long as there is a suitable dictionary file. With SPQR one might as well carry a paper dictionary, because there isn�

    • June
      • Medical Latin gone awry

        As I was sifting through some modern materials about the Salem witchcraft trials I stumbled upon a curious term which came up in one of the physical examination accounts. Apparently, Elizabeth Procter suffered from a condition described as procedeulia ani." Sounds like a very bad th

    • April
    • February
      • Toyota Prius goes plural and goes wrong?

        Toyota has people voting on the plural form of Prius.

        The options include prius, priuses, prii, prium and prien. Sic!, Sic! and Sic!

        Oddly, the actual correct Latin masc. and fem. plural for prius - priores is not even in the running!

        Shouldn't cor

    • January
      • "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" - word of caution regarding the "Fugitivus" tattoo

        According to the makers of the Starz series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" they employ two historical consultants. Perhaps one of them should have noticed that the tattoo gracing the forehead of the gladiator named Kerza is quite anachronistic. "Fugitivus" is indeed a La

      • Three words in Latin!

        Just a reminder, folks. Given the recent popularity of three word descriptions (, anyone?), keep in mind that you can easily come up with Latin tripartite phrases, even if you don't know Latin:

        By the way, in classical rhetorics three word descri

  • 2010
    • November
      • Good midwifery tip from Pliny
        Ferunt difficiles partus statim solvi, cum quis tectum, in quo sit gravida, transmiserit lapide vel missili ex iis, qui III animalia singulis ictibus interfecerint, hominem, aprum, ursum.

        It is said that labor complications are solved at once when a stone that has been used to kill three

      • King Charles' motto
        Not talking about any historic King Charles here, but rather about the British musician whose stage name betrays his royal aspirations (actually, this makes me wonder whether England has any laws that discourage individuals who call themselves kings or queens). King Charles was part of the opening

      • Fireplace inscription

    • October
      • Antique maps and compasses on CD
        People often ask me about the source of the beautiful antique compass image that I use on this site. Well, today it will be revealed!

        I have an old CD (practically antique in its own right) published in 1995, entitled "Extraordinary Cartographic Motifs". It has several compass

      • Pulvis et umbra sumus
        Pulvis et umbra sumus
        Translation: we are dust and shadows.

        A few days ago I caught a little bit of "Gladiator" on television. Maximus is being told by his master to take it easy, if I remember correctly. "We are only dust and shadows," adds he. Not bad for a free

      • How to make sure that a Latin phrase is correct?

    • September
      • Cato on achieving maximum profit
        In his Essay on Duties, Marcus Tullius Cicero tells a story about Cato the Elder.

        One day Cato was asked, what is the most profitable aspect of property ownership? Cato answered, "Raising livestock with great success." He was then asked about the second most profitable aspect of

    • August
      • Don't Tread On Me! -- Origin of the phrase

        If what one's hearing in the news is true, the old slogan "Don't tread on me!" is gaining popularity once more. It should be noted that this motto has a somewhat lesser known Latin counterpart "Noli me calcare!" Although I cannot immediately loca

    • July
    • June
      • Fratricide - did it start with Cicero?

        quid? de me quod tulisse te dicis, patricida, fratricida, sororicida, nonne extra ordinem tulisti?

        What! what sort of law is it that you say that you passed about me, you parricide, you fratricide, you murderer of your sister; did you not pass that out of the regular course?

      • NT Greek vocabulary for iPhone or iPod Touch

        QuickMem is one of the oldest pieces of software for learning New Testament Greek. It has always been free, and now it is available on iPhone. Don't miss it! I have seen at least one other program that claims to do the same, but it's not free and it looks like it covers a small

    • May
      • Tempus fugit

        Set fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus,
        singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.

        (G. 3.284-5)

        Fairclough translates beautifully: "But time meanwhile is flying, flying beyond recall, while we, charmed with love of our theme, linger around each detail!

      • Latin in Iron Man 2.
        I very seriously doubt that this will increase enrollment in Latin classes, but curious nonetheless.

      • Casanova's mottos
        Gallica has made Giacomo Casanova's manuscripts available online. Namely, "Histoire de ma vie" ("History of my life"). Nothing extraordinary, of course, unless you intend to gain more knowledge about the man's personality studying his handwriting. It was interesting, ho

    • April
      • Latin tattoos you definitely don't want to have
        Is it safe to assume that anyone who prepares to have something tattooed on their skin understands the value of checking it twice, or else? Even more so with Latin. I cannot stress enough the need to verify every letter of your Latin tattoos before (that's right, folks) the damage has been done

      • "Lectio Equaria Palaestra" - Can horses read?

        This is just too bizarre not to mention here. Alexandr Nevzorov, a Russian film-maker well-known for his eccentricity and right wing inclinations (as well as genuine love for horses), has released a new movie entitled "Lectio Equaria Palaestra." This Latin phrase can be transla

      • Latin-English Dictionary
        My Latin Assistant for Whitaker's Latin Words remains to be one of the most popular programs for Latinists worldwide. It is, however, limited to Windows users. Many people, myself included, sometimes want to have a Latin dictionary that can be used across various platforms (even an iPhone!). So

      • E pluribus Unum Controversy

        I learned about this story not too long ago:

        "On a special Valentine's Day celebrity edition of the show, which aired three days before the actual Valentine's day, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen reached the £1,000,000 question, which was "

  • 2009
    • November
      • Greek Alphabet Memory game
        Just made another Flash learning app, a Greek alphabet memory game:

        Greek Alphabet Memory Game

        I used Gentium as an embedded font, looks a lot more recognizable, or so it seems.

    • September
      • The Lost Symbol's ISBN unlocked!
        To all numerological nuts out there, this is not to be missed:

        The Lost Symbol - Decoding the ISBN (0385504225). From Solomon Key to Jupiter Square!

        This adds new meaning to the words of NY Times:
        "Mr Brown's splendid ability to concoct 64-square grids outw

    • March
      • Niermeyer, Medieval Latin Lexicon
        It appears that the great and authoritative Niermeyer's Medieval Latin Lexicon is freely available at! It is labeled as "open source". Could it be that it is not copyrighted anymore?

        Niermeyer's Medieval Latin Lexicon

      • Latin Proverbs from the Middle Ages

      • Aeneid - the Facebook version
        I simply cannot let anyone miss this one. Too funny.

        * Dido changed her relationship status to Married.
        * Aeneas changed his relationship status to It's Complicated.

        This is probably the only Facebook page that is worth seeing. Ever.

        Aeneid as a Facebook pa

    • February
      • Chambers Murray Latin-English Dictionary
        I was recently asked by a friend who is just starting to learn Latin what dictionary I would recommend. To my own surprise, I found myself in the position of someone who wholeheartedly suggests something that he does not in fact possess! Not only I do not own a copy of Chambers Murray Latin-English

      • Philosophic terminology in Latin
        I have published a first pass of a new word list: Philosophical terminology in Latin. It would is a nearly impossible task to come up with a comprehensive dictionary of Latin terms used in any particular setting. Philosophical Latin is highly technical and individual philosophers often adapted exist

    • January
      • Geron corporation - does the name say it all?
        I have previously written about the use of ancient languages in modern company names: Company names: never boring!. So, here comes another one. Geron.

        Geron is a Greek word that literally means "old one", "old man", "Elder". If you ask me, a pretty strange im

  • 2008
    • December
      • "Love conquers all" in Norse runes
        Among a very entertaining collection of actual Norse runic love quotes there is one that comes from Virgil, the famous "Love conquers all":

        Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori
        ‘Love conquers all; let us too yie

    • November
    • October
    • August
      • Main gods and goddesses of the Greek and Roman mythology - a memory game

      • Hebrew Alphabet Game
        It would have been a shame not to reuse the code from the Greek alphabet game to make a Hebrew alphabet app! My hebrew is virtually non-existent, but I don't think I made any major mistakes :)

        Hebrew Alphabet Game

        When I get a chance I might use this code to make more alph

      • 300 Most Common Latin Words
        Just added a new page:

        300 most common Latin words

        300 words is not a lot, but they go a long way! Typically, around 2000 words in any language is enough to be able to figure out simple texts with the use of a dictionary. A much shorter word list of 300 entries may be a good st

    • July
      • Deus ex machina

        "A Literary Manual of Foreign Quotations, Ancient and Modern" by John Devoe Belton interprets the phrase in this fashion: "A god out of a machine. This expression indicates the intervention of a person who solves a difficulty or hastens the denouement at a critical junctur

      • Greek Alphabet
        Another little Flash program of mine:

        Learn the Greek alphabet

        Nothing too fancy, but may be useful especially if someone experiences difficulties with the order of the letters. The program includes a Greek alphabet chart, a learning mode chart and three testing modules.

      • Cuil search - first results lack lustre
        A bunch of folks that quit Google started their own search engine, Cuil (pronounced "kool"). A very poor choice of company name, but whatever. Google is not exactly an ear pleaser. It was launched today. I searched for Latin Motto Generator, because, to my knowledge, I have a unique page t

      • Obama amabo - An amusing wordplay

        For the uninitiated, "amabo" means "I shall love" in Latin. And Obama means... Actually, I don't know what that means. And it's not my point here at all :)

        A few weeks ago my professor showed to me this palindrome. At first I thought that an attem

      • Latin quote from 'Braveheart': Ego numquam pronunciare mendacium, sed ego sum homo indomitus
        Ego numquam pronunciare mendacium, sed ego sum homo indomitus
        Supposed to mean "I never tell a lie, but I am a savage."

        I have seen Braveheart only once a long time ago, so I have no idea at what point in the movie this phrase comes up and in what context. It does, however,

      • Codex Sinaiticus Online
        Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected text is of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible

      • Vox populi - vox Dei
        Vox populi - vox Dei
        The voice of the people (is) the voice of God

        Reading the Wikipedia article about the meaning of the phrase "vox populi (vox dei)" one may experience some confusion regarding the origin of the expression:

        Often quoted as, Vox populi, vox dei,

      • How I buy books (and how I got the Archaeological Study Bible)
        First of all, I try to use the library:) But on those rare occasions when a particular book is absolutely necessary for me to own I nearly always end up buying used copies through Amazon. But I always check to see if someone is presently running fantastic special deals. I type "borders coupons

      • Symbol of purity and Platonic love? Non tangunt et amant.
        Non tangunt et amant
        They are not touching, and yet they love

      • Symbola et emblemata: Jungit amor
        Jungit amor
        Love unites

      • Symbola et Emblemata: Non sic omnis vitabitur ardor
        The moral, of course, is in the fact that while the gentleman is trying to escape the heat of the day in the pleasant shade of the trees he is subject to a different sort of heat - the heat of love.

        Non sic omnis vitabitur ardor
        Non every sort of heat will be thus avoided

      • Symbola et emblemata: Me viso videare tibi
        Me viso videare tibi
        As you see me, you are seen by yourself

      • Symbola et Emblemata: Quod facile emergit, non est durabile
        I am going to post a series of pictures from a French book entitled "Emblesmes d'Amour". As one might guess, the book contains short love quotes along with with engravings full of symbolism. Brief interpretative discussions also follow, but I've decided to leave them out for now.

      • Sad Quotes in Latin
        Here is a little collection of sad quotes and phrases in Latin. They range in their mood from confused annoyance to mild depression.

      • Latin Vocabulary Game
        I made a very simple vocabulary game in order to test out a method of learning foreign words that is based on combining the idea of a memory game and the concept of flashcards. I could very easily increase the number of words available in this program, but I would like to know it this approach is he

      • Painting of Rome
        About a month ago someone approached me regarding the origin of the painting that is displayed in the header of my site. To my dismay, I completely forgot where I got it from. I think it's an Italian master from the XVIII century, but I could be wrong. Maybe French? Most likely I found the pict

      • About Latin Tattoos
        I am extremely well aware that numerous people end up at my site in search for that perfect tattoo in Latin. As a public service, I would like to suggest a link to this little FAQ on the subject. My own advice, of course, is to be as cautious as possible. Or just get an engraved ring, for goodness s

      • Home library design
        Very few things warm up my heart quite as much as nice pictures of home libraries. At present, I cannot afford allocating a single room for books and books only, but that would sure be nice! Naturally, anyone with a flair for the classics can very easily fill up half a dozen tall bookcases without e

      • Business name ideas: How to use Greek to build the image of your company
        As promised, I return to the issue of finding creative and appealing names for modern businesses. Although the economy is going through one of its less stellar moments this may be the right time for people to try new venues and there is no reason to suggest that the number of start-ups has not been

    • June
      • Secret Voyage
        This is a blatant off-topic, but hey, don't I decide what's right and what's wrong around here? "Blackmore's Night" will release their new album, "Secret Voyage" on July 15. If this news leaves you wondering about who they are and what they do, I am willing to

      • Tutela Valui and "Adjectives in Past Tense"
        Another example of an odd Latin tattoo. A certain Ashley Dupre, Governor Spitzer's acquaintance, bears it on her belly:

        Tutela Valui

        An article in NY Daily News quotes several translations, including what I think is the most fair and grammatically meaningful:

      • Names for Businesses: Never Boring!
        As I sat down to ponder what Latin words can be used for naming a business it did not take long before an actual company name came to my attention as a good example of, let's say, dubious appropriateness of a business name...

        I decided to come up with a few ideas for companies that

      • Latin Quotes About Life (and inevitably about death...)
        Due to increased demand, here is a fairly representable selection of Latin quotes about life. Naturally, the ancients rarely thought of life without brining death into the equasion.

        Ad vitam paramus - We are preparing for life
        Amor est vitae essentia - Love is the essence of li

    • May
      • Latin Quotes on Flickr
        A delightful collection of Latin inscriptions from various time periods on Flickr. When I am less busy I plan to help out with translating some of them.

      • Translation of the Aeneid by C.S. Lewis
        A little rumor spreading here. I heard, on pretty good authority, that a verse translation of Virgil's Aeneid by C.S. Lewis is presently "in the hands" of a renowned Classicist. It is possible that the C.S. Lewis Foundation is going to publish it?

        On a related note, C. S. L

      • The ultimate Latin ringtone!
        This is the actual ringtone (a preview thereof, to be precise) that I use on my smartphone. I created it myself, having completely abandoned all reservations that are usually quite justly associated with the lack of talent, required to compose music... It works for me surprisingly well, because it s

      • Virgil's Aeneid: which edition NOT to buy
        A few weeks ago I was at a used bookstore and a very promising title caught my attention: Virgil's Aeneid (Interlinear). The book was in one convenient volume, attractively priced -- something I just don't have yet. I like to have cheap editions of my favorite books, so I can take them pla

      • The Rape of Sabine Women ("Sobbin' Women") -- Popular Culture Rendition of the Myth
        Tell ya 'bout them sobbin' women
        Who lived in the Roman days.
        It seems that they all went swimmin'
        While their men was off to graze.
        Well, a Roman troop was ridin' by
        And saw them in their "me oh my",
        So they took 'em all back home to

    • April
      • Idea for an engraved pen
        It seems to me that to engrave a pen (or any other object) with one's own name is the pinnacle of self-absorption. How about something inspirational?

        Sume calamum, tempera, et scribe velociter

        Take your pen, observe my words, and write quickly.

        These are the wor

      • A list of Latin derivatives
        Created a new page: a list of Latin derivatives in English. The Latin part of the list consists of the most common words, the English one has some pretty obscure modes of locution.

        Latin Derivatives

      • 'I only speak Latin' T-shirts
        Amazon sells T-shirts that say precisely this:

        Please understand...
        I only speak Latin!

        Now, shouldn't this phrase also be in Latin? Just wondering...

      • Previously unknown works by St. Augustine discovered
        This story did not get the news coverage that I believe it deserved:

        Not all sensational finds come out of the ground! Augustine scholars will be delighted at the news of 6 previously unknown sermons’ being discovered through a library “excavation” in Erfurt’s Bibliotheca Amploniana. Isab

      • Latin letters of C.S. Lewis
        I pretty much knew that C.S. Lewis was a good Latinist. He sort of had to be one, given his education. Plus, Lucretius is know to have influence the writer in his early years. So, when I saw a book called "The Latin Letters of C S Lewis" it caught my attention. Unfortunately, there is not

      • List of Audio and video resources for learning New Testament Greek
        To my surprise, there is a plethora of free audio-visual resources available to anyone interested in learning New Testament Greek ("koine").

        1. Elementary Greek with Dr. James Voelz. Audio recordings of classes at Concordia Seminary.
        Go to iTunes and type Elementary Greek i

      • That's recession for ya
        Walked up to the nearest used bookstore -- closed.

        recessio, onis, f., a going back, receding, recession

        If recession really meant "a going back" that wouldn't be so bad, because previously the store was at a different location. But I fear it's just gone.

      • An acrostic in Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica
        Haec ubi non ulla iuvenes formidine moti
        accipiunt (dulce et dura sic pergere mente), 175
        terga sequi properosque iubet coniungere gressus.
        litore in extremo spelunca apparuit ingens
        arboribus super et dorso contecta minanti,
        non quae dona deum, non quae t

    • March
      • David Beckham's new tattoo. A Latin phrase, of course!
        This just in! The international soccer sensation and tattoo icon David Beckham added a new Latin phrase to his repertoire: De integro. "Telegraph" translates "De Integro" as "Again from the start". Fair enough. What's more interesting, the footballer's lovely

      • Latin and Greek Courses by Assimil (the "sans peine" series) -- a review
        Got a chance to have a look at these:

        Assimil - Le Latin Sans Peine
        Assimil - Le Grec Ancien Sans Peine

        One needs to realize that the Greek and Latin courses are strikingly different. I believe, the Latin one is older. It resembles other Assimil courses designed for modern

      • Fidelity of the people of Cornwall
        An inscription on a sun-dial at the church porch of St. Levan, Cornwall:

        SlCUT UMBRA TRANSEUNT DIES. As the shadow pass the days.

        The church is rich in old oak, and also
        possesses a fragmentary copy of the letter of thanks
        written by King Charles I. to his people of

      • Harvard faculty to the rescue! Kathleen Coleman and the makers of "Gladiator"
        A lengthy, but quite interesting article about some experiences of Harvard faculty members, who are often called upon to help out with Latin (from translating mottos to consulting movie-makers).

        Kathleen Coleman's short-liv

    • February
      • French phrases for mottos, slogans and language learning
        Made a new little list:
        French phrases used as heraldic mottos.

        French phrases adopted as mottos, in my opinion, have slightly different connotations, as opposed to the Latin ones. They have a certain air of chivalry and perhaps a distinctly feudal sense of duty and allegiance. Or, p

      • Latin course online - paid for by the British government!
        That's right! A simple course, good enough for a beginner is available at the website of the National Archives:

        The tutorial covers the period between 1086 and 1733, when Latin was the official language of documents written in England.

        Knowing Latin will help you to read d

      • Latin vs. Sanskrit
        Interesting article:

        I’ve seen a figure of 1.4 million Sanskrit manuscripts currently in existence. For Classical Greek and Latin combined, there are 30,000 manuscripts. This is Sanskrit’s monument, that vast scope of surviving, hand-writ

      • Is it possible to learn Latin language using an audio course?
        Well, that depends on the course. There are a few options that one can very easily research on Amazon or wherever, but almost all of these audio courses must be used in conjunction with a textbook. I may write about these courses one day. However, it is not so widely known that the absolute best and

      • Confessions of a webmaster
        Reading logs is like looking into people's minds. Sometimes it can be frightening, sometimes it is just funny. Yesterday someone searched Google for this: 'gen es se qua'. What does it mean? You got it: 'Je ne sais quoi'.

      • Idea for an engraved luggage tag
        After hearing a few luggage related horror stories from people who had to return home during a recent storm, changing planes and arriving at otherwise undesirable destinations only to find out that their belongings did not make to anywhere near where they were supposed to be going, I got an idea for

      • A little love poem, in the medieval style
        Cunctis osculis placatus,
        Haud blanditia orbatus,
        Etiam toro sum vocatus -
        Rursus volo vota dare
        In perpetuum amare.

      • How I learned to identify Roman coins
        Well, sort of... I am not a collector, I just happened to have a few worthless coins lying around. It was rather difficult to see the name of the emperor and the design was not a very clear one. But it did look like there were two soldiers holding standards of their Legions. I went to vcrc.austincol

      • Index Librorum Prohibitorum
        I found Index Librorum Prohibitorum at a bookstore a few weeks ago. Not very old and quite moderately priced. Still, I resisted buying it, having wisely determined that these editions must be plentifully represented online. And here it is:
      • Of arms and the man I sing - a trifle of numerology
        The number of books in Homer's "Iliad": 24.
        The number of books in Homer's "Odyssey": 24

        The number of words in the opening passage of Virgil's Aeneid, the poem justly believed to incorporate the themes of Homer's two great epic works: 48 (24+2

      • Knowledge is power - original source of the quote
        This maxim attributed to Francis Bacon is very often quoted as Scientia est potentia. Perhaps a little too inspired by this motto, I decided to gain knowledge about the original quote, and, to my surprise, found none. There is this phrase, however, used very much passingly and literally parenthetica

      • Philip Pullman's book titles
        The Amber Spyglass
        The Golden Compass
        The Subtle Knife...

        "The Subtle Knife"??? Am I the only one who finds this title hilarious? I could not resist coming up with a few good and solid book titles for Mr. Pullman:

        "The Indignant Crayon"

      • British motto contest, sponsored by The Times
        I can't believe this one almost escaped my attention!

        The article is appropriately entitled Britain Seeks Its Essence, and Finds Punch Lines.

        It was a lofty idea: formulate a British “statement of values” defining what it means to be British, much the way a document like t

      • Meaning of "Sasha"
        Speaking of meanings... There is one area of popular etymology where results have been absolutely horrifying and disturbing. I am taking about the etymology of proper names, most often featured on numerous 'baby names' sites. It is absolutely unbelievable what these people come up with. Wh

      • Zodiac signs meanings
        There is a little bit of Latin to be learned from the names of the Zodiac signs. More importantly, one should not always rely upon these names as a source of meaning for the corresponding words. This goes especially for Sagittarius, Capricord and Aquarius. The traditional translations of these names

      • Esse Quam Videri: To be, rather than to seem (North Carolina State Motto)
        Esse quam videri - To be, rather than to seem

        This state motto might as well get the prize for Classical authenticity. Without trying to come up with something unique and of questionable value, North Carolinians went straight to the source of nearly everything that is good in Latin prose:

      • Unique gift for General Lee
        Here is a rather perplexing reference to a gift, supposedly presented to General Robert. E. Lee:

        SAVANNAH [GA] REPUBLICAN, March 26, 1863, p. 1, c. 2

        Golden Spurs to Gen. Lee.—We had the pleasure of examining at the Jewelr

      • Sepulchral rings
        F. M. Marshall makes this observation about this specific type of ancient rings in his Catalogue of the Finger Rings, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman:

        Several of these rings are so flimsy that they can scarcely have been intended for the use of the living.

        A few days ago I was looki

      • A pretty dumb joke, if you ask me.
        Then again, I am the one who came up with it:

        How does one call a very ugly motto? A Quasi Motto!

    • January
      • The Amazon Kindle: an Ovidian allusion

      • Slogan - a battle cry
        To me, 'slogan' is a funny word with an almost non-Indoeuropean ring to it. My thirst for etymological illumination brought me to the steps of the monument that is OED (Oxford English Dictionary):

        ad. Gael. sluagh-ghairm, f. sluagh host + gairm cry, shout.

        1. a. A wa

      • Poetic license...
        I fear that I am about to become very busy, so I am trying to spend the last days of freedom posting a few things, that I will otherwise neglect to share.

        This little quatrain was discovered by me in Allusion and Intertext: Dynamics of Appropriation in Roman Poetry by Stephen Hinds. I thi

      • Sundial mottos: Sic transit gloria mundi
        Sic transit gloria mundi - Thus passes the glory of this world

        I was not aware that there is a very specialized kind of mottos, namely the sundial mottos. I have located a book with a great deal of these phrases dedicated to time, its passing, and other, rather melancholic observations:
      • Love conquers all -- The imporatance of learning Latin
        Omnia vincit amor - Love conquers all

        In one of the last episodes of the Showtime Original Series 'The Tudors'(Season One) there is a following exchange between, if I recall correctly, Henry VIII and his courtier (I only convey the part that pertains to this discussion):
      • Rebus
        I should probably explain the etymology of the word rebus and then provide a better idea of why this site is called "In Rebus".

        According to A Dictionary of English Etymology
        by Hensleigh Wedgwood, John Christopher Atkinson:

        Rebus. A riddle where the meaning is i

      • Masonic Knights Templar rings' motto
        I have observed that there is considerable interest regarding the looks of the Knights Templar rings. Unfortunately, my research has only extended to the Masonic Templars, who are in no way connected to the actual military order. However, having found a reference to a Latin motto I felt obliged to m

      • Knights Templar motto
        Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam! - Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto your name grant glory!

        When I decided to see how often this phrase from Psalm 113 was used in the Middle Ages I discovered that it really was not all that popular until Berndard de Clairv

      • Proklean as in...?
        Here is another curious company name. Proklean is an Australian company that makes all sorts of cleaning products ( Why did they name themselves with a k in klean? Perhaps someone else had already registered Proclean (which is highly likely). Or could it be that they did

      • Engraved promise ring

      • A variation of the 'Quod me nutrit me destruit' theme

        'Nutrisco et extinguo' - I feed and extinguish.

        This is from an old "Devises Heroiques". The explanation is that salamanders can extinguish fire with their frigid bodies, but they also feed on its flames.

      • Cicero and the etymology of 'syllabus'

      • More Latin car company names
        Previously I wrote about Volvo:

        The funny thing is that company names are so recognizable as such that it takes a special effort to notice their Latin roots. I trust these little snippets of corporate Latin may be useful for teaching Lati

      • Old Loeb editions online
        Since my very reasonable (in my opinion) suggestion to commemorate Loeb's 500th and 501st volumes by the way of a promotional "500 Loebs for $500" sale fell through...

        Early Loebs, with their idiosyncratic translations are indexed on this page:


      • Is America Rome?
        Cullen Murphy's "Are We Rome?" is briefly summarized here:

        There is one point that sounds very out of place:

        A certain arrogance follows from cultural dominance, in that Americans are slow to study foreign langua

      • Olympic motto
        Citius, Altius, Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger

        Why should I recall the familiar story of how Baron Pierre de Coubertin was moved by this motto, originally devised by Father Henri Didon? It is indeed more notable that de Coubertin's name is also linked to a different motto: "

      • Short Love Poems -- Posy Ring Mottos
        Just added a collection of . These are very short rhymed verses of varying charm and level of perfection. Great for Valentines and so on. Here are some of the best:




      • New phrase pattern for the motto generator

      • Nostalgia - etymology
        Seriously, where do these people get there etymologies from?

        To make this quotation more understandable let me remind you that the word nostalgia is comprised of the Latin words “nostos (home) and “algia (fervent desire, longing).

      • Housman - Fragment of a didactic poem on the Latin grammar
        I was unable to find this text online, but it should definitely be in public domain, as it was first published in 1899. If you have never read this before, keep in mind that the poem gets really good closer to its middle. I have actually seen it circulate in and abridged form, beginning with line 30

      • The Latin origin of "Celebrity" - another media gaffe
        The word celebrity itself comes from the Latin word ‘celebritatem' meaning, literally, ‘condition of being famous.' Which means that people just have to recognise you for you to be a celebrity. The irony of course being that most celebrities strive for years to be famous, then wear dark gl

  • 2007
    • December
      • New Year's contemplation
        James Carroll in an op-ed article "New Year's brooding" (Boston Globe, Dec. 31, 2007) writes the following:

        "The word contemplation has a Latin root, suggesting "time with," as if in contrast to chronology as time alone."

      • Sortes Virgilianae
        I have always used the phrase Sortes Virgilianae as the only term describing the practice of divination with the use of Virgil's works. In English this is probably best rendered as Virgilian lots. Recently I came across an absolutely delightful term "Maronian lottery".

      • Nosce te ipsum - 2
        As a matter of fact, here is the entire passage from the article 'The Delphic Oracle' by Hugh Lloyd-Jones Greece & Rome, 2nd Ser., Vol. 23, No. 1. (Apr., 1976), pp. 60-73. The third inscription sounds extremely enigmatic, especially because according to Plutarch it consisted of a singl

      • Know thyself!

      • Learn Latin by watching DVDs?
        Yep, that's the idea. A Latin Course called Latina Christiana is technically meant to be used with a textbook, but, in my opinion, some success can be achieved from simply watching the lessons and doing homework. Church pronunciation is used throughout the program, expectedly so. There is, howe

      • MGM motto - Ars gratia artis
        You pop in a DVD, and after a few annoying movie previews and a menu selection a lion's head shows up, surrounded with three Latin words: Ars gratia artis. What does it mean? The short answer is that it should mean 'Art for art's sake', thus being a translation of a 19th century

      • Magna Carta - Latin text
        David Rubenstein, the founder of the Carlyle Group, bought a copy of Magna Carta at Sotheby’s for $21m.

        "He admitted that he could not actually read it because he had avoided learning Latin at school — a decision he now regrets.

        The 2,500-word document, written in medieval

      • Funny life mottos
        "The heraldry of nature or, instructions for the King at Arms: comprising, the arms, supporters, crests, and mottos, both in Latin and English"

        A satirical book thusly titled, was published in London in 1785. You probably have to be British and live 200 years ago to fully apprec

      • Facilis descensus Averno
        Talibus orabat dictis arasque tenebat,
        cum sic orsa loqui vates: 'sate sanguine divom,
        Tros Anchisiade, facilis descensus Averno
        (noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis);
        set revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
        hoc opus, hic labor est.

        In esse

      • Ablative of Default
        I've been told that some undergrad students at Harvard (I must assume the same can occur elsewhere) use the term 'Ablative of Default', when dealing with instances of Ablative that were not so easily recognizable. I can see how this can happen, well into the second hour of the class w

      • A Special Vocabulary to Virgil
        A few years ago I scanned Greenough's "Special Vocabulary to Virgil". Now I decided to upload it for everyone's use. Greenough, of course, is the famous author of the good old "New Latin Grammar" still considered the best by many. Here are his words regarding this dicti

      • Sator Arepo tenet opera rotas

      • French mottos?
        I am playing with the idea of making a list of French mottos. For a few centuries, Latin and French coexisted as the two primary languages into which you would want to have your motto translated. Well, there is also Greek, but Greek did not have a very strong folloiwng during the Middle Ages, so Gre

      • Most popular Latin phrases and sayings in the logfile...
        For what it's worth, here is a list of Latin phrases most commonly searched for, according to my data. The first one is apparently due to the fact that a new movie with Angelina Jolie is currently playing in the theaters. I realize that this data mostly reflects the popular phrases that are bet

      • Propertius' love elegies

      • Italian and Spanish through Latin

    • November
      • She flies with her own wings
        Alis volat propriis
        She flies with her own wings

        I am becoming more convinced that if one wants to adopt a good motto it is best to start with a classical quotation. Reasons? See above - the Oregon state motto. I was not able to find any related quotation in the body of Latin literat

      • Blogger's vocabulary
        Vomitione urgente - Vomiting being severe.

        Sometimes, these are exactly the words one searches for while participating in an online discussion. I would even abbreviate it to VU.

      • Medical Latin
        After looking up a few medical Latin wordlists and having not found in them even the good old rigor mortis, I decided to start my own updated list of medical terminology and phrases in Latin. Nothing spectacular, but it does fill a certain void. My main reference was
        'A Handbook of materi

      • Thus always to tyrants

        This is of course, state motto of Virginia. But here is a curious, although sincere, example of using Latin in English poetry:

        Sic Semper Tyrannis"
        By E. H. O. Clark."

        Sic semper tyrannis," vile southron?
        You murdered your own truest friend!

      • Incognito
        Without being known; in disguise; in an assumed character, or under an assumed title.

        Here is an article about an Australian lady who is a "self-confessed word nerd, fluent in Latin, ancient Greek and Esperanto, and a scholar of linguistics and Shakespeare". She

      • Marble statues, painted pictures and moral degradation
        This is one of my most favorite places in Sallust (Bel.Cat 11.5):

        Huc accedebat, quod L. Sulla exercitum, quem in Asia ductaverat, quo sibi fidum faceret, contra morem maiorum luxuriose nimisque liberaliter habuerat. Loca amoena, voluptaria facile in otio ferocis militum animos molliveran

      • Pater noster from Itala?
        There is a site that has translations of 'Pater noster' in Romance languages:

        The Latin text they have is as follows:

        Pater noster, qui est in coelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua

      • Carpe diem

      • Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit - Called or not called, God will be present

      • Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin

      • Status quo - 'the state in which'

        The Wikipedia article begins as follows:

        In 19th-century diplomatic Latin, the original sentence was in statu quo res erant ante bellum "the state things were before the war". This gave rise to the shorter form status quo ante bellum "the state that it was befor

      • Fortune favors the bold

      • Volvo - car company's name and Classical Latin.
        As you can find out just about anywhere, 'volvo' means 'I roll' in Latin. It is not even precisely known what educated Swede came up with this name for the nascent car company. The funny thing is that this form is quite rare in Classical Latin. Even when it is used (just 20 times

      • To love and to cherish - David Beckham's tattoo

      • Quid pro quo

      • Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
        What Wikipedia will not tell you...

        Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
        "It is sweet and honorable to die for (one's) country."
        Odes (iii 2.13)

        Horace gets too much credit for this line, it has clear overtones of an earlier Greek poem by Tyrtaeus:
      • A diamond with a Templar Cross?

        It would have helped for the cross to be red!

      • Why Latin?

      • Discite iustitiam moniti et non temnere divos!

      • Quod me nutrit me destruit (What nourishes me also destroys me) -- Angelina Jolie's Tattoo
        To the best of my knowledge, this motto can be found in two places: on a portrait that is believed to be of Chistopher Marlowe, and on Angelina Jolie's belly (or thereabouts). The more familiar version of this motto is Qui me alit me extinguit - Who feeds me also extinguishes me. One emblemati

      • Gods in color - painted ancient sculpture exhibit

        image from

        An outstanding exhibit (organized by the Stiftung Archäologie and the Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich), presently at Harvard. It is well-known that the white color, so familiar to any student of antiquity, was n

      • Temple Church inscription
        Ah, mysteries...

        I decided to revisit a little mystery about an inscription on the church at Temple (not far from Rosslyn, if I am not mistaken).
        The inscription can be seen in all its high-resolution glory here:

        A gentleman by

      • How to read books in Latin
        Obviously, you need to know Latin. There is no cutting corners here, and this is not what I am going to discuss. Instead, I will share my experiences with paperless books. Classicists are particularly blessed with a large number of Latin texts available free of charge on the Internet. It would be r

      • Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
        It appears that 'magorium' (magorium sambac, sumbac, zambuc) is something better known as Arabian Jasmine. Muhammad Sharif Khan describes this flower as "sweet and cool, and of a pleasant smell; raises the spirits; removes bile; improves weakness of sight, affections of the mouth, and

      • "Words", or Latin dictionary misnamed

      • Wheelock's Latin Reader vs. 'Aeneas to Augustus'
        Quite often people seek advice regarding a good intermediate Latin reader. My suggestion:

        It provides a good selection of original texts with ample and precise notes. You will get to read most of Rome's famous writers and poets - usually their most popular passages.

      • University of Cambridge - a Papal Bull

    • October
      • Latin phrases
        I started working on a page of Latin mottos, phrases and quotations in popular use. After correcting a ton of errors many still remain, I am sure. I will keep adding more phrases there. Fortunately, I have a lot of sources for this kind of thing.

      • Per aspera ad astra
        Per aspera ad astra (sometimes 'per ardua ad astra' etc.) - Through hardships to the stars. I wonder how this motto has been overlooked by UFO enthusiasts. Really, what possible use would anyone prior to the 20th century have for a phrase so vividly referring to space exploration? Did Virg

      • More Latin Witchcraft - a Latin magic spell (funny stuff)
        I saw this amusing snippet of "Latin" in a few places online:

        Imperiequeritis, tria pendent corpora ramis dis meus et gestas in media et divina potestas dimeas clanator sed jetas as astra levarut.

        This phrase is actually a magic spell, supposed to alleviate pain and s

      • Lex non favet delicatorum votis
        That's right. The law does not favor the wishes of the dainty.
        Due to the unusually high interest to this maxim, I will provide a little extra explanation from E.H. Jackson's "Law Latin":

        Lex non favet delicatorum votis

        An action does not lie because of

      • Harvard's motto and the limits of knowledge

        The truth (don't know what to say about the status of the pun here) lies in the fact that originally the third book was actually facing the other way. The A in TAS therefore appeared on the spine of the book. This design was supposed to represent the belief that truth is never known

      • Witchcraft and Latin

      • Rosetta Stone Latin - a software review

        This post is going to be a fairly long one, since I have always been fascinated with new ways of language learning, and Rosetta Stone truly is something special. I am expanding a review that I had written previously.

        The challenge

        If someone wanted to come up with a

      • "A room without books is like a body without a soul"
        Found a true treasure trove of pseudo-Cicero-inspired merchandise:

        Once again, Cicero is not directly responsible for this quote.

        The fact is that the saying itself is not that bad. It's just sad that we cannot attrib

      • Cicero on books
        At one time used to include refrigerator magnets in shipments to customers, bearing a quote attributed to Cicero: A room without books is like a body without a soul. Coffee mugs, bookmarks, cards and other items with this quote also reportedly exist. Occasionally, this adage is attribute

      • Latin on TV?
        1. I greatly enjoyed HBO's Rome.

        2. Out of all different language learning courses I am most fond of "French in Action".

        3. Apply the content of 1 and the principles of 2 and you will get one absolutely awesome TV course.

        4. Too bad, that this will nev

      • Computer vocabulary
        A compilation of some Latin renditions for some computer terms. The source is unknown to me, but I will keep it as a reference.

      • A legal loophole?
        Here is a legal maxim:

        Qui peccat ebrius, luat sobrius - He who does wrong when drunk must be punished when sober. (

        Does this mean that someone upon committing a crime (DUI even?) can escape the terrible blow of justice being administer

      • Chinon Parchment to be published?
        It appears as if the Vatican wants to publish the Chinon Parchment at about $8K a copy. Sadly, this is out of my price range. I am guessing, it's for collectors only.

      • Latin word of the day -- RSS feed
        Added RSS feed to Latin word of the day:

        There is also a little JavaScript snippet that allows one to paste the feed without using a reader.

      • Latin Word of the Day
        Added Latin Word of the Day. This should probably be turned into an RSS feed, but I just don't quite feel like dealing with it now.

      • New pattern for the Latin Motto Generator
        Added another pattern to the Latin Motto Generator:

        There are a few other patterns I am considering, but it is difficult to create something that would work with a lot of different words while staying in the realm of plausible mean

      • Law maxims
        Added a list of Latin legal maxims. Still working on it, but it's already a pretty good looking collection. The ability of Latin to state the obvious with force and conviction is unmatched. Horace knew it well :)

      • Vindolanda Tablets

        If this joke must be explained, too bad!
        The real Vindolanda tablets, an amazing collection of Roman writings can be found here:

      • Lorem Ipsum
        As it seems, a lot of people coming to this page are interested in the Latin Motto Generator, but what they really want is a Lorem Ipsum generator! I had to make one: