Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


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Deus ex machina

 
Thursday, July 31, 2008, 17:16 - Best Latin Quotes, Words of Wisdom, Proverbs and Sayings
Posted by Administrator
Deus ex machina
God from a machine


"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 juncture."

This is perhaps one of the most famous Latin phrases employed as a term of literary criticism. Funny thing about it is that the exact phrase "deus ex machina" cannot be found in a single work of either Classical or Medieval Latin. Instead, the source of the expression is Greek: ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός. This most certainly was a term used by Greek theorists (including Plato and Aristotle). Apparently, Renaissance Latin translations of their works made such an impression that the term was retained henceforth. Oddly enough, the Latin term is now sometimes used in English translations of Greek authors (the quote is once again from Belton):

In Plato's Cratylus, 425, Socrates says (Jowett's translation): "That objects should be limited, and find an expression in letters and syllables, may appear ridiculous, Hermogenes, but this cannot be helped — there is no better principle to which we can look for the truth of first names. Deprived of this, we must have recourse to a Deus ex machina, like the tragic poets, who have their gods suspended in the air; and we must get out of the difficulty in their fashion by saying that the gods gave the first names, and therefore they are right."

Greek Alphabet

 
Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 20:07 - Ancient Greek Language
Posted by Administrator
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

 
Monday, July 28, 2008, 13:04 - Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
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 that offers this kind of service. My site came up on the second page of the search results. And the pages were not even relevant! Just a few of my pages with Latin phrases and links. And they claimed that their index is three times the size of Google. I think I will wait a while before changing my default page.

Obama amabo - An amusing wordplay

 
Friday, July 25, 2008, 13:29 - Jokes and anecdotes
Posted by Administrator

OBAMA AMABO



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 attempt should have been made to put Obama in the Accusative (pretty simple - Obamam), but this would have destroyed the palindrome. On the other hand, this name could very easily be taken to be indeclinable, because it's foreign and all that... Since then, the candidate has enraged the general public and, I must assume, enthralled Latinists with the whole vero possumus business. I won't make any comments on that, my purpose here is merely to report the technopaegnia.

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