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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Her-story strikes back

 
Monday, September 22, 2014, 22:47 - Ancient Greek Language, Etymology and word roots
Posted by Administrator
There is a well-known and obviously playful etymological explanation of the word "history" -- "his story," naturally opposed by the seemingly underrepresented "her story." I am completely disinterested in tracing the origins of this smashingly clever jab at traditional historiography. However, there seems to be a more amusing correlation that occurs in the language from which the term 'history' actually comes from, Greek. The roots of ἱστορία (historia) and ὑστέρα (hystera) are very close. (Different systems of reading Ancient Greek words result in slight variations in pronunciation, but the similarity is undeniable.) Now, what does 'hystera' mean? You may recognize the root 'hystera' in words such as 'hysteria' and 'hysterical'. This term is, however, a much later development and will not be discussed here. In Ancient Greek, the word ὑστέρα ('hystera') meant 'womb'. The "his story/her story" opposition is strangely mocked by this proximity of "woman" and "history" in the very language in which historic works first appeared (or so we were taught). The point of this exercise is simple. False etymologies, puns and clever word-plays are not a good source of objective knowledge. At best, they may be used as mnemonic devices.

Extreme makeovers: Ancient style.

 
Friday, October 18, 2013, 15:05 - World History: Ancient, Medieval & Modern
Posted by Administrator


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 had the neighbor's villa completely demolished. On the second day the villa was rebuilt on a much more impressive scale. Marius told the stupefied neighbor that he knew how to defend his interests and how to repay favors.

Marius' immense wealth ended up costing his life. In 33 A.D. the Emperor Tiberius, coveting his riches, had him condemned to death and thrown from the Tarpeian Rock.

Also found in A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities by J. C. McKeown.

Virgil Encyclopedia

 
Sunday, June 16, 2013, 11:12 - Books, dictionaries and texts
Posted by Administrator


My corrections for "The Virgil Encyclopedia" have gone through. A truly worthwhile endeavor. Just wish it was not so expensive! I am lucky to have the PDF proofs for future reference. Sadly, there will not be too many new projects like that resulting in paper books. That time has passed...

"Latin" inscription on a dog bowl

 
Sunday, February 17, 2013, 12:39 - Bad Latin Quote Alerts
Posted by Administrator


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 notice two glaring grammatical errors. Meus and canis are taken in their standard dictionary forms, as is diligo, but the gods of Latin smiled upon the creators of the bowl, because the dictionary form for verbs just happens to be grammatically correct in this context... Diligo meum canem would be much better. As ridiculous as Google Translate is, it would have produced a much more acceptable result.

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