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.

Cuil search - first results lack lustre

Monday, July 28, 2008, 13:04 - Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans, Reviews
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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
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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.

Latin quote from 'Braveheart': Ego numquam pronunciare mendacium, sed ego sum homo indomitus

Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 15:53 - Bad Latin Quote Alerts, Latin Translation
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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, seem to be not so good Latin. Which is a shame, because there is no doubt that some people found this quote appealing and as a result chose to feature it on their skin (off all places!).

Some reasons that should make it clear why the Latin is substandard.

1. Pronunciare is an infinitive. Why the infinitive was chosen is beyond me, especially because a standard form found in Latin dictionaries (pronuncio, 1st sing, Present Active) would have looked a lot more plausible. There is no reason here for Historic Infinitive and I just cannot think of any other explanation other that someone's attempt to translate into Latin something like "I am not to tell lies."

2. Nowhere in Latin literature, both Classical and Medieval, the words pronuncio mendacium can be found. This expression simply was never used by anyone, even though it is quite understandable to anyone who spent some time learning Latin.

3. Nowhere in Latin literature the words "homo indomitus" can be found. This is clearly a made-up way of locution that has no precedents.

4. The word order in the second half of the quote seems unnatural. The "Ego" is also quite redundant.

This post is a part of my "bad Latin quote alert" efforts. Unless you find confirmation from a Latinist much better than yours truly, please only use the quote in question with full knowledge of its erroneous nature.

Codex Sinaiticus Online

Monday, July 21, 2008, 20:02 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Ancient Greek Language
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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 and the manuscript - the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity - is of supreme importance for the history of the book.

This Website will go live on July 24, 2008

Truly, a marvelous codex. I saw it in London. Now we can all have our own printouts, I hope. I wonder if it is going to show up on Google Books :)

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