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.

SPQR - Latin app for iPhone & iPad (Review)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 01:26 - Latin Language, Software
Posted by Administrator
I recently decided to purchase an iPhone app called SPQR. The program is supposed to be a reader for popular Latin texts with English translations, along with Lewis & Short and Whitaker's Words, as well as some other tools. Based on the reviews published on I fully expected my experience to be equally positive. However, I am saddened to report that most, if not all, expectations for the app have not been met. On the whole, the relatively high price ($5.99) creates a false assumption that the program is both rich in features and these features are well implemented. Perhaps the mere number of features is satisfactory, but as far as implementation goes, there are too many problems. In my opinion, the program is still in beta version. I shall explain.

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't even a way to go back and forth between the reader and any other part of the app.

2. No bookmarks. One must physically scroll down to get to where they were.

3. The translations are not line by line. Instead, if one clicks on the "Translate" button the program displays the very beginning of the section. Lets say, one is reading Aeneid 1.459 and wants to see the translation. Good news, the first line of the translation is just a click away! Worst of all, if you click on the same button again to return to Latin you will discover that you have now lost your place in the book. It's going to be Arma virumque ad nauseam.

4. The texts used for the app appear to be substandard. Virgil failed my usual test for classroom usability. Eclogue 9.39 reads "Huc ades, o Galarea" instead of "huc ades, o Galatea." This text is not what students ever see in their OCT, Teubner, Loeb -- what have you. It is simply one of those texts that float around on the Internet. The need to seriously address the lack of good public domain texts has so far prevented me personally from compiling a library of portable Latin classics.

5. It is impossible to import books in ePub or any other format.

6. In my personal opinion, Latin texts are best displayed in a format that resembles Bible readers. Classicists like to look up lines and verses.

As it stands now, I have payed six dollars for an app that is not even usable. I could simply download a bunch of public domain ePubs on my iPhone and get all the benefits of well designed free book readers (I already have a L&S app). It would be great to find out that a new version of the program will be released soon, and that all necessary features will have been implemented, and then some. So far, it looks like this time around the Romans really did go home. If you intend to help out the developer of SPQR, go ahead, but if you are saving your lunch money for a quality app, I would not recommend this one.

Medical Latin gone awry

Monday, June 20, 2011, 12:41 - Bad Latin Quote Alerts
Posted by Administrator

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 thing to suffer from, especially because, according to my Internet research, she was the only person ever to have this condition! You will find this "procedeulia" mentioned in many a book concerning the Salem trials, and future scholars will undoubtedly attempt to use the term in their books. Why not? Sounds very learned! The problem is, of course, that when in the 19th century all the records pertaining to the Salem Witchcraft trials were transcribed, this particular word fell victim to the transcriber's poor knowledge of Latin. The term used in the original documents must have been procedentia ani (more often seen as procidentia ani), which basically means rectal prolapse. You can look it up, if you will. For now, a fragment of "Examination of a Witch" by Thompkins H. Matteson shall suffice as an illustration of examination practices used by Puritan doctors and ministers. It is certainly my hope that future Salem witchcraft trials researchers will show some curiosity and not merely copy stuff from old books.

See also:
Medical Latin terms and phrases

Triple, Quarduple, Quintuple... What else? Latin numerals in English.

Saturday, April 23, 2011, 15:24 - Latin Derivatives, Roots, Word Origins
Posted by Administrator

Fun with numbers and with Latin at the same time? Perhaps...
For everyone's convenience, a list of "uple" derivatives:

The Uple List

Toyota Prius goes plural and goes wrong?

Saturday, February 12, 2011, 13:53 - Bad Latin Quote Alerts, Latin Language
Posted by Administrator

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 corporate hijacking of Latin grammar cause some sort of public outrage?

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