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.

How to read books in Latin

Friday, November 9, 2007, 14:39 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Language, Reviews, Software
Posted by Administrator
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 ridiculous to even talk about the many sites where you can download Virgil, Ovid, Catullus, Cicero, Sallust - you name it. For years I have been using Casio E100 - probably the first full color PDA that every came out (Windows CE). I still have it and it works great, except there is just not enough memory (16mb) and dealing with serial connections in the world of USB is kinda silly. So, not too long ago I upgraded to T-Moble MDA (aka HTC Wizard, if I am not mistaken) - A Windows Mobile device. I have a 2gb card in it, so there is a lot of space for my books. I also have a 4gb card, but apparently I have to wait for a firmware update in order for MDA to support mini SD cards over 2 gb. Something about the limitations of the file system... Anyway, I use a program called Haali Reader. It supports a lot of different formats. You can even open compressed files with it. Of course, there are many readers out there, and I have a few of them installed on my MDA: Mobipocket, AlReader. However, Haali has one very neat feature. You can make a simple dictionary and go to it with a tap of a stylus (or a finger, really) if you just can't remember some rare word. I don't have a very good Latin dictionary in plain text format, but I used one of those wordlists that have been floating around for years. It's been somewhat helpful, although personally I would not mind some "real" Latin dictionary. Maybe I will compile something one day using one of the old Latin dictionaries that are starting to appear in the public domain.

Now, there is also a program called Antiquarium which is supposed to work on any Windows Mobile device with TLG and PHI. I am a lucky owner of PHI (and so should be anyone who is into Latin at all, because it only cost me $50). Unfortunately, the demo version of Antiquarium for Windows Mobile did not seem to work on my device.

So, that's the present. In the future I hope to upgrade to one of the Sony Readers. Like the currently available Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System. I am not too crazy about the quality, but I am sure it will improve. Most likely, I will wait for a technological breakthrough, just like in the case with Casio E100. The biggest advantage of this device would be easy access to PDF files. This would probably solve all my ebooks-related problems once and for all.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Wednesday, November 7, 2007, 12:20 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Language, Latin Translation
Posted by Administrator
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 ulcers" (Taleef shereef or Indian materia medica, Oxford 1833, p. 161).

Magorium, of course, is a latinized form of 'Mogra', which is a name of a town in India. However, it is probably rather pointless to speculate on the significance of Mr. Magorium's name, since it is probably supposed to be reminiscent of 'magus'. Just another somewhat Potterian Latin-sounding concoction.

"Words", or Latin dictionary misnamed

Wednesday, November 7, 2007, 08:22 - Latin Language, Software, Latin Translation
Posted by Administrator
I am becoming more conscious of the importance of well-formed names for software titles. Particularly, because Whitaker's program, the interface for which I once humbly created, is properly called William Whitaker's Words. This name does not reflect the fact that the program is essentially a dictionary, but more importantly that it deals with Latin. It could be anything. Mr. Whitaker's reflections on life, an English vocabulary game, a word processor rivaling Microsoft Word, an English dictionary... Very frustrating.
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Wheelock's Latin Reader vs. 'Aeneas to Augustus'

Sunday, November 4, 2007, 01:01 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Language, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
Quite often people seek advice regarding a good intermediate Latin reader. My suggestion:

'Aeneas to Augustus' by Mason Hammond, Anne Amory, HUP 1967.

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.

Wheelock's Reader has a limited number of writers, and the commentaries are somewhat scarce. It is still an excellent reader, but it is somewhat less rewarding, in my opinion.

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