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Favorite Latin Phrases

Batman Speaks Latin!

The other day my son and I were watching an episode of the Justice League when to our surprise Batman turned to Green Arrow and said, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”  Green Arrow immediately responded “Who guards the guardians?  We’ve got it covered.”  Batman and Green Arrow conversing in Latin – how much cooler can it get?  Batman, a superhero known for his intellectual prowess as much as his physical abilities, was wielding a famous Latin quotation.  A quotation that came down through the ages from Plato’s Republic, a work that addresses government and morality in government.  I have to confess that these two characters have always been two of my favorite superheroes (along with Wonder Woman); mere mortals who worked hard to train their minds and bodies.  But now I have a whole new level of admiration!

  • The Justice League epidsode referenced in this post is titled “Divided We Fall.” 
  • This Latin quotation was also the inspiration behind Alan Moore’s title for the comic series “Watchmen.” 
  • “Who Watches the Watchers?” was also the title of an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis

“Education Guardian of the State”

longhorns09a2A proud mommy moment recently occurred.  My sister and I, both alumnae of the University of Texas (my father was an alumnus), took my son to watch the Longhorns take on and defeat the Aggies.  This was his first college game and I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic as I watched him give the “hook ’em horns” salute while the band played “The Eyes of Texas.”  It was a moment.

What does this have to do with Latin, you may ask.  Well, everything has something to do with Latin somehow.  Like many other colleges and universities around the world my alma mater has a Latin motto, Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis.  You may have noticed it in the subject line.  Many families have a college sports team they like to rally around.  Perhaps your school, like mine, has been attended by multiple generations.  Next time you prepare to put on the ol’ school colors and rally behind the team, why not also look into your alma mater‘s Latin motto.  You are certain to find it on the college or university web page.  Here is another link that might help you get started.  It includes mottoes for colleges and universities around the world!

p.s. (post scriptum):

Did you notice the other collegiate Latin terms I used in italics? 

alumnus means a pupil

alma mater means nourishing mother