Subscribe

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Fun Latin Stories

Song That’s In Greek

I watched this music video and could not stop laughing! A must watch. (written and performed by PocketOdyssey) Read the rest of this entry »

German Hip Hop and Latin Rap

Here is a must read: a German hip hop band that raps in Latin! Read the rest of this entry »

Nike Goes Gladiator

Take a look at the newest trend in Roman fashion: the gladiator athletic shoe. Read the rest of this entry »

A Roman Holiday – of sorts

 For those of you old enough to remember, this is a blast from the past.  For those of you youngsters, well it might be considered another type of ancient history.  Do you remember the movie “Bill and Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure”?  It spawned an animated TV series where the lead characters travel through time.  In this episode they find themselves doomed to take Latin 101 and travel back to Rome in order to find out how to make the grade.  Corny, but funny.

Caveat Parentes: The episode is preceded by a short underwear commercial.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAnw937ymM0

Sign Reading

The other day one of our third grade Latin students was riding along with her mother as she ran her weekend errands.  As young children tend to do she was reading aloud every single sign that she saw, diligently practicing all of her well-honed reading skills.  Suddenly, she grew particularly excited at the sight of one sign.  “Earth Toys, Mama!  Look, Earth Toys!”  Her mother looked all around, but didn’t see any sign for “Earth Toys.”  “Where?” her mom asked. “I don’t see it.”  The little girl pointed toward a sign the mother had not been able to read.  In large letters the sign spelled out the words “Terra Toys.”  “See, the sign says ‘Earth Toys’ in Latin!” 

Now that’s some good readin’!

Bellum Stellae

OK - it was really cool when Batman spoke Latin. Now watch Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader as they battle over the empire - all in Latin. Read the rest of this entry »

Æsop’s Fables, a wonderful way to read Latin

Aesop, also spelled Æsop, is well known for the many wonderful fables attributed to him.  Most of us grew up hearing these classic tales read to us by our parents and grandparents.  Did you ever realize, however, they were handed down to us via Latin?  Recently, Laura Gibbs stumbled across a 17th century collection of Latin Fables at GoogleBooks.  She is now in the process of digitizing them, one by one, at her Latin Via Fables blog.  These whimsical fables present a marvelous way to draw students into the joys of reading real Latin.  Please visit Laura’s fabulous blog at http://latinviafables.blogspot.com.  The fables will also be included in the daily Bestiaria Latina blog post (which is available by email, in addition to being online): http://bestlatin.blogspot.com/.

A bit more about Aesop:

These famous fables are Aesop’s only literary legacy.  Aesop was a Greek slave who lived c. 620-560 B.C.  Most of his fables involve animals, sometimes interacting with gods and man, in amusing situations.  Each fable serves to teach a moral lesson to its audience.  For a long time oral tradition was responsible for passing down Aesop’s fables from one generation to the next.  It is said that Socrates spent much of his time in prison turning Aesop’s fables into poetic verse.  Another Greek philosopher, Demetrius Phalereus, created the first written collection around 300 B.C.  Phaedrus translated this collection into Latin the first century A.D.

Phaedrus was a Roman fabulist who lived from 15 B.C. – A.D. 50, during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius.  He was born a slave on the Pierian Mountain in Macedonia in the Roman Province of Pydna.  Some scholars believe he was a tutor in the house of Augustus, who granted Phaedrus his freedom.  Phaedrus is best known as the first to Latinize books of fables attributed to Aesop.  He then added his own fables to the collection.  For a time Phaedrus’ work was forgotten.  Around the 10th century A.D., a prose adaptation of Phaedrus’ work was discovered bearing the title “Romulus.”  This collection became quite popular throughout Europe and remained so through the 17th century.  Now with a little technology help from Laura Gibbs, you and your students can enjoy them too.

 

 

 

Arma virumque cano . . .

The famous opening  to Vergil’s Aeneid:  “I sing of arms and a man.”  Truly, this is a line that every Latin scholar must know.  In my classes I often like to introduce each new chapter with such a famous quotation.  Even the youngest of  students seem to really enjoy the opportunity to read bits of real Latin, especially when the author is someone they have learned about in their history studies.  I love to use these quotations as a bonus question on the weekly quiz.  Occassionally, the translations put a new twist on an ancient phrase.  Recently this quotation appeared on a quiz for my third grade class.  The translation one little linguist gave: “I sing of arms and legs.”

priceless

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.”

Why Did I Study Latin?

Well, to tell the truth, my mother made me.  That is the surprising answer people receive when they ask me this question.  As I was entering 7th grade I was given the opportunity to select a foreign language to study.  I wanted to study something “cool” like French because I aspired to be a ballerina.  German was a second choice due to my blood line.  My mother, however, was urging Latin because she felt it would help my English.  As it turned out the French class was full, the German class didn’t make, so when the first day of school came there I sat – stuck in Latin.  I still remember that first day.  My teacher, Mrs. Harris, stood to address the class. 
She began that first class by asking how many of us where there because our mothers had made us sign up.  I sheepishly raised my hand with a few other truthful souls.  She proceeded to encourage us to keep an open mind, we just might be surprised.

Mrs. Harris was right.  Over the next few years I began to discover a world that amazed me.  Latin became more than a language; it was a window into the past.  There I saw an incredible civilization; a people who built a very advanced empire; cities that had running water, lavish fountains, and even indoor plumbing long before society plunged into the dark ages.  I began to read beautiful poetry, passionate orations, comedic plays, and heart-wrenching tragedies; literature that would inspire the world for endless ages.  I toured an empire that seemed to unite the entire world not only by means of its mighty army, but also through the ingenuity of its engineering.  And in these few centuries when all roads led to Rome, something else marvelous happened.  It was in that time period that Jesus Christ, my savior, came into the world.  His life and teachings have undoubtedly affected our world more than any other individual.  Yet it seemed to me that this treasury of knowledge had been buried in the past.  Through reading Latin I found that I had the ability to connect with these events not through the pages of a history book, but by reading the first hand accounts of the men and women who witnessed these people, these places, these events themselves.  To read the military accounts of Julius Caesar as he conquered the Gauls, the letters of Pliny as he recorded the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, or the apologetics written by Tertullian as he defended his faith; to read their words written thousands of years ago gave me goose bumps – and it still does.  For I know that I am reading not someone else’s interpretation or account of what they think these men said or did, but I am reading the very words they wrote.  I am seeing history through their eyes.  This is why I fell in love with Latin.  Latin brings history to life.  And I am forever grateful to my mother who made me sit in that first Latin class so long ago.