Sunday, November 25, 2012

Latin in the Real World

I frequently do an assignment in my beginning Latin classes called "Latin in the Real World." I ask my students to collect examples of Latin that they find in their daily lives. This fall I've started collecting images of Latin I find in the real world around me via Instagram. I'll periodically post my images here.

The "Rostrum" dedicated by the 1914 graduating class at the University of Utah. I've been digging around into the history of this senior class gift and will write it up at some point.

Carpe diem! from Horace's (65-8 BCE) Odes 1.11:

"You should not ask (to know is forbidden) what end the gods will give to me or to you, Leuconoe, nor try out Babylonian astrology. Whether Jupiter allots us many more winters or this one last winter, which now wears down the Tyrrhenian sea on the exposed rocks. Be sensible, strain the wine and hold back distant hope for a short time. While we talk, hateful time flies: seize the day, trusting tomorrow as little as possible." (my translation)
Tu ne quaesieris (scire nefas) quem mihi, quem tibi / finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios / temptaris numeros. Vt melius quicquid erit pati! / Seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam, / quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare / Tyrrhenum, sapias, uina liques et spatio breui / spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit inuida / aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. (via the Latin Library)

Semper Fidelis! Always faithful. The United States Marine Corps motto.

Some of the trees on the University of Utah campus have been identified by their Linnaean classification. This system has been used to classify all living things since Carl Linnaeus developed the system in the 18th century. As of this January, the International Botanical Congress has ruled that plant species no longer need to be given Latin names, (read about it here).

Is this really Latin? Who knows what the author intended, but it definitely seems to have a bit of Latin in it. One possible reading, if we read EHAB for ERAB, is "Thracian consider rehab!" Romans weren't perfect spellers and their inscriptions frequently break words at the end of a line, so this would be a reasonable reading, if only it was painted by a Roman!! Maybe it's a message to Spartacus.

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