ricardienne: (library)
Suetonius, Lives of the Grammarians and Rhetors 22
Marcus Pomponius Porcellus, a supremely annoying enforcer of the Latin Language, kept on attacking a grammatical error made by his opponent in a certain trial (for he sometimes pled cases), so vociferously that Cassius Severus appealed to the judges and asked for a recess so that his client could bring in another grammarian, since he now thought he wouldn't be disputing with his opponent about a point of law but of usage.

This same Porcellus, when he had criticized a word in a speech of Tiberius and Ateius Capito affirmed that it was Latin and if it wasn't it certainly soon would be, then said: "Capito's lying. For you can give citizenship to men, Caesar, but you can't give it to words."
ricardienne: (heiro)
Once upon a time, I discovered a small fragment of something I called the Attoliad. While poking around in the donated books in the department library and procrastinating, I seem to have found another fragment of historical epic, although in the altera lingua.

mild spoilers for King of Attolia )
ricardienne: (christine)
So I bought a cheap OCT of Catullus, on the grounds that I should probably have a real text of it; I have a 1980 printing, used, that originally belonged to Kami Lanette, who annotated really a lot in pencil; a really surprising amount, because most of it is vocabulary that someone who is taking a class that requires the OCT instead of an elementary textbook version shouldn't need to look up.

But anyway, I've been erasing as I read, but Kami annotated one line in the whole text with blue pen. What is indelibly and painstakingly translated in my text, you wonder? pedicabo ego uos et irrumabo. Unsure whether this is a giant 'pedicabo ego uos et irrumabo' to the tradition of classical education that preferred to translate both verbs as "commit indecent acts" or to omit the line altogether. I think I shall prefer to think that it is!


May. 12th, 2010 09:19 am
ricardienne: (tacitus)
Because I am not a moron, I stand firmly on the side of mockery when it comes to theories like "Thucydides was so bitter and lonely sitting out the Peloponnesian War in Thrace that he became pathologically unable to write intelligible Greek" or "Tacitus was so traumatized by Domitian's principate that he could only express himself in equally tortured Latin."

But Lucan? I think there was something wrong with that guy. His syntax is as tortured and mangled as the bodies are -- and the bodies keep getting more and more grotesquely over the top tortured. Poking out Marius' eyeballs; picking over dead bodies trying to match up a severed head with the right neck; bodies damming up the Tiber; rivers of blood breaking through the dam. It's so horrible that I can't stop reading (book 2)!
ricardienne: (Default)
Tutoring is not a good time to completely mix up one's languages. Or: [livejournal.com profile] ricardienne taught her student the Latin word for "intoxication" because she was somehow convinced that she knew it was the word for "toad." (Stupid French...)

However I can now conclude the following about Things That Do Not Interest And Do Interest Middle School Boys:

Things Not of Interest to Middle School Boys (no snickering: these things would totally have interested my brother when he was in eighth grade!):
-The loss of traditional senatorial freedom under the principate.
-Writers, patronage and tyranny.
-Really clever subversion of the stupid sentences in the book.
-Julius Caesar with zombies (I don't know why he didn't like that one).

Things of Interest to Middle School Boys:
-Sentences with words that sound vaguely dirty in English.

Okay, so I should have known that already.

For reasons unknown to me, I've been translating "Who's on First" into Latin -- it works quite well, if I do say so myself. Most of the declarative/indirect question issues go away if you make it colloquial enough that the verb drops, and then the joke works just as well in any language. In the process, I came across a "Shakespearean" version, which is also pretty awesome and hilarious.
ricardienne: (Default)
One of my theoretically favorite things is a ancient language lessons. I kind of like Greek-Latin colloquia a lot.

There are nice little scenes about getting up and ready for school:

Before it's light I woke up; I rose from bed, I sit, I took my socks and shoes; I put my shoes on. I ordered water for my face; I wash my hands first, then I washed my face. I dried myself; I left my bedroom; I took a tunic for my body; I belted myself. I annointed my head and I combed it, I put my cloak around my neck. I put on my white over-garment on top. I went out of the room with my tutor and my nurse to greet Father and Mother. I greeted them both and kissed them. And then I went from the house. Thence to school. I entered, I said "good morning, Teacher," and he kissed me and greet me in return. My clerical boy set up my tablets, my writing case, and my notes. I sat in my place, and wiped them clean.

(That last sentence? I emended the Latin myself before translating. loco meo sedeos deleo to loco meo sedens deleo (Or: loco meo sedi et deleo: I don't know which would be more plausible in terms of textual corrupting, but the former is a closer match to the Greek.) Then there's a cute(if slightly prissy) bit with a classmate (not entirely sure about the meaning: the words obviously have precise meanings which my dictionaries, not equipped for late antique colloquial usage, do not know, plus there are some clear corruptions again, but I think it's something like this):

I take notes on the lesson; when I have written, I show it to the teacher. He corrects; begins, orders me to read. So ordered, I give the lesson to another. I learn the explanation, I tell it back. But then a classmate started to present to me. "And you," he said, "now present to me." I said to him: "recite [for the teacher?] first," And he said to me: "Didn't you see, when I was reciting before you?" And I said: "you're lying: you didn't recite." "I'm not lying." "If you're telling the truth, I'll present." Meanwhile, on the teacher's order the little boys rise for their ABCs, and one of the older boys shows them syllables, others recite in order to a subordinate teacher, they write [= decline?] nouns, have written [=have done metrical analysis of?] verses, and I take dictation/the contest in the first rank. Then, when we have sat, I read over commentaries, languages, technique. Called to the lecture, I listen to descriptions, meanings, characteres. When questioned, I respond artfully. "Toward whom?" [the teacher] asks. "What part of speech?" I decline groups of nouns; I parse verses. When we've done this, [the teacher] dismisses us for lunch. Dismissed, I come home. I change, I take white bread, olives, cheese, figs, nuts. I drink cold water. When I've eaten, I go back again to school. I find the teacher reading, and he says, "begin from the beginning."

There also seem to be a number of scenes about buying and preparing food for a dinner party, culminating in this obsessive dialogue over his friend arriving late:

-What else do you want?
-Only this, boy: go to Gaius and say to him "come; we're already washing up." Go! Run! Do it quickly: not slowly but even faster! Were you with him?
-I was.
-Where was he?
-He was sitting at home.
-And what was he doing?
-And what did he say?
-"I'm waiting for my [friends, people]. When they come, I'll follow."
-Go back and tell him: "everyone is here." Come back with him. And you all, meanwhile, set out the glass and bronze carefully. Sweep the dining room and throw the water outside. I want to see you [working] like young men.
-We've swept now. Everything is ready.
-He hasn't come yet? Go, tell him: "you're making us eat late."
-Look: he's coming.
-Go meet him. He was coming after all. Ask him: "why are you standing outside?

And of course, the day ends with going to bed: I think this one makes more sense with the main speaker as an adult (i.e. the one giving the dinner party), but it's also more hilarious as the prissy schoolboy. (And why is there only one slave at the beginning but more than one at the end? Why is sleeping outside a privilege and inside a punishment?)

Come, boy, gather up these things; put everything in its place. Arrange the bed carefully.
-We've done it.
-And it's still this hard?
-We beat it out and softened the mattress.
-But since you did it lazily, and it had to be done, let no one spend the night outside [the room?], or be an idiot. If I hear a sound out of anyone, I won't spare him. Take heed, go to sleep, and wake me at cockcrow so I can go out.

...I've just spent two hours translating random bits of nothing.
ricardienne: (Default)
The Sun tries to explain the Latin joke in Life of Brian. And gets the translation of the bad Latin, and the correct Latin, wrong.

ricardienne: (library)
I've been wasting a huge amount of time these days translating in Facebook lingua latina (I'm now in the top 10 translators). It's frustrating that the format precludes a lot of really elegant constructions (because it works mainly by plugging things into set phrases, none of which things can be declined properly), but I did pull off a double dative just now.
ricardienne: (Default)
I know that there were, and have been, and will be, far worse existences than the successful and surviving Roman senator under Domitian. Nevertheless, Tacitus gets me every time, with lines like "We would have lost our memories, too, with our voice, if it had only been as much in our power to forget as to be silent" and "under Domitian, the worst part of our suffering was to see and be watched, when even our sighs were written down."

I just figured out this evening that Agricola (that's what I was quoting above), is framed by the deaths and T.'s guilt over complicity in said deaths of Rusticus and Senecio, previous historian-biographers executed under Domitian for praising a previous generation of senatorial martyrs. I'm not sure whether, given that both Agricola and Tacitus did pretty well under Domitian, the implied comparison is squickily self-serving, or a figured jab at the so-called return of liberty under Nerva and Trajan. Obviously, I lean toward the latter, I think.

But the point is that hunting down the tragic Rusticus and Senecio led me to Pliny's letters, namely 1.5, which is mainly about how Pliny dealt with Regulus, a particularly nasty informer both under Domitian, when Regulus tried to make him incriminate himself, and post-Domitian, when Regulus is trying to regain his friendship and make amends, and Pliny can't decide whether or not to let him. (Among Regulus' nastiness was severe mockery of both Rusticus and Senecio after their deaths.) But what's weird is how little bitterness there seems to be in Pliny, and how little it seems to matter that half of the people he cites were killed, with the complicity of the other half (at least per Tacitus). This is probably why people don't tend to care for Pliny, I suppose: How can you record memorable sayings and bon mots when the context is people executed and exiled? (Heck: how can you contemplate resuming amicable relations with someone who tried to get you executed or exiled?) But yes, I do find it hard to read: people getting executed by tyrants is not okay, and is serious, and is HORRIBLE. Tacitus using them literarily is already a little difficult. In Pliny, where they are just a fact of life it's even worse.
ricardienne: (snail)
Now, Wm. Kristol has for a long time been making David Brooks look like a rational, in-touch-with-reality pundit. Particularly since the former appears to have gone so far off the deep end as to be in the Marianas trench over Sarah Palin.

My impression of Kristol is one of extreme deviousness. I tend to think that he is putting on a "populist who cares about conservative causes" appearance in order to get (neo-)cons in power, which will serve whatever end it is that he ultimately has in view.

In that light,Monday's column". Infuriating, but at least I have to give Kristol credit for constructing a complex persona.

These are the relevant portions; the body of the essay is a (typical) attack on pointy-headed intellectual elites who want intellectual control of public discourse, whereas we should trust to the popular common sense of the ordinary, hard-working patriotic American:

Conservatives’ hearts have always beaten a little faster when they read Horace’s famous line: “Odi profanum vulgus et arceo.” “I hate the ignorant crowd and I keep them at a distance.”

But is the ignorant crowd really our problem today? Are populism and anti-intellectualism rampant in the land? Does the common man too thoroughly dominate our national life? I don’t think so.
One of those people is Joe Wurzelbacher, a k a Joe the Plumber. He’s the latest ordinary American to do a star turn in our vulgar democratic circus. He seems like a sensible man to me.

And to Peggy Noonan, who wrote that Joe “in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made.” At least McCain and Palin have had the good sense to embrace him. I join them in taking my stand with Joe the Plumber — in defiance of Horace the Poet.

But really, what is going on here? Ostensibly Kristol is revealing the Secret Elite Code (and he even translates it for us!) in order to repudiate it. But first of all, who is Horace? Horace is the (affluent, intellectual, elite) poet who condemns the wealthy and elite in favor of the blue-toga simple, real Roman farmer who works hard and returns to his simple hearth and simple hearth gods. In fact, vulgus in Roman Ode I turns out to be a play on vulgus: not the common crowd that the elites want to avoid, but the uninitiated crowd of materialist elites who lack the common sense of Josephus ille Plumbarius. Kristol is actually therefore himself identified with Horace (elite who condemns elite).

Second, who is Kristol? And who is the kind of person who quotes Horace? Latin poetry is currently the provenance, mostly, of intellectuals (cf. my angst last night), the kind of people who are out of touch with popular common sense. Historically, Latin poetry, and Horace in particular, is the provenance of a political elite. This is Kristol's point, but he can't help but be implicated in this elitism by his citation. Horace does not need to be brought up in order to condemn the pointy-headed intellectuals. What it seems to do is establish Kristol's intellectual cred among the people who can appreciate a Horace quote, (namely: intellectual elites), and establish his authority among people who can't (i.e. the common man) through his ability to pull quotes from the Canon out of the air and incorporate the Classics into his intellectual thought. Either way, Kristol ends up staged utterly as an elite, and as an elite depending on and using his intellectual elitism.
ricardienne: (heiro)

siue accuratam meditatamque profert orationem, est quoddam sicut ipsius dictionis ita gaudii pondus et constantia; siue nouam et recentem curam non sine trepidatione animi attulerit, ipsa sollicitudo commedat euentum et lenocinatur uoluptati; sed extemporalis audaciae atque ipsius temeritates uel praecipua iucunditas est. nam in ingenio sicut in agro, quamquam quaedam serantur atque elaborentur, gratiora tamen quae sua sponte nascuntur.


Sep. 28th, 2008 07:49 pm
ricardienne: (Default)
nonulli ficta et haec et multa praeterea existumabant ab eis qui Ciceronis inuidiam quae posteat orta est leniri credebant atrocitate sceleris eorum qui poenas dederant.

Oh, Sallust, how sneaky you are!
ricardienne: (Default)
So: in spite of being apparently a crucial source for 10th century Italy and Rome, no one has translated Eugenius Vulgarius? No one has even done an edition since the 19th century Germans? This edition is somehow not available on google, or from any library I can connect to?

EXCEPT: THE DMGH IS DIGITAL: and it's mostly in Latin, not German (n.b. to self nonetheless: learn German soon). AND IT HAS EUGENIUS!

I was mainly interested in his letter to Theodora, but he has some nifty word squares and triangles, some things that might be riddles, basic syllogisms in hexameter. But I really need to go to bed.
ricardienne: (Default)
Catholicon Anglicum. An English-Latin dictionary c.1483 (OMG Richard III's dictionary?).
ricardienne: (Default)
Old-school classicists make me laugh. In his earnest attempt to vindicate Lucretius V.1308-1340 as not the product of insanity (the article he cites dates from 1926 -- the fact that people were still taking the love potion story seriously so late boggles as well), dear R.B. Onians mentions, among other rather far-fetched examples, that "The Royal Welch Fusiliers have enjoyed the protection of a live goat down to the present day."

Is this perhaps a vague source for Aberforth's goat? (Isn't Godric's Hollow in Wales?)


Also, consider this explanatory note:
ille. Force of pronoun is conveyed by Burns' phrase "yon birkie ca'd a lord."

On the plus side, I now know what a "birkie" is -- and the OED even cited that exact Burns line as explanatory. Further on the plus side, I feel that Jeeves must have had a hand in the writing of these notes. On the minus side, although I agree that "yon birkie ca'd a lord" might accurately describe the (supposed) antecedent of "ille," I'm not clear on how "ille" inherently gives that impression: for me, it's rather the whole 8-line passage.


Oct. 29th, 2006 07:11 pm
ricardienne: (Default)
I didn't do much at all today, but I did make it to the library to check last night's translation. It was instructive. Instructive as to how little a grasp I have of Latin idiom at all. But now I can produce a slightly better version:

not of general interest )
ricardienne: (snail)
Courtesy of Cicero's second Catilinarian: "How can these men endure the Apennines and that hoar-frost and snow? Unless they think perhaps that they will bear winter more easily because they have learnt to dance naked at banquets!" (In the original: "Quo autem pacto illi Apenninum atque illas pruinas ac nivis perferent? Nisi iddcirco se facilius hiemem toleraturos putant, quod nudi in conviviis salter didicerunt!")

So I found that NAXOS has the Globe cd set in their catalog -- my day is made.

And now more Latin-y things. I was poking around Pliny's letters this afternoon, and I found this one, which seems really neat. But I can't find an English translation of Book VII on-line, and I am too lazy to go to the library to check one out. Thereofore, I must translate for myself (oh the horror!):

Book VII, Letter 20 -- original Latin and my translation )

Tomorrow I may have to go and find a good translation; I am very uncertain about a bunch of places, and, well, I am generally sloppy. (If any of you want to correct my mistakes, I'll
"bear reproofs patiently" (and gratefully!))

As I said, I was browsing, and the first couple of sentences caught my eye. I love the idea of Pliny and Tacitus "peer-reviewing" so to speak, each other's work, for one thing. But it's also the friendship that comes through here (and in the other letters I've read (in English) from Pliny to Tacitus). Yes, it is a little overwrought, and perhaps I am a bit too sentimental, but I was getting a fuzzy, happy feeling the entire time I was working on it. I've been thinking a lot about letters, recently, too, and friendship, and whether or not I'm a "good" friend and so on, so it struck a chord there.

Of course this is a letter meant to be read for posterity, and so it doesn't probably reflect reality completely, but it seems to me such a perfect declaration of friendship. Although they do seem to have been close friends, and they were certainly colleagues. I think that's part of it. I really like Tacitus, and I rather like Pliny, and the idea that two writers whom I tend to think of as abstract authors were interacting regularly and in a friendly way is wonderful and amazing. I wish more of the Histories were extant, so I could see how Tacitus incorporated the account Pliny the Elder's death that Pliny gave him, and see whether he included Pliny's smackdown of Bæbius Massa. Damn it -- WHY did the library at Alexandria have to burn?
ricardienne: (augustine)
I'm almost done with Book I of Bello Gallico. I guess that's a good thing, and maybe I can even get through Book II as well before I go back to school. I'm even starting to get sucked into the 'Roman Myth' by now -- One million Gauls killed and one million more enslaved notwithstanding. (Or rather, withstanding, but not while I'm translating the exploits of the supremely competent and scrupulous C. Iulius.) I am, however, a rather docile reader. But this isn't what I really want to be doing Latin-wise. It isn't that I'm not enjoying Caesar, but why can't I just be good enough to read what I want to read? I hate being a beginner. I want to read Tacitus and Augustine, and I don't want to have to wait another year or so until I've learned enough to manage unusually obstrust Silver Latin, damn it!

I am definitely in a period of Tacitus obsession right now. I got a few books from the library, and I've been mildly depressed the last few days thinking about how no one is eer going to be able to read all of the Annals or the Histories. Ever. It's horrible. Unless someone discovers a palimpsest or a book in a bog or something. A really really early one, I might add.
ricardienne: (chord)
Is what I should have quipped in Latin, today while we were doing Ovid, but I only managed it in English. Oh, well. Next time, I shall be prepared and be brave enough to attempt a joke in lingua originale.

We had our concert tonight; it wasn't too bad, although something weird happened in the Wagner and M. and I got off by a beat, but I don't think anyone (in the audience, that is) noticed. We had a big crowd this time: probably two dozen entire people.

My lesson was moderately okay-awful. But D. mentioned a possible Monteverdi opera this semester that she recommended me for. Which would be unbelievably awesome if I actually got to do. It would probably make up for the less-than-wonderful orchestra experience this year.

It's funny: the more things I tick off towards break starting, the guiltier I feel about feeling that I'm off the hook. I have to meet with two professors tomorrow, one about a paper and one "just to catch up on things" (which is possibly even scarier), to go to Latin & French tables, to practice at least my 1 reserved hour -- plus my ~45 minutes in the morning -- and go to lit class. And I should do laundry. Well, and I need to print my boarding pass and pack. But that shouldn't take long, as I'm not bringing anything except my laptop, my bow, the books that I'll need, and maybe some socks and underwear (must check with my mother concerning whether or not I have any underwear still at home).

Lit class should be fun, though. We don't have another paper for quite a while, and we're doing Inferno. This is pure pleasure, to go and talk about Dante. I am having a few issues with this distinction between "the Dante Pilgrim" and "the Dante Poet," however. Not that I can't see that there is a difference. But when I hear "Dante Poet," I think of an anonymous author. We talk about the Pearl Poet, and the Beowulf Poet, and, more frequently, in art, the Master of the St Cecilia Altarpiece. But the Dante Poet: we know who he is; in fact, he is who he is. This sounds like we only know him as the author of the poem about Dante. Although, I suppose, one could ask to what extend Dante did create himself in the Divine Comedy. There's all of that weird, cyclical allusion to his fame, which only came after the publication of the work, and his status as a great poet, as which he wasn't recognized until he wrote Divine Comedy. So maybe it is appropriate to think of the person who wrote the poem as the "creator of Dante Alighieri," and hence, the Dante Poet.

I got my mid-term crite sheet today. Among other (fairly nice) things, the professor noted that although I am "quick to notice argumentative holes," I "avoid ad hominem attacks." This is pretty ironic, considering the amount of literally ad hominem attacking I do (to (some) of these same people) when I'm talking to friends or in this journal. My second thought was that perhaps this is a hint that I am verging on this sort of thing in class. Although I really don't think I am, and I'm pretty sure this professor would not try to correct it in such a round-about way if I were. I don't think I've made an ad hominem attack on anyone in a serious argument/discussion since Professor Umbridge's class high school government. And even then, if it was ad hominemn, it was also most certainly in absentia. And, I would argue that it wasn't really ad hominem (let's see how many times I can use the phrase in this paragraph, shall we?), because, in spite of what Professor Umbridge the teacher may have said, my comment was that someone who thinks he has a direct link to the deity is mentally unstable and therefore not fit to be president, which, although it is flippant and perhaps offensive, is not irrelevant to a discussion of whether or not one should re-elect Bush. /defensiveness.
ricardienne: (augustine)
Dear P., A.,

If you are going to cancel rehearsal, it's good procedure to LET THE REST OF THE GROUP know. It is, incidentally, very bad form to make your cellist schlep her cello (uphill) across campus, up two steep flights of stairs to class, down the same, farther across campus, and all the way back for nothing, particularly when it is snowing. Just a heads up.

T. and I got to whine about the conservatory in Latin this morning, which was quite fun. Granted, it got pretty stilted when we wanted to get more specific than "they aren't friendly" and "they capture all of the practice rooms." But even so, it was good to get some of these negative feelings out. I was rather pleased that I was able to find a practical use for all that capturing that is always being done in our examples, I did get horribly tongue-tied on "amicabiliores" (as in "non amicabilis sunt, sed alii aliis amicabiliores").

I really need to write my essay on Frankenstein. Why the hell am I so paralyzed over this? I know what I'm writing about, and I know that I don't have a huge amount of time to do it, so why the procrastination?


ricardienne: (Default)

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