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Latin Tuesday

Today’s Latin Tuesday lessons courtesy of Ken from Conshohocken, PA and Lt. Col. White from Virginia:


Trojian Erat.

“Troy was.”

Aeneas has fled Troy as the Greeks enter. He sees his servant and asks, “How is Troy?” The servant responds, “Trojian Erat.”

In foreign affairs sometimes simply clarity is required. As Ken Adelman said discussing Pres. Reagan at Reykjavik, Reagan had a strategy to end the cold war: We win; they lose. Simply clarity. Ceasefires do not end wars. Victory does.

Lt. Col. White:

“Namque coepere nobilitas dignitatem, populus libertatem in lubidinem vortere, sibi quisque ducere, trahere, rapere. Ita omnia in duas partes abstracta sunt, res publica, quae media fuerat, dilacerata.”

“The patricians carried their authority, and the people their liberty, to excess; every man took, snatched, and seized what he could. There was a complete division into two factions, and the republic was torn in pieces between them.”

The Latin quote comes from Sallust and describes domestic politics after the destruction of Carthage. This situation bears some alarming similarities to the post-Cold War US.

Fred Hiatt on the consequences of America’s disengagement around the world

As mentioned by Bill on the show this morning:

Latin Tuesday

Virgil, Aeneid 1.461-462:

Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi;
sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.

“Here too virtue has its rewards, here too

there are tears for events, and mortal things touch the heart.”

Aeneas is observing a mural in Dido’s palace depicting the destruction of Troy. He comments that the fall of the great city is known and felt throughout the world. Similarly, when tragedies like the MH17 plane crash happen, the power of mass communication allows us to grieve over the event, even at a distance. This is also one of Bill’s favorite quotes.

Latin Tuesday

Obstipuisteteruntque comae et vox faucibus haesit. (Virgil, Aeneid, 2.774)

“I was astonished with fear, my hairs stood on end, and my voice caught in my throat.”
This is how Aeneas reacted to the burning of his hometown of Troy. It is what many Americans say as they hear the horror stories coming from the southern border. 

Latin Tuesday

From Pliny The Younger 35.36:

Non dies sine linea

“No day without a line”

This line is in reference to a painter who surpassed all other painters of his time. No day would pass where he wouldn’t paint something in order to ensure that his skill remained sharper than anyone else’s.

Latin Tuesday

Catullus Poem 64:

nunc iam nulla viro iuranti femina credat,
nulla viri speret sermones esse fideles:

“Now, no woman should believe a man’s pledges,
or believe there’s any truth in a man’s words:”
With these words, we think of the liberal feminist response to the Hobby Lobby decision. It wasn’t religious freedom that motivated the court’s decision, they say, but misogyny.
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