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Latin, Latin Texts / 26.01.2020

Translator's introduction: (a) To the work as a whole. The "Fasti" is a six-book Latin poem by Ovid concentrating on the Roman calendar or 'Fasti', and each of its separate books deals with the first six months of the year, January to June. The books contain some brief astronomical details, but their principal sections discuss the religious festivals of the Romans, the rites which were involved in them, and their mythological explanations. The poem contains much Roman mythological and religious lore which would otherwise have been lost. The poem was...

Latin, Latin Texts / 24.06.2017

Translator's Introduction. i) Catullus: details of his life. Gaius Valerius Catullus was born to an equestrian family in 84 B.C. at Verona, then in Cisalpine Gaul. His father owned a villa at Sirmio on Lake Garda, where he entertained Julius Caesar when he was wintering south of the Alps during his governorship of Gaul. Catullus was on the staff of Gaius Memmius in Bithynia in 57-56, and before returning to Italy he travelled to the Troad to pay his respects to the grave of his beloved elder brother. He,...

Latin, Latin Texts / 29.08.2016

In a number of his books in which are recounted the memoirs of Harry Flashman, the bete noir of "Tom Brown's School Days", George MacDonald Fraser gives a number of Latin quotations, mostly recounted by the erstwhile and manque scholar, Captain John Charity Spring, whom he first meets as the master of the slave ship 'Balliol College'. Flashman's ability to both understand the meaning of these quotations, and indeed to quote them many years later, when writing his memoirs, surely indicates that his classical education at Rugby School was a lot more thorough than is generally supposed, and that he was indeed a credit to the efforts of his former headmaster, Thomas Arnold, despite his expulsion for drunkenness.
Greek Texts, Latin Texts / 28.12.2014

Introduction. This extract from St. Paul's first letter (or epistle) to the Corinthians features the final part of the traditional reading laid down in the Book of Common Prayer for the Funeral Service. This magnificent and haunting passage is set out below in four versions. The first two versions are in English, the recent translation of the New English Bible preceding the words of the Authorised Version, in which the English language appears at its most majestic. Below are the Latin version of the Vulgate, used by the Roman Catholic Church for centuries, and, finally, the original, as written by St. Paul in 'koine' Greek.
Latin, Latin Texts / 29.10.2014

Introduction. Caius Suetonius Tranquillus (c.69-c.130 A.D.) was born in Italy, the son of a military tribune of equestrian rank. He practised as an advocate in Rome during the reign of Trajan (98-117). He became a close friend of the Younger Pliny, and may have served on his staff when he was proconsul of Bithynia Pontus in 111-12. After Pliny's death, he found a new patron in Septicius Clarus, the prefect of the praetorian guard, and when Hadrian succeeded Trajan in 117, he entered the imperial service, and took...

Latin, Latin Texts / 14.09.2014

Introduction. The fourth and last book of Horace's "Odes", was published in 13 A.D., some ten years after the publication of the other three, and they constitute the last of his published works. It is clear that he resumed the writing of lyric poetry only at the instance of Augustus and in order to celebrate the victories of the emperor's step-sons, Tiberius and Drusus Nero. He probably did so with some reluctance, as the beginning of the first ode in the book strongly suggests, and the second ode provides...

Latin, Latin Texts / 02.02.2014

Introduction. Of the three books of "Odes" published by Horace in 23 B.C., this, the second book, is the shortest, containing only twenty poems. It is also the most uniform in form, as eighteen of these twenty are composed in the Aeolian metres of Alcaeus (12) and of Sappho (6). The tone of these odes is also the most serious in tone, and the most limited in range, with only three (viz. carmina 4, 5 and 8) dealing with themes of love. The text for this translation is taken from...

Latin, Latin Texts / 17.01.2014

In the stirring battle scene at the beginning of this exciting film, the heroic general Maximus Decimus Meridius, played by Russell Crowe, makes the following two statements. In both cases the following Latin translations are offered by Sabidius: (1) "At my command, unleash Hell!" Latin: "Me iubente, solvite Tartarum!" (2) "What you do in life echoes in eternity!" Latin: "Quid agimus in vita resonabit per aeternitatem!"...

Latin, Latin Texts / 31.12.2011

The motto of St Andrews University, "aien aristeuein", "Ever to excel!", is unusual because it is in Greek. It is taken from line 206 of Book VI of Homer's renowned epic poem, the "Iliad", probably first written down in the first half of the Eighth Century B.C. in the new Greek alphabetic script, very possibly designed specifically for this purpose. This quotation is contained in a speech made by Glaucus, the leader, together with Sarpedon, of the Lycian contingent, which came to the assistance of Troy against their Greek assailants.
Latin, Latin Texts / 24.11.2011

Introduction. The following three extracts on the subject of "riot and rebellion" are translations of texts taken from the "Cambridge Latin Anthology", Cambridge School Classics Project, Cambridge University Press, 1996. The first two come from the historian Tacitus, and the third from the "Acts of the Apostles" in the "Vulgate" edition of the New Testament. The riot at Pompeii (from Tacitus: "Annales", Book XIV, Chapter 17). In 59 A.D. a gladiatorial show in the amphitheatre at Pompeii was being watched by citizens of both Pompeii and neighbouring...