Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
Back to Scotland we go for a bit of bad Latin from Parliamentarian and Beatles fan Alistair Darling:
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Darling reeled off Loretto School’s motto – “Spartan nactus est, hanc exorna” – and said: “It was usually translated at school as ‘you’ve attained Sparta, now live up to it’.
“But I was at school in the 1960s. When I was in my second year, I was listening to the motto in one ear and Sergeant Pepper in the other. The two didn’t quite fit.”
I don’t like the idea of blaming the Fab Four for basic errors in Latin accidence. (‘Spartan’ can’t be a Latin form, and est is third person where we need second.) The form should be ‘Spartam nactus es; hanc orna.’ (The compound exorna appears in some variations).
In this form it goes back to Erasmus whose advice to a prince (any prince) was that ‘you have obtained Sparta; make it splendid.’
This was borrowed from Plutarch’s Σπάρταν ἔλαχες, ταύτην κόσμει, which appears twice and is quoted as a proverb. The sense of it is that one should do his best to improve his lot, whatever state it may be. Adorning Sparta sounds to me like a daunting task. It’s not bad advice for a politician.
It seems that school mottos are all the rage in the UK today. After Tony Blair stepped down his replacement, Gordon Brown, used the English translation of his school’s motto ‘I will try my utmost’ (usque conabor). The BBC has more on that and other Latin mottos.
Posted by Eric » 1 Comment »
Egypt says mummy is Queen Hatshepsut
By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 27, 8:52 PM ET
CAIRO, Egypt – A tooth found in a relic box led archaeologists to identify a long-overlooked mummy as that of Egypt’s most powerful female pharoah — possibly the most significant find since King Tutankhamun’s tomb was uncovered in 1922, experts said Wednesday.
The mummy was identified as Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C., dressing like a man and wearing a fake beard. A monumental builder, she wielded more power than two other famous ancient Egyptian women, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who unlike her never took the title of pharaoh.
But when she died, all traces of her mysteriously disappeared, including her mummy.
In 1903, a mummy was found lying on the ground next to the sarcophagus holding the mummy of the queen’s wet nurse in a tomb in the Valley of Kings burial ground in Luxor. For decades, that mummy was left unidentified and remained in the tomb because it was thought to be insignificant.
Read the rest.
Posted by Dennis » 2 Comments »
I know I’m not the only one to hunt through Google Books to find useful editions and out of print classics.
But one thing I’ve had great difficulty locating is a complete text of Livy. Out of print editions on the used book market are few and expensive, and plain e-texts are unattractive. I’m not averse to printing PDFs (2-up, double-sided) and keeping them on the shelf in three ring binders.
So if you’re like me and you’re looking for Livy, then look no farther:
- Books 1 to 8
- Books 9 to 26
- Books 27 to 36
- Book 37 to the end