Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
I sent this to the Latinteach list today in response to a post on a student’s mnemonic for remembering the meaning of tandem. I think I’ll keep it in my back pocket for the next time tandem comes up in class.
You know why they call it a tandem, right?
Its invention goes all the way back to the Alban kingdom, in the days when those fabled twins, Romulus and Remus, were busy playing Robin Hood and making merry.
When the vehiculum they called the birota was doubled by a clever Alban faber, Romulus cried out:
“TANDEM! A bicycle built for two!”
It’s in a hexameter fragment of Ennius.*
Rōmulus ait, ‘tandem! birota aedificāta duōbus!’
*Not really. I just made this up.
It would probably be most effective delivered dryly, especially if you can convince students that the bicycle actually was an ancient vehicle.