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Latin Literature

This category contains 40 posts

Closing up shop

  Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer. –  Plutarch, Moralia A little late with this post about closing … Continue reading

O Antiphons!

  Because of work load, the only Christmas-y thing I got to do was attend a carol service at a village church in the vicinity of work. In fact, it was a service sponsored by the employers who provided transportation to the church. It was exactly the right thing, to recall what Christmas is about, … Continue reading

deos tauri, mulieres in aranearum,in lupos hominum mutationem

A reference to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Roman poet’s history of the world. But the quote is not from that work, not originally Latin: gods into bulls, women into spiders, men into wolves. It is from Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, harking back to Ovid’s retelling of history through stories of transformation (bad Latin translation is down to me). What I am … Continue reading

By the light of a Paschal Moon

I was always vaguely aware that it took some calculation to establish the date for Easter. However, I really had no idea about paschal moons, golden numbers etc The popular explanation for how the date for Easter is established each year is that it is the first Sunday after a full moon occuring on or … Continue reading

“As long as you live, you will be subject to change, whether you will it or not “

  Quamdiu nam vixeris, mutabilitati subjectus eris, etiam nolens: ut modo lætus, modo tristis, modo pacatus, modo turbatus, nunc devotus, nunc indevotus, nunc studiosus, nunc acidiosus, nunc gravi, nunc levis inveniaris. Sed stat super hæc mutabilia sapiens et bene doctus in spiritu, non attendens quid in se sentiat nec qua parte flet ventus instabilitatis, sed … Continue reading

Ah, They’re a Bunch of Old Softies Really

Verum ubi ductores acie revocaveris ambo, deterior qui visus, eum, ne prodigus obsit, dede neci; melior vacua sine regnet in aula. But when both leaders from the battlefield are recalled, do to death him who seems inferior, that he be not a waste and bane; let the better reign in a clear court. Virgil The Georgics … Continue reading

The Harrowing of Hell and the Hope in Despair

The days leading up to and including Easter have varied in since their very first observance. One part of the medieval Easter liturgy and a fixture in medieval passion plays that has since disappeared from Roman observance is the Cum Rex Gloriae. An Easter processional antiphon, it has been variously attributed to Augustine of Hippo and St Jerome. Cum … Continue reading

Ok, I have heard of bees in trees and tree bees. But mountain climbing bees?

  Corripuere viam interea, qua semita monstrat. Iamque ascendebant collem, qui plurimus urbi imminet, adversasque adspectat desuper arces.                Miratur molem Aeneas, magalia quondam, miratur portas strepitumque et strata viarum… Qualis apes aestate nova per florea rura                exercet sub sole labor, cum gentis adultos educunt fetus, aut cum liquentia mella stipant et dulci distendunt nectare cellas, … Continue reading

“For a time, I rest in the grace of the world”

From Wendell Berry’s The Peace of Wild Things*, where he escapes from “despair for the world” to where the wild things are. To enjoy the poem, I have to cut ol’ Wendell some slack as he goes onto mention wood drakes and herons. The bird, a less peaceful species you cannot find (especially water birds … Continue reading

But Can Honey Be Spoiled? More on Mel Malum

That is a question I and at least one other reader of this blog asked after my last post, Spoiled Honey Made Good, a title taken from a recipe in an ancient Roman cookbook. Before answering it from a modern perspective, it would be interesting to know what the Roman perspective was, because according to Apicius … Continue reading

My Latin Notebook

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