Latin Translation

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


Translation of the Aeneid by C.S. Lewis

 
Saturday, May 17, 2008, 00:40 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Translation, Poetry, Literature, Music
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A little rumor spreading here. I heard, on pretty good authority, that a verse translation of Virgil's Aeneid by C.S. Lewis is presently "in the hands" of a renowned Classicist. It is possible that the C.S. Lewis Foundation is going to publish it?

On a related note, C. S. Lewis once wrote about the Aeneid that no one "who has once read it with full perception remains an adolescent." Personally, I find this statement extremely profound and true.

Virgil's Aeneid: which edition NOT to buy

 
Saturday, May 3, 2008, 14:38 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Latin Translation, Poetry, Literature, Music, Reviews
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A few weeks ago I was at a used bookstore and a very promising title caught my attention: Virgil's Aeneid (Interlinear). The book was in one convenient volume, attractively priced -- something I just don't have yet. I like to have cheap editions of my favorite books, so I can take them places without the fear of loosing or damaging them (I won't take my Mynors to the beach!). Anyways... I opened this Aeneid and discovered that the way this edition was organized simply goes against everything that is good and honorable in this world. They simply translated the Latin text verbatim and then... and then... Well, they rearranged Virgil's text, so that the word order would follow the English translation. For instance, let's take the opening lines:

arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam fato profugus Laviniaque venit
litora.


This "interlinear" text has something like that:

cano arma que virum qui ob oris Troiae primus venit Italiam que litora Lavinia, profugus fato.

Then I remembered that I actually have a copy of Cicero published in this exact manner. I never fully understood the purpose of this pedagogical practice, but it is so much worse when it comes to poetry. So, people, be on the lookout for those "interlinear" texts!


Love conquers all -- The imporatance of learning Latin

 
Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 10:34 - Learn Latin Language, Latin Translation, Popular Latin Phrases, Mottos, Slogans
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Omnia vincit amor - Love conquers all

In one of the last episodes of the Showtime Original Series 'The Tudors'(Season One) there is a following exchange between, if I recall correctly, Henry VIII and his courtier (I only convey the part that pertains to this discussion):

C. Omnia vincit amor!
H. Ah, yes! Everybody is won by love!

I would not vouchsafe for the precision of the quote, but the gist is there. What's happening? Henry VIII clearly misinterprets the first half of Virgil's famous line from Eclogue 10:

Omnia vincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori.

Yes, 'Love conquers all' is the correct translation. However, this 'all' is Neuter. Thus the meaning of the phrase is more philosophical: 'Love conquers all things, everything in existence'. Henry interprets it in a very trite sense: 'All people are subject to love'. Sure, he was a real expert in matters of love, but I won't believe that he was not a good enough Latinist to see a very simple grammatical point.

The moral is, it is ok to quote translations of Latin phrases. But one should not modify these translations, because the resulting paraphrase can become untrue to the original!

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Rebus

 
I should probably explain the etymology of the word rebus and then provide a better idea of why this site is called "In Rebus".

According to A Dictionary of English Etymology
by Hensleigh Wedgwood, John Christopher Atkinson:

Rebus. A riddle where the meaning is indicated by things (Lat. rebus} represented in pictures, the syllables forming the names of the things represented having to be grouped in a different manner. Thus the picture of a fool on his knees with a horn at his mouth is to be read in Fr. fol Ó genoux trompe (tromper, to blow a horn), but read in a different manner it gives "fol age nous trompe".ŚCot. Rebuses in Heraldry are such coats as represent the name by things, as three castles for Castleton.

It's an old dictionary, but the information holds true. If I recall correctly, this use of the Latin Ablative of the word res ('thing', 'object', 'matter') dates back to the 16th century or thereabouts.

Conversely, "in rebus" refers to the medieval philosophical notion of universal ideas (universalia) being present in "things". My reasoning is that given this name this site can provide information on anything whatsoever. Which is not to say that at one point I will not make some kind of actual rebus or even a rebus generator.

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