QUESTIONS ARISING FROM 98th MEETING – 10/2/19 (The record of earlier meetings can be downloaded from the main Circulus page as can the version of Ciceronis Filius with illustrations added. Accounts of meetings from September 2016 onwards are also stored as individual web pages (see the list on the Site Map),The illustrated text of Genesis is available on the Genesis page and of Kepler's Somnium on the Somnium page.)edit.
As usual at Tan and Keon’s, we dined very well, washing down gallīnācea (chcken), acetāria (salad), caseus (cheese), pānis Mexicānus (tortilla) and gelidum crēmum (ice cream) with vīnum arōmaticum coctum (mulled wine) and the Latvian national drink, balsamum (balsam(s)), a liqueur (spirtus arōmaticus) allegedly made from vīnum adustum Connācēnse (cognac) and various types of herba and fructus, plus liber querceus (oak bark).
Neo-Latinist use a bewildering array of expressions for ice cream, gelidum crēmum being from Traupman’s Conversational Latin but the Morgan-Owens lexicon (http://neolatinlexicon.org/) listing glaciēs dulcis/ mulsa/ esculenta/edūlis, (sweet or edible ice, ice made pleasant etc.) and nix (snow) plus the same set of adjectives) as well as flōs lactis congelātus (`frozen flower of milk), the last from Pharmacopoea Batava (early 19th century) which also provides a recipe. The Romans themselves did sometimes collect and store ice (as discussed in December 2018, see https://linguae.weebly.com/conventus-dec-2018.html ) and Nero is said to have eaten ice brought from the mountains with fruit toppings, whilst similar concoctions were known to the ancient Greeks and Chinese (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cream)
Don wondered about the connection between `mulled wine’ and `mulling things over’in the mind.’ Consulting www.etymonline.com, it looks as if the resemblance is in fact coincidental, though nobody is quite sure about the history of the words. `Mull’ in the sense of `ponder’ perhaps comes from the Middle English verb mullyn (`grind to powder’), whilst `mull’ meaning `sweeten, spice and heat a drink’ may derive from Dutch mol or Flemish moll, which in turm may be from a root meaning `to soften. `Mull’ as in `Mull of Kintyre’ is again a totally different word, used in Scotland for a promontory denuded of trees and deriving most likely from the Gaelic maol (`bald’), though Etymonline thinks Old Norse muli (a jutting crag) is a possible alternative source.
The Mull of Kintyre is the headland of the Kintyre peninsula in SW Scotland, celebrated in Paul McCartney’s song which sold two million copies after its release as a single in Britain in 1977. It can be heard in a number of YouTube videos, including a remastered version of the original interpretation by Wings, the group the song was written for. McCartney himself has owned a farm on the peninsula since 1966.
Eugene explained how he had first studied Latin as a secondary school student, using 拉丁语基础, a mainland course full of suitable nationalistic sentiments, and finding that it also helped his English. He would have liked to take Latin at university but because it was not available he took up Italian as the nearest equivalent.
The gerund explained in simplified Chinese
As well as a selection of Baroque pieces selected by a musician friend of Tanya’s, we listened to some of the links to medieval songs at https://linguae.weebly.com/corvus-corax.html. These included `O varium fortunum lubricum’, `Bacche Bene Venies’ and `In Taberna Gloria’, the last of these being an example of a fairly rare genre, Latin heavy metal. The rock-Latin combination reminded Don of Nautilus Pompilius, a Soviet-era Russian band, details of which can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautilus_Pompilius_(band) We were only able to sing along to part of `Bacche Bene Venies’ because the lyrics were not given in full on the website but this omission has now been remedied. Eugene had discovered at https://archive.org/details/caesarsgallicwar1907caes Arthur Walker’s 1907 macroned edition of Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. This lead to a discussion of the use of macrons to indicate long vowels in Latin texts. Their systematic use as an aid for beginners seems only to have begun in the 19th century and in a brief web search afterwards the earliest example John found was the 1888 original edition of Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar (see https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-1888-Allen-And-Greenoughs-Latin-Grammar-For-Schools-And-Colleges-/142951810133 ). However, the spasmodic use of a horizontal bar over a vowel to show its length seems to have begun much earlier as seen from the occurrence of one or two macrons in a papyrus fragment of Juvenal dating from atound 500 B.C. (see https://www.jstor.org/stable/3854712 ). Earlier Roman methods of indicating vowel length were doubling a letter, adding and apex ( / ) or, in the case of `I’, elongating the letter. For more information see vowel_length_marking_in_latin.ppt which can be downloaded from near the bottom of https://linguae.weebly.com/latin--greek.html Although they would be unnnecessary if students were constantly exposed to correctly spoken Latin, in the world as it is today macrons are an essential aid. Johan Winge’s on-line `Macroniser’ at http://alatius.com/macronizer/ can add them swiftly to an unmacroned text with around 95% accuracy. You still need to check carefully (and also to deal with any words not contained in the standard dictionaries) but lt remains a great time-saver. We also noted that the word porcus, which did in medieval times come to be the standard Latin for `pig.’ As mentioned in a recent letter to the Circulus, this is fully explained by John Byron Kuhner, who correctly points out that porcus oriignally meant `piglet’ and that the correct clasical term for the adult animal is sūs, with derived adjectives suīnus and suillus. His article is at https://medium.com/in-medias-res/porcus-does-not-mean-pig-d413592572fb, and there is a fuller discussion of porcus by Emile Benveniste in one chapter of his Indo-European Language and Society https://www.bl.uk/news/2018/november-2018/800-medieval-manuscripts-now-available-online Benveniste also claims that the porco- stem is found in Indo-Iranian as well as in European languages aand that this suggests the pig was already domesticated in the proto-Indo-European period, Eugene had been busy with computer applications for language study and had employed the software at https://www.linguatec.de/en/text-to-speech/voice-reader-studio-15/ to produce spoken versions of Latin texts. He had also been using the optical reader at https://www.willus.com/k2pdfopt/ to compile a glassical Greek dictionary rather less complex than Liddell-Scott-Jones, the standard Greek-English lexicon. The latter is available on the web at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph in an interface that lets you look-up any inflected form of a word, not just citation form. Eugene also mentioned the persistent problems with copyrigh of sheet music and the particular case of the International Music Score Library Project. This Canada-based site had been making scores freely available but closed down temporarily because of legal action launched by an Austrian firm’s legal action. Their argument was that the owner of a site was responsible not only for ensuring he/she did not violate copyright law at home but also for compliance with local legislation anywhere in the world that the site could be accessed. On that principle, someone uploading in Canada would have to follw the EU regulation extending copyright to 70 years after the composer’s death rather than the Canadian one which only specified 50 years. The Canadian coursts eventually rejected the argument, so the site went back on-line. For details see http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7074786.stm and https://imslp.org/wiki/IMSLP:Open_Letter_(Reopening) John noted that he also encountered problems of this sort in his own work. He had found a picture on the web of the statue of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, founder of modern Nepal, which stands outside the government secretariat in Kathmandu. It was included in the Powerpoint presentation accompanying a lecture he gave in London in 2016 but when the lecture itself was published in an academic journal the picture had to be left out at the editor’s insistence. Although the statue must have been photographed thousands of times, the editor was afraid that it might stil lbe identificed as the property of a specific individual with the use of modern technology. There are law firms which use this technology to trawl through publications seaching for illustrations which they could match with ones whose copyright was known. They then contacted the publisher demanding an imediate payment under threat of legal action. John’s editor wa particularly anxious on this issue because his own partner, who edits another journal, had been caught in this way.
The (possibly) offending picture of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s statue
John also explained that, strictly speaking, the order of presentation of items in a language textbook was covered by the author’s copyright so that the electronic flashcard sets that he and many other teachers put up on sites like Cram and Quizlet were technically violations. He had been given the information by a former chief editor of the Cambridge Latin Course, Will Griffiths, who said that Cambridge had not so far taken action over the matter but had the legal right to do so.
There was brief discussion of the use of the prefix/adjective `meta’ which conveyed the basic idea of `self-referential’. The best-known instance is in the term `metalanguage’, referring to the jargon used to describe language itself but you could also speak of `meta paintngs’ etc.
We also touched on the phrase `Io Saturnalia !’, uses at this winter festival when slaves and masters temporarily changed places. John told the story (from the historian Dio Cassius LX.19) of how in 43 A.D.when the troops assembled on the coast of Gaul in preparation for the invasion of Britain, they had at first refused to follow the orders of their commander, Aulus Plautius as they were unwilling to campaign `beyond the limits of the inhabited world’ (ἔξω τῆς οἰκουμένης, exō tēs oikoumenēs). The emperor Claudius’s freedman, Narcissus, then mounted the platform and attempted to speak and the men, indignant or perhaps just amused that an ex-slave should be speaking on behalf of the emperor, suddenly began shouting `Io Saturnalia’ and then, with the tension broken, followed Aulus’s instructiuons. The soldiers’ anxiety was seemingly based on a belief that Britain was a wild, uncivilised place or even on the idea that they would be in danger of falling off the edge of the world. Although at this time uneducated men were aware that the earth was a globe, and Eratosthenes of Alexandria had even made a very accurate estimate of its circumference, ordinary people still visualised the world as a flat disk. It’s noteworthy that, in the 19th century, Hong Kong was regarded by many in Britain as Britain itself had been regarded by the Romans. The Oxford English Dictionary explains that the phrase `Go to Hong Kong!’ was equivalent to`Go to Hell!’
The Romans, who invaded Britain three times (Julius Caesar in 55 and 54 B.C. as well as a century later, when they came to stay) only did so during the summer when conditions in the channel were more favourable. Tan pointed out, howeverm that the Germanic invaders of Latvia in the Middle Ages were only uccessful in the winter, when bare trees made it more difficult for the Latvians to wage guerilla warfare in the forests,
There was discussion also of the practice by some newspapers of attempting to extort money or concessions from prominent people by threatening otherwise to release damaging information about them. The National Enquirer, an American publication run by an ally of Donald Trump’s, had tried to stop an enquiry by Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, into the source of leaks of texts between him and his mistress which the paper had used in an earlier stoty about him. He turned the tables on them by himself publishing details of the photographs.
Tanya showed us a facsimile edition of a copy of Charles Dickens Christmas Carol which the author himself had annotated to read aloud from during a speaking tour in the USA. The introduction to Tanys’s book appeared to state that Dickens only visited America after Christmas Carol was published but subsequent research revealed he had already made one successful tour there before the book was speedily written and published in time for Christmas 1843. The film The Man Who Invented Christmas, which John watched flying back from London in January, gets this right and can be highly recommended for its portrayal of Dickens and his relationship with his family and with the characters of his novel. The director, Bharat Nalluri was, like Don, born in India but brought up in Britain from a very early age. The trailer for the file is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx3ctBjG6yI and the title reflecte the fact that many of the features most strongly associated now with Christmas are due to Dickens. His association of the festival with snow, despite the fact that this rarely occurs in most of Britain before January, probably reflects the abnormally cold winters of Dickens’ own childhood.
Tanya’s daughter, Olive, who we discovered shared her birthday with Don, tried out on us multiple-choice questions from a quiz devised by Stephen Fry and we attempted to translate some of them into Latin. Topics covered included the Higgs-Boson `God particle’, the invention of afternoon tea by Anna Duchess of Bedford in 1840 (details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Russell,_Duchess_of_Bedford ), and the effect of cold weather on the midget population in Scotland – harsh winters actually see more of them because a lot of their predators are killed off..
Another question centred on Julius Caesar’s introduction of Leap Years in 45 B.C. Prior to this, the Roman year normally consisted of only 355 days and the months were kept from getting too out of step with the seasons by the insertion of an intercalary month every two or three years, Under Caesar’s system, devised by a comittee including the Greek astronomer Sosithenes, the length of a normal year was increased to 365 days and the 24th of February – known on the Roman system of inclusive reckoning as ante diem sextum Kalendas Martiās (`sixth day before the Kalends (1st) of March’ ) was doubled up every fourth year, The lengthened year was itself known as an annus bisextilis. More details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_calendar#Julian_reform and, for the Roman method of counting days of the month backwards from the Kalends, Nones and Ides, see https://linguae.weebly.com/roman-calendar.html.
Mention was also made of Kate Fox’s Watching the English, an anthropological account of the exotic ways of this rather strange tribe. Her research methods included taking a strong, mid-morning drink to stengthen her nerves before queue-jumping to test people’s reactions. Another trick was sitting with a stop-watch in pubs cheking how long non-English customers would remain waiting at their tables before realising they had to get their own drinks from the bar.
We discussed in Latin our Chinese New Year preparations and activities, using the dialogue pasted below but, as was the case when we last used this material five years agao, did not have time to discuss the parallel Roman festival of Anna Perennis. Vocabulary used in this connectin included lūdō (lūdere, lūsī, lūsum), `play’, which normally takes the ablative of the name of a game, e,,g, tenilūdiō (mēnsālī) lūdere, `to play (table) tennis’. One of us mentioned dumplings prepared by their mother-in-law, for which terms the standard word are offa, -ae f and socrus, socrūs f. We discovered though, that the latter term, though usually referring to a female, was also sometime use as a synonym for socer, socrī m, father-in-law. Also discussed was the Latin for baloon, for which there is only the neo-Latin balūna, -ae f. Classical Latin bulla, which was used for various globe-shaped objects, including a bubbble and the little pouch containiong a talisman that children wore round their necks, did not seem appropriate in this case.
We briefly touched on dictionaries to support the active use of Latin. The most important aids are Smith and Hall’s 1964 publication, A Copious and Critical English-Latin Dictionary, which coversjust classical Latin, and the Morgan-Owens neo-Latin Lexicon, including medieval and modern terms. The former, as noted above, has been digitalised and is available at https://www.latinitium.com/smithhall. Clicking on the headword brings up the entry in the standard Latin-English dictionary (Lewis & Short, `Glossa’) whilst citations of classical authors are linked to the actual passages on the Perseus site. Morgan-Owens , which is a draft rather than a completed dictionary, exists only in digital form and is at http://neolatinlexicon.org/
Finally, Eugene, who has visited Italy several times, stated that he thought Italians laid greater emphasis than other countries on oral Latin and on actually thinkng in the language, even if they were not very careful about pronunciation and did no make much use of macrons. John was rather surprised to hear this,having himself got the impression that Italian Latin teachers were heavily relaint on the grammar-translation method. Certainly, Luigi Miraglia, now one of the world’s most fluent Latin speakers, has described how the language was first presented to him as a set of puzzles and rules rather than as a means of communication. It was nevertheless true that before the switch to the vernacular in the mid- sixties, the Vatican’s Gregorian University taught all subjects through the medium of Latin and John remembered Fr Ha,who studied there , saying that during his student days he could indeed think in Latin. John also recalled reading somewhere that in one region of Italy (Piedmont ?) in the early19th century basic literacy was taught with a Latin prayer book rather than Ialian texts.
Dē Festīs Vernālibus apud Sīnēnsēs et Rōmānōs
Erāntne tibi multa ante Novum Annum Sīnicum facienda?
Ita vērō. Necesse erat tōtam diaetam purgāre et omnia in locō suō pōnere. Ipse omnēs librōs ē librāriīs extrahere dēbēbam ut pluteōs necnōn librōs ipsōs purgārem sed labor maior erat uxōrī, quippe cui nōn tantum omnia alia verrenda mundandaque sed etiam cibus et flōrēs nōbīs atque aviae emendi erant.
Cēnāvistisne diē ultimō annī veteris cum familiāribus?
Ita, ut semper illō diē fit, apud socrum meam ūnā cum sorōre uxōris atque marītō eius cēnāvi. Deinde fīliam meam ad Forum Flōrāle condūxī, ubi balūnam et lūsōrium ēmit
Quid diē prīmā Novī Annī fēcistis?
Ad diaetam aviae īvimus ut mōre trālāticiō inter nōs salūtārēmus et ūnā cēnārēmus. Diē secundā uxōris materam et eius familiam eius vīsitāvimus, vesperī iterum apud aviam cēnāvimus et spectāculum pyrotechnicum, quod illā diē quotannīs in portū Victōriānō fit, televisiōne spectāvimus.
Estne necesse vōbīs multam `Pecūniam Faustam’ dare?
Profectō danda est familiāribus nātū minōribus, līberīs amīcōrum necnōn custōdibus nōn sōlum in aedificiō nostrō sed etiam in aliīs quae vīsitāre solēmus.
Quid aliud facitis ad festum celebrandum?
Titulōs trālāticiōs, ut `Dracōnis Equīque Spīritus’ (`龍馬精神) `Corpus Sānum’ (身體建康) et `Exeuntī Ineuntīque Pāx’ (出入平安) in chartīs rubrīs scrīptōs parietibus affigimus.
Sīnēnsēs novum annum vere instaurant. Quid dē Rōmānīs antīquīs?
Crēdimus annum Rōmānum in prīncipiō ā mēnse Martiō incēpisse, quam ob rem nōmina Quīnctīlis, Sextīlis, September, Octōber, November, December mēnsibus data sunt quae, cum initium annī ad Iānuārium mōtum esset, septimus, octāvus, nōnus, decimus, ūndecimus et duodecimus factī sunt.
Quandō Iānuārius prīmus factus est?
Rēs est incerta. Trāduntur Rōmulus urbem mēnse Martiō condidisse et eundem mēnsem initium annī fēcisse, successor eius, Nūma Pompilius mēnsibus decem patris Iānuārium Februāriumque addidisse et Iānuārium prīmum fēcisse. Huic fābulae, tamen, historicī diffīdunt, hoc sōlum prō certō habent, cōnsulēs, ōlim Īdibus Martiīs, ab annō 153 ante Christum nātum Kalendīs Iānuāriīs officium suscēpisse. Crēdimus diem mūtātam esse quod saepe necesse erat cōnsulibus, rēbus urbānīs compositīs, ad Hispāniam pervenīre antequam tempus ad pugnandī inciperet.
Etiamsī aevō classicō mēnsis Martius nōn erat initium annī, fortasse festum vernāle adhūc celebrābātur?
Rectē dīxistī, nam festum Annae Perennis, quae Īdibus Martiīs incidēbat, quasī continuātiō erat rītuum quae ōlim nōn tantum veris sed etiam annī initium celebrābat. Quamquam erant inter Rōmānōs ipsōs quī crēdēbant illam deam esse Annam Tyriam, sorōrem Dīdōnis, rēvēra nōmen `annus’ vocābulō cognātum est. In opere Ovidiī, cuī titulus Fastī, poēta modum celebrandī hīs versibus dēscrīpsit:
Īdibus est Annae festum geniāle Perennae nōn procul ā rīpīs, advena Thӯbri, tuīs. plēbs venit ac viridēs passim disiecta per herbās pōtat, et accumbit cum pare quisque suā. sub Iove pars dūrat, paucī tentōria pōnunt, sunt quibus ē rāmīs frondea facta cas’ est; pars, ubi prō rigidīs calamōs statuēre columnīs, dēsuper extentas imposuēre togās. sōle tamen vīnōque calent annōsque precantur quot sūmant cyathōs, ad numerumque bibunt. (ex Librō III, 523-532)
Ēheu, exemplum antīquum nōn sequendum est! Ut mittam sodālem tantum octō annōrum, etiam nōs plūs sexagintā nātī ēbriissimī fiāmus, si tot pōcula hauriāmus quot annōs, futūrōs dēsīderāmus!
For illustrations and highlighting of stressed syllables see the text on the main Circulus page.