Introducing Latin

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  • Hymnus Europae

  • Vis Harvardiana vobiscum sit!

  • Lingua Latina mortua est, vivat lingua Latina! Salvete, domini dominaeque. Benigne vos excipimus, qui transmittamus relationem temporis culturae televisificam singularem - totam Latine versam, quod non dubie iam intellexistis. De mortuis nihil nisi bene. Estne Latinitas re vera mortua? Audeamus et experiamur proferre communem relationem televisificam Latine versam.

    Lingua Latina ibi inveniri potest, ubi nemo hanc esse suspicetur. Exempli gratia medio in ventre Angelinae Jolie notis Latinis compunctum est: "Quod me nutrit, me destruit." Quae res ratione carere videtur, sed haeret in mente, quod spectaculis maximi momenti est. (opening lines of the special Latin edition of the arts magazine programme `Kulturzeit, broadcast by the German channel Sat3 in August 2008 - )

  • Lingua Latna unde vnit?Where did Latin come from?

  • DIFFERENTIA PRINCIPLIS INTER IMPERIUM SNICUM ET IMPERIUM RMNUMSNA: , , After the original creation of a unified China, the Chinese cultural area did not always remain united but political unity was seen as a state to which it would eventually return

    EURPA: , , After a brief revival at the end of the 8th century, the political unity imposed on much of Europe by Rome was seen as permanently lost: `No political unifier after Charlemagne, no Bonaparte or Hitler, ever succeeded, partly because he was not expected to (John Fairbank, The Great Chinese Revolution, p.11)

  • After the end of the Roman Empire (5th cent. A.D.)Latin remains the main spoken language in most of western Europe but slowly splits up to become Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and Romanian.Until about 1100 A.D., people continue writing in Latin but pronounce in their local way just as written Chinese can be read aloud in Putonghua or Cantonese pronunciationAfter 1100, ordinary documents are often written in the local language but Latin is still used for many government records (even in countries in northern and eastern Europe that were never part of the Roman Empire), for scholarly writing, for international communication and as the official language of the Catholic Church.

  • 16th 20th centuriesThe main modern languages slowly replace Latin in record keeping and scholarly writing. French replaces Latin as the European link languageIsaac Newtons Principia Mathematica (1687) is in Latin but his Optica (1704) in EnglishFirst international treaty in French is signed in 1714, last in Latin in 1756Latin remains the official language of the Catholic Church until the 1960sLatin remains an important school subject until the 1960sMany Latin words are still borrowed into modern European languages

  • Examples of English words borrowed from Latin, either directly or via FrenchTHE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCEIn Congress, June 4, 1776The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America.When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

  • The introduction to the Declaration re-written using only native English words and syllables(adapted from SAYING FORTH OF SELF-STANDINGIn Lawmaker Body, Afterlithe 4, 1776. The anmood saying forth of the thirteen Banded Folkdoms of Americksland, When in the flow of mannish happenings, it becomes needful for one folk to break up the mootish bands which have bonded them with another, and to take among the mights of the earth, the freestanding and even post to which the laws of life and of lifes God give them the right, a good worth to the thoughts of mankind must needs that they should say forth the grounds which bring them to the sundering.

  • Circumspice, linguam Latnam vidbis!Latin around you


  • The Latin words `NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA are written at the bottom of the inscription commemorating the completion of the Shing Mun dam and reservoir in 1936

  • PSALM CXXVI.1 nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum. in unless Lord will-have-built house in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam vain worked those-who build itnisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustra unless Lord will-have-guarded city in-vain vigilat qui custodit eam watches he-who guards it

  • Do you recognise this?


    A sleeping dragon should never be tickled


  • EXPECTO PATRONUM I-wait-for patron

    I am waiting for my patron (the magical protector that comes out from the end of a wizards wand)

  • Everyday Latinetc. = et cetera (and other-things)e.g. = exempli gratia (for example)status quo (state in-which [things are])the present system, the way society and politics are nowA.D. = Anno Domini (in-the-year of-the-Lord)data (things-given)the information that is available to youagenda (things-needing-to-be-done)list of business to be discussed in a meeting

  • How Latin works:`Aspice caudam! (Look at the tail!)





  • The endings of words usually show their connection to each other so word order is flexibleHomo canem mordet (NORMAL ORDER)The man bites the dogCanem homo mordetThe man bites the dog Mordet homo canem The man bites the dog

  • Stellae signa sunt in caeloaureae, quae iungant nos

    The golden stars are signs in the sky, which may unite us As well as drawing special attention to particular words, changes from normal word order make it easier to fit words into the rhythm of a poem. In the last two lines of the unofficial European anthem, the ae ending on the adjective aureae (`golden) shows that it describes stellae (`stars) and not signa (`signs) or caelo (`sky)

  • Can you work out the meaning of mus and of ba- in these verb forms?surgimuswe get upamabantthey were lovingsedemuswe sitvenimuswe comeveniebamI was comingregebatisyou were rulingviceramuswe had won

  • Wordchamp:

    Nuntii Latini:

  • Familia Romana:


  • The volcanic eruption buried the Roman town of Pompeii under a thick layer of lava and ash. Thousands of its citizens died in the disaster but the ruins of their homes were preserved. Below, you can see the atrium (inner courtyard) of the house of a wealthy Pompeian businessman

  • We know that the businessmans name was Caecilius and we also know what he looked like because he had this bust of himself made and placed inside the tablinum (study room) in his house.

  • In the course you will read some simple Latin stories about the people who might have lived in Caeciliuss house and you will also learn about everyday life in Pompeii before the disaster which destroyed it.

  • Cambridge Latin Course:^oa_book1^stage1


  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Peter Roland and Peter Diem for the European anthem Bible History Online ( for map of ancient Italy Interactive Media Lab, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida for pictorial map of the Roman Empire for animated map of Roman Empire