Caveat voluntarius

It’s a magnus vicus where I live, not an urbs. (Come back, Latin haters, this is not periculosum.) But there seems to be a blossoming of interest in learning and studying Latin; perhaps even a resurrectio! I offered to teach a few discipuli and now there are multi waiting patienter to join us. But no, I must keep the pax Romana with a cohors minima amicorum. The mensae at the Waitrose taberna are non satis magnae for a multitudo!

O Aurigae, opto sitis felicissimi et felicissimae anno MMXIX

(‘O charioteers, I wish you guys and gals great happiness in 2019’)

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

11 thoughts on “Caveat voluntarius”

  1. Although I did Latin at school (badly) there was a single phrase in one of the text books that has stuck in my mind and that I have never forgotten. “Pueri in silvis cum puellis” but, as an excuse, it was a boys only boarding school and everyone has to have a dream. Happy Christmas to you Janus. 🙂

  2. I hated doing Latin at grammar school. The old fossil that was the headmaster insisted that all the more academically inclined studied, at ‘O’ level, only two sciences (physics and chemistry) and either Latin or Ancient Greek, in the mistaken belief that having a classics ‘O’ level was an entrance requirement for Oxbridge.

    Given that (a) it was not an entrance requirement and (b) most of my friends and I wanted to go to a more cosmopolitan university (I went to KCL), this was most annoying. Several of my friends had to remain at the school for an extra year to get a biology ‘A’ level as they wanted to become doctors.

    The final annoyance was that I was so fed up with Latin, I copied a poem out of a children’s novel about school boys into ny Latin grammar book and go swished by the aforementioned old fossil for defacing school property. The poem went thus:

    Latin is a language,
    As dead as dead can be,
    It killed the Ancient Romans
    And now it’s killing me!!

    Felicem Nativitatis

  3. Feeg,
    Brill !
    I was always useless at languages at school, I just didn’t get it. Joined the merchant and learned to “get by” in languages around the world tout sweet just by talking, it was so much easier than text books..

  4. Like so many others I also ‘did’ Latin – and was not that amazingly wonderful at it … but we were told that one of our ex-pupils (all girls school) became a whizz-kid-programmer for the earliest computers. So I had some idea that Latin just might be useful… sometime, somewhere

    True Story: the night before my O-Level Latin exam I had a dream about a passage from one of the most boring books i have ever had the misfortune to be compelled to read – Caesar’s Gallic Wars Book (I’ve forgotten which number). So before I entered the exam room on the following day I grabbed a book from a friend who had meticulously done the appropriate work – and stuffed as much as I could into my head. The passage I dreamt about was, indeed, the exact quotation that I needed to comment on in the exam paper. I passed that exam – just! Literally just!

    Some many years later when I went back to full time study – I needed Latin to pursue my Medieval Studies .. and I had my O-Level ‘Pass to enable me to do it…

  5. I should like to take advantage of Janus’s post to wish a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all Charioteers. So “auriga” is another of those odd masculine nouns like “agricola” and poeta”. It’s true that we learn something new every day.

  6. I did Latin and Greek to ‘A’ level and can recall little of it now. The discipline did, however, give me a sound understanding of the structure of languages which enabled me in later life to become relatively proficient in French, German, Melanesian Pidgin and, latterly, Portuguese


  7. OZ, I said the same until I jogged my memory with a couple of easy pieces. Then the flood-gates opened and it gets easier every time.

  8. We had a priest at school who used to castigate us in Latin. “Vae tibi scalesti pueri”, or something similar. (It has to be said Googles Translate does not like that at all.) But we took it to mean, “Woe to you, you wretched boys.” His other great expletive, “Sanguinis hades!” I studied Latin for O’ Level and learned about Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Catullus’s erotic poetry. I am grateful for the grounding it gave me (Latin, not erotic poetry), but I am unconvinced that it was the best use of my scholastic time. There were perhaps other subjects that would have further benefited me.

  9. Sipu, it could have been ‘Vae tibi, squalide puer’ – ‘Oh you horrible boy’. Those were the days of education before qualification!

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