Archive for 'Latin Language'

Dido & Aeneas: Through the Ages

Posted on 13. Nov, 2014 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

I would like to take some time this week to indulge in one of my favorite love stories: Dido and Aeneas. Over this weekend, I saw at the Los Angeles Opera Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas;” and it got me thinking about the countless retellings of this couple and their themes of love and fate.

Banner at the LA Opera of Dido & Aeneas from my personal camera.

Banner at the LA Opera of Dido & Aeneas from my personal camera.

The opera that I saw was an interesting retelling (debuted in 1688) felt extremely Shakespearean and far removed from the Latin and Roman myth. There are no gods and fate is not the villain, but instead three witches.  I have provided the opera in its entirety, and interestingly enough it is one of few operas in English.

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OR- if you prefer a quicker rendition of it the opera; check this out!

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Artwork has constantly retold and reimagined the myth of love and fate to become one of the first (if not the first) star-crossed lovers.

Aeneid, Book IV, Death of Dido. From the Vergilius Vaticanus (Vatican Library, Cod. Vat. lat. 3225). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Aeneid, Book IV, Death of Dido. From the Vergilius Vaticanus (Vatican Library, Cod. Vat. lat. 3225). Courtesy of WikiCommons

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the myth of Dido and Aeneas, it is quite heart-breaking. Aeneas is a Trojan survivor who in his own right is a “hero.” A hero in the sense that his parentage is one involving a god and a mortal. His mother was Venus and his father was a Trojan commander known as Anchises. Aeneas is fated to find Rome and on the way his fleet arrive at Carthage where Dido reigns. Upon his arrival, Dido’s cold heart ( widowed and bitter) is melted by Aeneas and Cupid. However their love is not meant to be, because Aeneas must find Troy and Rome and Carthage must have their resentment and bad relationship for future strife.  Therefore, Aeneas leaves to find Rome at the bequest of the gods visiting him and reminding him of his fate. And, thus- Dido out of love (perhaps rampaged crazy Cupid causing love) kills herself and curses Aeneas and his people (Romans).

Dido, attributed to Christophe Cochet, formerly at Marly (Louvre). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Dido, attributed to Christophe Cochet, formerly at Marly (Louvre). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Furthermore,  this story of Aeneas and Dido from Vergil’s Aeneid has also found its way into modern television and retellings. There is a wonderful article on how the Aeneid ( an thus Dido and Aeneas) is retold in Battlestar Galactica (the article is here). The Aeneid even finds it way into the Star Trek lore; as seen (here).

Pope ditches Latin as official language of Vatican

Posted on 06. Nov, 2014 by in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes,

I hope that everyone has had a great Halloween with party, candy, and great costumes! However what I would like to talk about today is the fact that the Latin language has become a little less bright in the world this last month.

Pope Francis in August 2014. Courtesy of WikiCommons and Stemoc.

Pope Francis in August 2014. Courtesy of WikiCommons and Stemoc.

“In a break with the past, Pope Francis has decided that Latin will not be the official language of a worldwide gathering of bishops at the Vatican.” reports the Reuters (a news site).

In synods, Latin was the official language of documents for meetings and even some participants chose to speak in Latin. However with Pope Francis’ announcement; Italian would become the synod’s official language.

For those who are unsure what a synod is; let me explain. A synod is ” a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application.”


In all honesty, I feel quite upset and perturbed at this new because I was such strong advocate for the Catholic church’s use of Latin.  Upon my beginning this position with Transparent Language Company, I wrote one of my first post on the usefulness of Latin in the world (here). The Catholic Church is like one of the last advocates for Latin.

It is no lie that the use of Latin in the Church has greatly diminished since the turn of favor for local languages. However, Latin still remains the official language of the universal Church. And it is the language of reference for translating major documents into the modern language.


Next week, I am hoping to start a new type of post next week that focuses on grammar and my first stab at video blogging.  Please let me know if there is anything you, my audience, would prefer me to focus on. However, I would like to start at the beginning of grammar for Latin.



Guide to Impersonal Latin Verbs

Posted on 23. Oct, 2014 by in Latin Language

The following is for your reference use for impersonal verbs.  Impersonal verbs usually do not have a subject or nominative instead there is an implied (he, she, it).  However they can take nominative in certain sentence structure. Most of these impersonal verbs will take either an accusative, dative, genitive, or rarely an ablative. followed by the infinitive.

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The following shows three of the most common used impersonal verbs and how they take their particular case and then the infinitive.

licet, licere, licuit: it is permitted (+ dative)

It is permitted for X to Y. [X = dative of person & Y = infinitive]

oportet, oportere, oportuit: it is fitting, it behooves (+ accusative)

It is fitting for X to Y. –or– It behooves X to Y. [X = accusative of person & Y = infinitive]

placet, placere, placuit: it is pleasing (+ dative)

It is pleasing to X to Y. [X = dative of person & Y = infinitive]

Here is a list of popular verbs:

  • decet , -ere, -uit – it becomes or it suits; it is right or proper. Decet can take the accusative of the person for whom it is right.
  • libet, -ere, -uit, -itum est (also lubet) – it pleases (with the dative, e.g., libet mihi = it pleases me), also, ut libet – as you please.
  • licet, -ere, -uit, -itum est – it is permitted. Licet takes the dative as well.
  • liquet, -ere – it is clear.
  • miseret (miseretur), -ere, miseretum est – it excites pity. Miseret would take a genitive (thing) or accusative(person) [ See video on Genitive below]
  • oportet, -ere, uit – it is necessary, proper, becoming. Oportet takes an accusative afterwards
  • paenitet, -ere, -uit – repent, regret, be sorry.
  • piget, -ere, -uit – it displeases, disgusts. Takes the genitive of the cause of the revulsion and accusative of the person who is affected.
  • placet – it seems good; it is agreed or resolved. Placet takes the dative.
  • refert, referre, retuli – it concerns.
  • taedet, -ere, taesum est – it disgusts, wearies of. Taedet follows with genitive.

Here are some helpful videos:

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