Archive for 'Latin Language'

Measurements of Time in Latin

Posted on 12. Mar, 2015 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvette Omnes,

In honor of daylight savings- and springing the clocks an hour ahead, I thought a post about Roman timekeeping was in order!

Tempus Fugit in Latin means Time flies. Courtesy of Crazygallery.

Tempus Fugit in Latin means Time flies. Courtesy of Crazygallery.

A Quarter Pass Twelve?

The Romans time of day was divided into 12 hours (Latin: horae) of light and 12 hours of darkness.

The Romans also divided the day into other periods, such as media noctis inclinatio “midnight,” gallicinium “cock-crow”, conticinium (with variants such asconticuum) “hush of the night,” and diluculum, “decline of the day. While some of theses phrases our self-explanatory, others like conticinium or asconticuum  meaning “hush of the night” are a bit difficult to translate.

Although the division of hours into minutes and seconds did not occur until the middle ages, ancient astrologers had their own system for telling minutes and seconds. A minuta equal to a 60th of a day (24 modern minutes), and a secunda equal to one 3600th of a day (24 modern seconds). So, although the measurement were off- it is still pretty awesome!

What year is it?

Fasti Antiates Maiores — Miniature black and white image of a 1 m high by 2.5 m wide fragmentary fresco of a pre-Julian Roman calendar (black and red letters on a white background) found in the ruins of Nero's villa at Antium (Anzio). Courtesy of Wikicommons.

Fasti Antiates Maiores — Miniature black and white image of a 1 m high by 2.5 m wide fragmentary fresco of a pre-Julian Roman calendar (black and red letters on a white background) found in the ruins of Nero’s villa at Antium (Anzio). Courtesy of Wikicommons.

The complicated Roman calendar (as seen above) was replaced by the Julian calendar in 45 BC by Julius Caesar. In the Julian calendar, there is an ordinary year is 365 days long and a leap year is 366 days long. So, you could say that Julius Caesar introduced the leap year!

Between 45 BC and 1 AD, leap years occurred at irregular intervals. Starting in the year 4 AD, leap years occurred regularly every four years. Year numbers were rarely used; rather, the year was specified by naming the Roman consuls for that year.

Full months were considered powerful and therefore auspicious; hollow months were unlucky. Unlike currently used dates, which are numbered sequentially from the beginning of the month, the Romans counted backwards from three fixed points: the Nones (eight days before the Ides, and fell on the fifth or seventh day of the month, ), the Ides (13th day of the months with 29 days, but the 15th day of months with 31 days)and the Kalends (first day of the month) of the following month.

How did we get our days of the week?

The Romans grouped days into an eight-day cycle called a nundina, with every eighth day being a market day.

Independent of the nundinae, astrologers kept a seven-day cycle called a hebdomada where each day corresponded to one of the seven classical planets, with the first day of the week being Saturn-day (dies Saturni), followed by Sun-day (dies Solis), Moon-day (dies Lunae), Mars-day (dies Martis), Mercury-day (dies Mercurii), Jove-day (dies Iovis), and lastly Venus-day (dies Veneris).

Although, most people can see how Saturday, Sunday, and Monday got their names-it is difficult to see how Tuesday-Friday came about. These days of the week in English actually came from Old English and Old Norse mythology. Hence, Friday is in honor of Frigg, Thursday is for Thor, Wednesday for Woden or Odin, and Tuesday is for Tyr.

The Days of the Week and how they got their names from gods/goddesses.

The Days of the Week and how they got their names from gods/goddesses.

However, the Romance Languages (French, Italian, Spanish) actually use the days of the week that closer resemble the Latin origins (for Tuesday-Friday)

French: Tuesday: mardi ,Wednesday: mercredi ,Thursday: jeudi,Friday: vendredi

Spanish: Tuesday: martes, Wednesday:miércoles, Thursday:jueves, Friday:viernes

Italian: Tuesday: martedì, Wednesday: mercoledi, Thursday: giovedì (Italian does not have a J in its alphabet), Friday: venerdì

Now, don’t these days of the week look closer to the Latin versions for Tuesday:Mars, Wednesday: Mercury, Thursday: Jove, and Friday: Venus?

Do you have the time?

A Roman era sundial on display at a museum in Side, Turkey. Courtesy of Wikicommons

A Roman era sundial on display at a museum in Side, Turkey. Courtesy of Wikicommons

The Romans used various timekeeping devices including the clepsydra, or water clock, and the Greek sundial.

A display of two outflow water clocks from the Ancient Agora Museum in Athens. The top is an original from the late 5th century BC. The bottom is a reconstruction of a clay original.Courtesy of Wikicommons.

A display of two outflow water clocks from the Ancient Agora Museum in Athens. The top is an original from the late 5th century BC. The bottom is a reconstruction of a clay original.Courtesy of Wikicommons.

A water clock or clepsydra (Greek κλέπτειν kleptein, ‘to steal'; ὕδωρ hydor, ‘water’) is any timepiece in which time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid into (inflow type) or out from (outflow type) a vessel where the amount is then measured.

The earliest sundials known from the archaeological finds are the shadow clocks (1500 BC) in ancient Egyptian astronomy and Babylonian astronomy. The ancient Greeks developed many of the principles and forms of the sundial. Sundials are believed to have been introduced into Greece by Anaximander of Miletus, c. 560 BC. According to Herodotus, the Greeks sundials were initially derived from the Babylonian counterparts. Eventually, this Greek technology found its way into the Roman Empire.

World's oldest sundial, from Egypt's Valley of the Kings (c. 1500 BC), used to measure work hours.Courtesy of Wikicommons.

World’s oldest sundial, from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings (c. 1500 BC), used to measure work hours.Courtesy of Wikicommons.

Latin Mass to be offered to mark reinterment of Richard III

Posted on 04. Mar, 2015 by in Latin Language

Salvette Omnes,

I hope everyone is doing well this fine day!

So for today- I will be doing a bit of news-jacking. I love finding these tidbits in the news about Latin being used in everyday life, for historic events, or even old traditions kindling anew.

In today’s news, a Requiem Mass in the traditional Latin form is to be offered at a Catholic church in Lancashire to mark the re-interment of King Richard III. “The idea [of the requiem mass in Latin] is that it will be closer to what he might have experienced in his own lifetime, as a pre-reformation Catholic,” said parish priest Fr Simon Henry.

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard (c. 1520, after a lost original), formerly belonging to the Paston family. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard (c. 1520, after a lost original), formerly belonging to the Paston family. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

For those of you who don’t know-The skeleton of Richard III was found under a car park in Leicester in 2012. In the days before the re-interment service at Leicester Cathedral, the coffin will be taken to Leicester University and Bosworth Field, where the king was was killed in battle.

If you are interested in learning more about how Richard III was found and the details behind his death and burial, you may want to check out the University of Leicester’s YouTube channel:

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A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead (Latin: Missa pro defunctis) or Mass of the dead (Latin: Missa defunctorum), is a Mass in the Catholic Church offered for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons. It is frequently, but not necessarily, celebrated in the context of a funeral. In the case of Richard III, this is a re-interment of his soul and for a proper burial.

If you are interested as to what a Requiem Mass may sound like; it is beautiful in my opinion-check it out below. You can even follow along with the text I provide below [ note this video only goes to about the end of section 3]

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1. Introitus: Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem
Exaudi orationem meam
Ad te omnis caro veniet.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them
A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Zion
And a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem
Hear my prayer
All flesh shall come before you.
2. Kyrie
Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
3. Graduale: Requiem aeternam
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
In memoria aeterna erit iustus,
ab auditione mala non timebit.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord :
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
He shall be justified in everlasting memory,
and shall not fear evil reports.
4. Tractus: Absolve, Domine
Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis succurente
mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis aeternae beatitudine perfrui.
Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins
and by the aid to them of your grace
may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge,
and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.
5. Sequentia: Dies Irae
Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet apparebit.
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatus
qui salvandos salvas gratis
sale me, fons pietatis

Recordare, Jesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti, lassus;
Redemisti crucem passus;
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste Judex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco tanquam reus,
Culpa rubet vultus meus;
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae,
Sed tu, bonus, fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab hoedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictus.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis,
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.

Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Jesu Domine:
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

This day, this day of wrath
shall consume the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.

What trembling there will be
When the judge shall come
to weigh everything strictly!

The trumpet, scattering its awful sound
Across the graves of all lands
Summons all before the throne.

Death and nature shall be stunned
When mankind arises
To render account before the judge.

The written book shall be brought
In which all is contained
Whereby the world shall be judged

When the judge takes his seat
all that is hidden shall appear
Nothing will remain unavenged.

What shall I, a wretch, say then?
To which protector shall I appeal
When even the just man is barely safe?

King of awful majesty
You freely save those worthy of salvation
Save me, found of pity.

Remember, gentle Jesus
that I am the reason for your time on earth,
do not cast me out on that day

Seeking me, you sank down wearily,
you saved me by enduring the cross,
such travail must not be in vain.

Righteous judge of vengeance,
award the gift of forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.

I groan as one guilty,
my face blushes with guilt;
spare the suppliant, O God.

Thou who didsn’t absolve Mary [Magdalen]
and hear the prayer of the thied
hast given me hope, too.

My prayers are not worthy,
but Thou, O good one, show mercy,
lest I burn in everlasting fire,

Give me a place among the sheep,
and separate me from the goats,
placing me on Thy right hand.

When the damned are confounded
and consigned to keen flames,
call me with the blessed.

I pray, suppliant and kneeling,
a heart as contrite as ashes;
take Thou my ending into Thy care.

That day is one of weeping,
on which shall rise again from the ashes
the guilty man, to be judged.

Therefore spare this one, O God,
merciful Lord Jesus:
Give them rest. Amen.

6. Offertorium: Domine, Jesu Christe
Domine, Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de poenis inferni
et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
Sed signifer sanctus Michael
repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam,
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semini eius.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine
laudis offerimus
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte
transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semine eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, king of glory,
deliver the soulds of all the faithful departed
from the pains of Hell
and the bottomless pit.
Deliver them from the jaws of the lion,
lest hell engulf them,
lest they be plunged into darkness;
but let the holy standard-bearer Michael
lead them into the holy light,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

Lord, in praise we offer you
Sacrifices and prayers,
accept them on behalf of those
who we remember this day:
Lord, make them pass
from death to life,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

7. Sanctus (+ Benedictus)
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Benedictus
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domine.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
8. Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei, qui tollis pecatta mundi
dona eis requiem.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem sempitername.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them rest.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them eternal rest.
9. Lux Aeterna
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis,
quia pius es.
Let everlasting light shine upon them, Lord,
with Thy saints for ever,
for Thou art merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them,
for Thou art merciful.
10. Pie Jesu
Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem.
Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem, sempiternam.
Merciful Jesus, O Lord, grant them rest.
Merciful Jesus, O Lord, grant them eternal rest.
11. Libera me
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna
in die illa tremenda
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra,
dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo,
dum discussion venerit atque venture ira:
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.

Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death
on that awful day
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken
and you shall come to judge the world by fire.

I am seized with fear and trembling
until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come:
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken.

12. In Paradisum
In paradisum deducant angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyrus
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.

Chorus angelorum te suscipat
et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere,
aeternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into paradise;
at your coming may the martyrs receive you
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.

May the chorus of angels receive you
and with Lazarus, once poor,
may you have eternal rest.

The following Latin Mass translation and words were taken from requiemsurvey.org

The Pope’s Latin Tweets Soar!

Posted on 18. Feb, 2015 by in Latin Language

Some people say that Latin is a “dead” language, and you can hear my not-so sarcastic thoughts on that subject (here) in a post titled “If Latin is a dead language, Do zombies speak it?”

A generated meme created at Philosoraptor

A generated meme created at Philosoraptor

However, the trends of social media would prove that it is anything BUT dead! Facebook even offers the option to allow you to change your language to Latin! You can check out how to take the Latin Facebook Challenge: here.

Use Latin on Facebook! Like a Boss!

Use Latin on Facebook! Like a Boss!

Furthermore, I must hand it to Pope Francis for not deterring away from Latin too much. Late last year, I was highly disappointed in his decision to have Latin replaced by Italian as the Vatican synod’s official language. You can read more about this shift in tradition: here.

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

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

However,  Pope Francis’ twitter account in Latin has been a huge success with over 326,000 followers (as of 2/18/2015), which is more than those following papal tweets in German or Arabic. A link to Pope’s Francis Twitter Page (here). His homepage originally read “Welcome to the official Twitter page of His Holiness Pope Francis.” However for this Latin language page, it reads “Tuus adventus in paginam Papae Francisci breviloquentis optatissimus est.” How awesome is that!

So, I had to ask myself-who exactly is reading this. It is Latinists, Latin enthusiasts, interested and curious people? Daniel Gallagher, an expert in the language and member of the team in charge of translating and posting the pope’s tweets, said “We have every reason to think that many are young students, from universities, schools or even younger and that some use the tweets as homework, setting out to translate them.” He followed with saying “Others are journalists, lawyers, or people nostalgic for the Latin lessons of their youth, who get a kick out of translating a Francis phrase a day. Some get so involved that they reply to the pope’s tweets in Latin.”

This made me think, what an amazing way to practice Latin everyday! I would highly encourage it for anyone wanting to explore their Latin in a real-time and present circumstance.

Although Gallagher offers me another solution to “who is following these Latin tweets;” I was unsure if I truly believed that ALL 326,000 followers were Latin students of one sort or another. I mean, 326,000 does not sound like a population of a dead language. Albeit, Gallagher addresses this saying “Some follow the pope in Latin because it’s a way to create a group. They enjoy belonging to an unusual community, with its own code. If you are able to translate it, you are accepted into the club.”

Ah!

So, Latin is now a elitism hipster movement? So does that mean it making a comeback?  I am not really sure. I hope so.

Well, if you are not following the Pope- I would recommend it for the daily practice!