Tag Archives: history

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.



4 Examples of Latin & Video Games

Posted on 25. Jun, 2014 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salve Omnes!

Video games permeate through our world from the popular game consoles, Facebook games, phone apps, and so on. But, I bet you didn’t know that some of your favorite video games…actually have Latin in them! Here is an awesome basic video that shows some of the more popular instances, but some of which I explain more in depth later on.

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Pokémon (or Pocket Monsters) at little creatures trainers duel with in order to win gym badges and defeat evil. Pokémon have different abilities, shapes and sizes; they usually exhibit one major element (grass, water, fighting, ground, psychic, fairy, etc.).  If you are interested in more of the origins of  Pokémon terms, names, and word; please check out this site here.

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Mereyl (Mare-sea)

Dugtrio (Tri- Latin root for 3)

Teddiursa (Urse- Bear)

Sealeo (Leo-Lion)

Litleo (Leo-Lion)

Torterra (Terra- Earth)

Luxio (Lux- Light)

Xerneas (Cernunnos Celtic god based on a deer itself from the Latin ‘cervus’)

Lunatone (luna-moon)

Solrock (sol-sun)


Curiously, the Final Fantasy writers utilize many ancient monster and mythological creature names for their games. There has been plenty of discussion about this facet of the game, but it  assumed that the creatures are simply not copyrighted and thus can be used.  The latest monster addition is of the mythical monster Scylla (here). However, the Latin within this game can be directly seen within some of the villain’s names.

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Gaius Van Baelsar (Legatus of the XIVth legion and overseer of the occupation of Ala Mhigo)- Gauis is a very popular first name amongst Roman men.

Nero Tol Scaeva (Members of the XIVth legion)- Nero was the popular nomen (Latin for name) for the Emperor Nero. Scaeva means a left handed person, and fittingly all his cut scene picture him using his left hand primarily.

 Livia Sas Junius (Members of the XIVth legion)- Livia is a popular name amongst Roman women, but most notably the name of Emperor Augustus’ second wife.

Solus Zos Galvus  (First Emperor of Garlemald)- Solus  means alone or only in Latin. This may refer to the fact that Solus is the emperor and the only one with power.


Do you like video games? Do you want to play one that is completely in Latin? The following site (here) has Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: Adventure of Link all in Latin!



This game is designed to allow all your favorite Nintendo characters duel against one another with various weapons and background.

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However, the Latin for this game ties in with one the most popular music tracks that can be played during the dueling.

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For the translation both official and literal, please visit here. I don’t wish to spam this post with lyrics.



For video games that touch upon Ancient Rome are countless, but for an entire list check here. However, one particular game that I played growing up was the city-building game known as Caesar I-III. Did anyone else play?

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For one of the more recent Ancient Rome themed video games (Ryse: Son of Rome) check out a historical analysis here.


Game of Thrones & Ancient Rome: Part II

Posted on 30. Apr, 2014 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

 Game of Thrones and Ancient Rome: Part II 

The popular book and television series, Game of Thrones, portrays a world rich with magic, adventure, romance, and history. While most fans of the series thoroughly enjoy the refreshing originality of the series; others would say that Game of Thrones is simply a fantastical interpretation of actual historic events and themes. In this post, I will attempt to analyze some of these historic references that may be obvious or not so obvious. While it is known that a majority of the history that Game of Thrones is based on is much later than Ancient Rome (1400′s or later); I would argue that there are several examples from Ancient Rome that relate to this series.

DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the series and are not up to date on the HBO series’ episodes, I should warn you that there are spoilers ahead! I will not be discussing any events that lie beyond the current HBO series (OathKeeper;Episode S4E4) as I do not wish to deter those who have not read the books from this post. Any quote from the books will not reveal any spoilers or new information.


Tyrion Lannister vs. Emperor Claudius

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(As always, please excuse any language- it is after all Game of Thrones)

These two figures represent the black sheep of their families. Both Tyrion and Claudius are born into prestigious families of power, and both are ridiculed and belittled for their physical abnormalities. However, none of their physical traits interfere with their witty minds and capability to lead (in Tyrion’s case: into battle a few times and in Claudius’ case: ruling Rome and into Britain).  I, of course, refer to the Emperor Claudius that many people know from Robert Grave’s series “I, Claudius.” In which, Claudius has the good sense to “play the fool” in order to be overlooked in the chaos and murders of those wishing to be emperor. Tyrion unfortunately does not have this reticent talent.  From the “I, Claudius” series:

Livia: Tiberius wants to be loved, at least after his death if not before. And the best way to insure that… [in reference to Caligula becoming emperor]
Claudius: …is to have someone worse to follow him. Yes, naturally. He’s certainly no fool.
Livia: He’s the biggest fool in my family. I’ve always thought that that was you. But I think now… I was wrong.
Claudius: [Claudius pauses, crafting a response] Grandmother, after all these years you didn’t invite me to dinner just to tell me this.
Livia: Wine has made you bold, hasn’t it.
Claudius: You said you kept in with Caligula because he was to be the next emperor.
Livia: Lost your stutter too I see.
Claudius: But if by then you’re dead, what difference can it make to you?
Livia: Oh, it makes a lot of difference. And that’s really why you’re here.
Livia: I want to be a goddess, Claudius.

Kingsguard  vs. Praetorian Guard

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These two guards of the highest degree and class are sworn to protect their king and/or emperor. They are usually loyal, but are loyal (more so) to those with the large coffer . While the Kingsguard swear their lives to their king and forsake women and children; the Roman praetorian guards are body guards who were allowed to have a family. Furthermore, the Kingsguard is used as a political tool by various characters to promote their allies and give power. While the praetorian guard is both a political tool, but at the same time it becomes its own political body. They were even able to claim Claudius as emperor of Rome.

Proclaiming Claudius Emperor, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, oil on canvas, c. 1867. According to one version of the story of Claudius' ascension to the role of Emperor, members of the Praetorian Guard found him hiding behind a curtain in the aftermath of the murder of Caligula in 41, and proclaimed him emperor.

Proclaiming Claudius Emperor, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, oil on canvas, c. 1867. According to one version of the story of Claudius’ ascension to the role of Emperor, members of the Praetorian Guard found him hiding behind a curtain in the aftermath of the murder of Caligula in 41, and proclaimed him emperor.


Joffrey Baratheon vs. Caligula

Courtesy of Louis le Grand & WikiCommons.

Look like any we know from Game of Thrones? Bust of Caligula at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen Courtesy of Louis le Grand & WikiCommons.

For a Great Comparison Picture- view it here.

Perhaps it is madness or cruelty that is the common thread between these two individuals.  In regards to Caligula: “Some scholars have suggested that an illness made him come unhinged—possibly temporal lobe epilepsy, hyperthyroidism or Wilson’s disease, an inherited disorder that can cause mental instability.” (Cohen; History Lists) If you are unfamiliar with all the crazy and “mad” actions of this Roman Emperor; read on:

He went out of his way to humiliate the senate (Suetonius says that he intended to make his horse consul), and encouraged treason trials for his own financial benefit. He also insisted on being treated as a god (in contrast to the wiser policy of Augustus). Excavations in the Roman forum in the summer of 2003 confirmed that he incorporated the ancient Temple of Castor and Pollux within his palace – a sacrilege reversed by his successor Claudius I.

Gaius had three sisters, with whom he was alleged to have committed incest, and they were given unprecedented public honors, being included in the soldiers’ oath of allegiance.

Joffrey’s cruelty and madness can be accredited to his parent’s incestuous relationship and thus producing his abnormal genetics (i.e. mind). However, George R.R. Martin neither mentions nor confirms this hypothesis. However, it should be noted that George R.R. Martin is familiar with Emperor Caligula’s exploits, because he named one of his deviant cats: Caligula.

*** “EUREKA” MOMENT: I say that Tyrion is like Claudius and Joffrey is like Caligula; just as Claudius and Caligula were Uncle and Nephew-so are Tyrion and Joffrey.


War of the Five Kings vs. Year of the Five Emperors

In both cases, kings and emperors claim power when they have none or seek to take power where they see weakness. But unlike the War of the Five Kings, the Year of the Five Emperors features the succession and death (assassination) of five different emperors within a year.  The War of the Five Kings is the fight and struggle of five men fighting each other within several years.

The Seven Kingdoms are at war with one another… false kings destroying the country… the Usurper is dead. The Starks fight the Lannisters, the Baratheons fight each other.                                                                                               ―Daenerys Targaryen to Ser Jorah Mormont

The Year of the Five Emperors refers to the year 193, in which there were five claimants for the title of Roman Emperor. The five were Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus and Septimius Severus. All these “emperors” fought, plotted, and bribed their way to power.  You can read about the crazy year of 193; here.

In Game of Thrones, the War of the Five Kings includes Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, and Balon Greyjoy; all of whom are contending for the Iron Throne after Robert Baratheon’s death.

The following video is from the episode “The Lion and the Rose” in which Joffrey has a performance of the War of the Five Kings shown to his guest:

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The Mad King vs. Emperor Nero

Robert Baratheon: “What about Aerys Targaryen? What did the Mad King say when you stabbed him in the back? I never asked. Did he call you a traitor? Did he plead for a reprieve?

Jaime Lannister: “He said the same thing he’d been saying for hours… “Burn them all.”

— The Mad King’s last words.

The Mad King, also known as Aerys II Targaryen, was known for his madness and his obsession with fire and burning people alive. His madness is often attributed to the incestual relationships his family, the Targaryens, were known for having. Jaime Lannister, also known as the King Slayer, reveals exactly how mad the Mad King was (WARNING-there may be some language):

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The reason I pair the Mad King to Nero is due to the infamous phrase “Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned.” This phrase that portrays this emperor as uncaring and slightly delusional. First, I should state that the phrase itself is anachronism. There were no fiddles during the Great of Fire ( 64 CE). Nero thus played a fiddle-like instrument known as the lyre. Suetonius records Nero’s singing and playing in his “Life of the Twelve Caesars:”

For six days and seven nights destruction raged, while the people were driven for shelter to monuments and tombs…Viewing the conflagration from the tower of Maecenas and exulting, as he said, in “the beauty of the flames,” he sang the whole of the “Sack of Ilium,” in his regular stage costume.

Artwork depicting the Great Fire of Rome

Artwork depicting the Great Fire of Rome. Courtesy of WikiCommons, Hubert Robert, & Mattes.

Thus, I feel as if their love for fire and mad attitude render them worthy comparisons.

Roman Empire vs. Map of Westeros

 My final point is to illustrate the remarkable resemblance between Westeros and the Ancient Roman empire in maps. Here is Westeros:

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A cleaner more precise map; can be found here in an interactive map (like google maps).

Ancient Rome

Roman Empire Trajan 117AD . Courtesy of WikiCommons & Tataryn77.

Roman Empire Trajan 117AD . Courtesy of WikiCommons & Tataryn77.

As you can see, the capital (Rome or King’s Landing) is in the southern realm of the map, the Wall (Hadrian or Night’s Watch) is north, the East is exotic and unfamiliar (like Egypt, Ancient Near East, etc.) and so on. The climates are quite similar to the ancient world with northern being colder and southern being more Mediterranean. Here is a behind-the-scenes look on how the HBO production staff handled the realms, worlds, and sets. And you will be able to see how the makers of Game of Thrones pulled from history (and the real world) to create the HBO series.

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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment below for questions or themes you wish for me to explore in next week’s post or the following weeks!