Tag Archives: Latin grammar

Spotlight Text of the Month: Book of Kells

Posted on 08. Apr, 2015 by in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes!

I have been giving it some series thought and I think it would be a great monthly post addition to have Spotlight Texts! By this I mean to summarizes a text of Latin in all its major facets and include an excerpt from the text with Latin and English. This week I thought we would start with one the most famous intact Latin texts: Book of Kells! Also, I have been watching the History Channel’s Vikings a little too much and wanted to do a text not from Ancient Rome.

Book of Kells. Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit Liber generationis of the Gospel of Matthew. Compare this page with the corresponding page from the Book of Kells (see here), especially the form of the Lib monogram. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Book of Kells. Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit Liber generationis of the Gospel of Matthew. Compare this page with the corresponding page from the Book of Kells (see here), especially the form of the Lib monogram. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Name: Book of Kells
Also Known As: Book of Columbia
Date: 800 AD
Author(s): Monastery Monks (sometimes referred to Hand A, Hand B, and Hand C)
Type of Text: Hiberno-Saxon Illuminated Manuscript*
The Book of Kells. Folio 27v contains the symbols of the Four Evangelists (Clockwise from top left): a man (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an eagle (John) and an ox (Luke). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

The Book of Kells. Folio 27v contains the symbols of the Four Evangelists (Clockwise from top left): a man (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an eagle (John) and an ox (Luke). Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Genre: Religious
Content:
Four Gospels of the New Testament with various prefatory texts and tables. In detail, it includes the complete text of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, it only includes a portion of the Gospel of John that is through John 17:13. Many scholars believe that the rest of the gospel has either been destroyed or lost.
Type of Latin: 
The text itself is drawn from the Vulgate, but there is older translations such as the Vetus Latina.
Distinguishing Features:
It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination.
It is also widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure.
The Book of Kells offers a great example of illuminated manuscript’s Latin which usually runs together continuous and rarely breaking up words.
Book of Kells. Folio 309r contains text from the Gospel of John written in Insular majuscule by the scribe known as Hand B.Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Book of Kells. Folio 309r contains text from the Gospel of John written in Insular majuscule by the scribe known as Hand B.Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Where is it today:
The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells, which was its home for centuries. Today, it is on permanent display at Trinity College Library, Dublin.
In Pop Culture:
There was a short animated film entitled “Secret of Kells” that is a fictional retelling of the Book of Kells. The following summary was provided by IMDB: A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. This film was even nominated to the 2010 Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Film. You may watch it here.
 Additional Information:
Have you been inspired? Read more on the Book of Kells-here.
LATIN & ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS

Vulgate.

Book of Kells.

Caenantibus autem eis accepit Iesus panem et benedixit ac fregit deditque discipulis suis et ait Accipite et comedite; hoc est Corpus meum.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Matth. xxvi. 26.

. . . . . accipit . . . . . . . . discipulis suis dicens accipite edite ex hoc omnes hoc est enim Corpus meum quod confringitur pro saeculi vita.

 

Heli heli lema sabacthani.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Ib. xxvii. 46.

Heli heli laba sabacthani.

 

Ceteri vero dicebant sine videamus an veniat Helias liberans eum.

The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him
Ib. xxvii. 49.
. . . Helias et liberaret eum.
Factum est autem in diebus illis exiit edictum a Caesare Augusto ut describeretur universus orbis.

 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
Luke ii 1.
in illis diebus . . . accessare agusto ut censum profiterentur universi per orbem terrae
ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore praegnante.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to himand was expecting a child.

Ib. ii. 5.

. . . sibi disponsata . . praegnante de spiritu sancto.
et videbit omnis caro salutare dei.

And all people will see God’s salvation.’
Ib. iii. 6.
et videbitur maies [sicdomini.
genimina viperarum.

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Ib. iii. 7.
o generatio viperarum.
adveniat regnum tuum: panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis cotidie.

your kingdom come:Give us each day our daily bread
Ib. xi. 2-3.
adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra, da nobis hodie

Vulgate.

Book of Kells.

[No corresponding passage.]

[At end of verse:]

et depositum involvit sindone, et posuit eum in monumento exciso, in quo nondum quisquam positus fuerat.

 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
Ib. xxiii. 53.
. . . . in sindone munda . . . . . . . . . . . et imposito eo imposuit monumento lapidera magnam.
Et cum dixisset, statim discessit al eo lepra, et mundatus est.

And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
Mark i. 17
[After mundatus estet inspiciens Iesus austri vultu eicit eum.
grex porcorum magnus pascens.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
MARK. v. 11.
. . . . . . pascensium [sic]
et videt tumultum.

When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.
Ib. v. 38.
vidit cumuultum [sic].
Et angariaverunt praetereuntem quempiam.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
Ib. xv. 21.
. . . . angarizaverunt . . . .
Quod natum est ex carne caro est, et quod natum est ex spiritu spiritus est.

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritgives birth to spirit
John iii. 6.
Quod natum est ex carne caro est quia de carne natum est, et quod natum est ex spiritu spiritus est quia deus spiritus est et ex deo natus est*

Well that was a lot to translate!

*Hiberno-Saxon manuscripts are those manuscripts made in the British Isles from about 500 CE to about 900 CE in England, but later in Ireland and elsewhere, or those manuscripts made on the continent in scriptoria founded by Hiberno-Scottish or Anglo-Saxon missionaries and which are stylistically similar to the manuscripts produced in the British Isles. It is almost impossible to separate Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Scottish and Welsh art at this period, especially in manuscripts; this art is therefore called Insular art. (This definition was taken from Wikipedia.)
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE LATIN TEXTS FEATURED IN THE MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT POST!

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.

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!