Thursday, October 08, 2009

Lovely Latin

Somehow or another I tend to trip down the path of Latin around the time of year students examine Ancient Indians . Since so many of our references to time refer to B.C. I launch into a discussion regarding our system of time reference.

B.C. and A.D.

We learn about the Julian and Gregorian calendars and discuss the entire Before Christ (B.C.) or Before the Common Era (B.C.E.) thing.

We learn that the Anno Domini dating system came to be mainly to figure out the dates for the Christian Eastern observance by a monk fondly remembered as Dennis the Little or Dennis the Short. The name was devised not because he was short in stature but because he was of the most humble sort. Until he devised the Anno Domini system the consular dating system relating to the various Consuls of Rome had been used. Our friend Dennis didn’t like the fact that folks were having to use the name of a particular nasty emperor (Diocletian) to refer to certain years.

I also share a list of interesting Latin phrases with students. Some actually become part of our classroom vernacular over the remainder of the year, and I have given extra credit to students who have discovered more phrases on their own or who memorize some of the longer phrases.

Here is a list of 13 Latin phrases I keep in my bag of tricks:

1. a mari usque ad mare – from sea to sea…. ask students why Canada would have this as their national motto

2. ab imo pectore – from the bottom of my heart

3. acta non verba – actions not words…..this one comes in handy as we work on building our character

4. ad valorem – by the value

5. ad sum – here! present!.....I think you can understand how this phrase becomes part of our classroom lexicon

6. casus belli – event of war….the incident that is used as the cause of war. I refer back to this one often as the year progresses.

7. corruptissima re publica plurimae leges - When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous

8. e pluribus unum – from many comes one…..this one is referred to more than once in my classroom since it is found on the Great Seal of the United States

9. legem terrae – the law of the land

10. Libertas Justitia Veritas – liberty, justice, truth

11. manus manum lavat – one hand washes the other

12. pater patriae – father of the nation

13. per curiam – ‘through the senate” legal term meaning by the court

I used number 7 as my Facebook status this week and it prompted a friend to share with me the phrase “Pro Aris Et Focis”. Scott advised it translates to “For our alters and our hearths”. You may recognize it as “For God and country….”

Today is Thursday and even though the main Thursday 13 site is no more (for now) a few folks still carry on. You can find other 13 lists by clicking here.


Alice Audrey said...

I want to hear more about the calender system.

Tracie Nall said...

Great list....that was interesting about the calendar system, thing that I didn't know. The Latin took me back to my high school Latin class...ah, good times.

Happy TT

Georgia Road Geek said...

Don't forget the following...

Carpe Diem - Seize the day
Caveat Emptor - Buyer beware
Semper Fidelis - Always Faithful (USMC motto)

EHT said...

Im glad you enjoyed the Latin....I'll try to post more about the calendar systems later. Ga Road Geek thanks for the additional phrases. They are all very worthy too...

EHT said...

Im glad you enjoyed the Latin....I'll try to post more about the calendar systems later. Ga Road Geek thanks for the additional phrases. They are all very worthy too...

Mr. D said...

Great List! I'd include:

uti possidetes: ownership to the user (roughly, if you don't use it, you lose it)

semper peratus: Always ready (US Navy motto)

excelsior: ever upward

And here's a fun one for the boys:

hoc habet - literally, "He's had it!" This was what Romans shouted when a gladiator went down in the amphitheater.

Mikethelawstudent said...

Vini Vidi Vici!

thanks for the post and thanks for teaching!