Latin Featured in Incredibles 2

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During this record-breaking, polar vortex cold, I sat down in front of a blazing fire to watch Incredibles 2 with my sister. The movie continued off from the end of the first movie and managed to keep everything similar, besides the facial features of Violet’s crush, Tony. This could be because Tony first looked like a creep or due to a different animator’s work, but either way, it was a noticeable difference. The Incredibles franchise takes place in a world where a few people have superpowers, like Frozone, but federal governments have banned the use of them after Mr. Incredible saved a man from committing suicide. In this movie, Elastigirl, who is also Bob (Mr. Incredible’s) wife, is given an Elasticycle and opportunity to work with a passionate billionaire to advocate for superheroes everywhere.

This opportunity first leads Elastigirl from saving a Hovertrain furiously speeding backwards in New Urbem. As it turns out, the operator of the train had been manipulated by the Screenslaver, the main villain of this movie. Incredibles 2 did not disappoint and kept my family and I laughing throughout the entirety of the movie. The Latin connection to all of this, of course, is New Urbem. The Latin word for city is urbs, urbis and when declined, urbem is city in the accusative case. I’ve got absolutely no idea as to why the storyline creators chose to name the city Urbem but as we have all seen before, using a Latin word for a name makes the place seem more sophisticated and futuristic.

 

Who Puts the GLAD in Gladiator?

Image result for HerculesOne of the most common stereotypes that constantly shows up throughout movies, books, and other forms of medium is the dumb jock. The dumb jock is typically both attractive and athletic but never smart. One example is Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls; Cady Heron, the main character and new girl, pretends to be bad at math, so her crush can spend time with her to help her. However, Cady notes that while helping her, Aaron consistently messes up, so she has to drop hints for him to get to the right answer. We have all seen this type of character, whether it be in a book, movie, or in other popular culture references.

However, what most people don’t know is that the dumb jock stereotype originates from Heracles. Heracles, although abnormally strong, hated sitting and learning. Because of his irrational temper, this led to young Hercules striking, and killing, his music teacher, Linus, with a lyre. After this incident, Hercules focused on using his physical strength to develop mental strength. However, by our standards today, Hercules, in no way, was a smart man.

Being Barefooted in Ancient Rome Was Good?

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The majority of politicians, in Ancient Rome, have been immortalized through the skilled craft of creating sculptures. One thing most have in common is that they are all barefooted. You can look at examples of the great military commander Julius Caesar, or even the crazy ruler Nero. It is safe to assume that Ancient Romans wore shoes, but the reason behind their shoes not being sculpted was because Emperors/rulers were thought to be equal to all men while also similar to God. By constructing temples for one, or various, gods, an Emperor showed his spiritualness, and by being immortalized as barefoot, he was forever remembered as being equal to all men. Why does this factoid matter, you ask? Art showcases and preserves feelings and beliefs of a certain group of people, so later in the future, when people look back, they can literally see what was happening and infer what was going on in peoples’ minds.

Homosexuality in Ancient Rome v. Modern America

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During the last school year, in my freshman Latin 2 Greek 1 honors class, I read a lot of poems written by Catullus. This included his erotic poems to his male friends, or what we called his homosexual poems. Over the course of the spring term, we read several Catullus poems, but one that we did not read was poem 16. This poem is somewhat a homosexual one but more harsh than anything. The first line, which reads “Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo” takes the reader by surprise and is shocking as well.

This led me to wondering how homosexuality was treated in Ancient Rome. Thanks to a quick conversation with my teacher, Mr. Ciraolo (buy his book here), I found out that not many people cared if a man acted on his homosexual impulses as long as he had children to success him. Although this is a very weird way of looking at a sexual orientation, I found that it was somewhat logical as well as tolerant.

According to Stanford University, there was nothing that differentiated homosexual and heterosexual behavior in both Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece.  However, it was illegal for a man to be passive during sex. I found this odd yet interesting, particularly because many people in the West, America in particular, discriminate against same-sex couples merely because they are of the same sex and have sex. One example is the baker who absolutely refused to bake a cake for a gay couple. Then, in the summer of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker. Insane. It’s astonishing to think that Ancient Rome was arguably more tolerant of same-sex couples than we are today.

Is Pseudo-Latin Actually A Thing?

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Believe it or not, pseudo-Latin is a thing. In fact, you’ve probably already seen it. Lorem Ipsum is known as pseudo-Latin. Lorem Ipsum is a dummy text which is used to fill in documents and websites, so the viewers and editors can pay more attention to the format and layout. Today, a lot of websites and desktop publishing softwares use Lorem Ipsum to fill in blank spaces.  However, contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not scrambled words and randomized text¹. The text in Lorem Ipsum originates from one of Cicero’s works. So, does that make Lorem Ipsum real Latin or pseudo-Latin?

¹ Even though Lorem Ipsum resembles Latin, the text has no meaning. The letters k, w, and z don’t exist in Latin, so similar words are inserted in their place.

 

“Dulce et Decorum est” by Wilfred Owen

“Dulce et Decorum est” is a well-known anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen, In this poem, Owen describes the shock of a gas attack and the effects they had on soldiers who were lucky enough to survive them. From a glance at the poem, you can see that the poem is broken into 4 verses and structured around three disturbing images. The poem itself is written in two parts (14 lines each); the first part is written in present tense, as if he’s one of the soldiers, and the second part is written as if he’s watching what’s happening from a distance. Owen’s effort to convey the horrors of war was successful because the imagery he used throughout the poem was solid.

Here is the poem:

In the first stanza, a group of soldiers are in no man’s land, trying to go back into the trenches. During the first few lines, the reader can easily picture the horrible conditions of the trenches; the soldiers were compared to beggars because of their physical and mental conditions. The second image, in the second stanza, is more disturbing; Owen writes about a soldier who fails to put his gas mask on, in a timely manner, during a gas attack. And last but not least, the third image Owen depicts is in the fourth stanza. In it, Owen illustrates how that dying soldier, and other dead soldiers, was/were treated by writing, “Behind the wagon that we flung him in,” (18). This shows that they were all tossed into a wagon and buried together, without a proper burial.

In the last two lines of the poem (28 and 29), Owen writes, “the old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori”. The last two lines are important because the title of the poem comes from it, and he rejects Horace’s beliefs. Horace was an Ancient Roman poet who wrote, in the Odes, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” (III.2.13). “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” can be translated as “It is sweet and proper to die for the fatherland”. Wilfred calls Horace’s glorification an old lie and tries to prove how choking, and dying, from a gas attack is neither sweet nor proper. He ends the poem with that, for a deeper effect, which worked.

Is It Sinister To Be Sinistra?

Throughout history, people did not consider being left-handed a good thing. In fact, some lefties were forced to start writing with their right hand. For example, one of my parent’s family friends is ambidextrous because the school he went to forced him to write with his right hand even though he was left-handed. Even today, some cultures view being left-handed as an unfortunate thing. In Europe, people used to call homosexuals left-handed. This transformed the word’s definition into something offensive. In Latin, the word sinistra, sinistrae (feminine) means left handed. Sinistra has the same root as sinister, which means inauspicious. In Ancient Rome, left-handed people were considered to be unreliable. However, surprisingly, left-handed soldiers in the Roman Legion were considered to be special because they could fight with different methods.

This is definitely still true today. When I serve in tennis, my ball normally ends up going around 40mph and deep into the service box. I also hit fast, flat returns with my forehand because my left-hand is strong and dominant. This helps me win most matches because it’s easier for me to aim at their backhand while they’re lost over which hand my forehand is.

The Wall Street Journal & Acta Diurna

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The first newspaper in Ancient Rome was called the Acta Diruna. The Acta Diruna was a daily newspaper that was carved in stone and posted in public places, like the Forum. The Ancient Roman Forum was a marketplace for business owners, as well as customers. This made it the perfect place to have message boards. The original content on the Acta Diruna, also known as Acta, was news about the outcomes of trials and things happening in the legal world. However, it slowly started expanding by adding news about marriages, deaths, and births in influential families.

We have the same exact thing today. The Wall Street Journal, a well-known newspaper, started off as a newspaper that covered news on finance, economics, and business. However, it also occasionally covered topics on World War II and other current events. In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Journal wrote several pieces on what was going on and later ended up winning several Pulitzer Prizes for it. Today, they cover a variety of topics, instead of being limited to the world of finance.

Does this make The Wall Street Journal the modern-day Acta Diruna?

 

References :

http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=1636

https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Wall-Street-Journal