Diss Tracks in Ancient Rome

YouTube is known for its variety of content: music videos, tutorials, Do-It-Yourself videos (DIYs), and diss tracks. Diss tracks are “music videos” which either poke fun at the person creating it or someone else. All diss tracks have cringeworthy lyrics and a repetitive beat. Unfortunately, the most popular diss tracks on YouTube are the ones made by Logan Paul and Jake Paul. In fact, both of them were extremely popular last year for dissing each other (I recommend not clicking the link). Today, if you want to ruin someone’s reputation, the best thing to do would be to create a diss track. It’s a modern, memorable, and catchy way.

In Ancient Rome, the Romans didn’t have YouTube, so what did they do to publicly defame people ? Well, just like how the Paul brothers are famous for their diss tracks, Catullus was famous for his hate-filled poems in Ancient Rome. In fact, in one of his other poems, Catullus threatens Asinius Marrucinus and says that he will write “300 hendecasyllabic verses…[if Marrucinus does not] send back the napkin” (Poem 12). This threat is merely the Ancient Roman way of saying ‘I’m going to publicly embarrass you by creating something’.

So, while the Romans lived in the Ancient World, and we live in a more modern one, human instincts have not changed. If you want to defame someone, it’s quite probably that you would create something, whether it’s a rumor, poem, or diss track. Human instinct has not changed much, and we still do the same things, but in a more complicated way (making a poem is easier than making a music video).

What Do Instagram, Bollywood, And Latin Have In Common?

The other day, I was bored, so I went onto Instagram and searched up Bollywood actors. Among those actors, I searched up Anushka Sharma. I was dumbfounded when I read her Instagram “bio”. In the beginning part of it, she had a Latin phrase. Below is a screenshot of it.

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It reads “illegitimi non carborundum”. I knew I had to find out more about the phrase, so I immediately Googled it. It turns out that Anushka Sharma is either a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, a popular T.V. show on Hulu, or she’s just really into old school Latin jokes. If you haven’t read my previous article on The Handmaid’s Tale, I suggest you take a few seconds to do so now by clicking on the link attached to “The Handmaid’s Tale”. According to Vanity Fair, like the phrase “nolite te bastardes carborundorum”, the phrase “illegitimi non carborundum” is another fake Latin phrase. It has more or less the same meaning as “nolite te bastardes carborundorum”, which is “don’t let the bastards grind you down.

If that wasn’t enough, I also stumbled onto Anushka Sharma’s husband’s Instagram account (keep in mind that I was pretty bored at this point). OH BOY. Her husband, Virat Kohli, a well-known Indian cricketer had the phrase “Carpe diem” as his Instagram bio. Below is a screenshot of it.

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Woah. Now, the first thing that irked me was that Carpe diem was written as one word. And, if that wasn’t enough, he had a link right below it to promote an online clothing company. And, to put the cherry on top of all of that, Kohli forgot to complete the phrase! Yes, you heard that right, “Carpe diem” is NOT the whole phrase. According to Brittanica, “Carpe diem” is just the beginning of a phrase from Horace’s Odes, and the whole phrase can be translated as “pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the next one.”

Now, I’ve always been told that “Carpe diem” means “seize the moment”, but the whole thing about not trusting the future? I’ve never seen the phrase be translated and interpreted like that. Now, the question is, does Virat Kohli know the full phrase, or is he using a commonly-used phrase for his Instagram bio? And, does Anushka Sharma know that the phrase “illegitimi non carborundum” is a fake, joke phrase for Latin students? If they don’t, it’s alright. After all, Smart People Know Latin.