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 India The New Ancient Rome?

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Today, my grandparents showed me a video of Indian Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s daughter-in-law’s wedding dress; it is allegedly worth 5-6 million US Dollars. Now, when most people think of India, they think of the following things: Gandhi, snake charmers, call centers, Tandoori Chicken, poor people living in huts and slums, as well as other things. It’s no secret that many Indians work in the growing field of Information Technology, while others can barely afford to eat two square meals a day. However, not many people know about the wealth disparity; those less fortunate struggle for most, if not all, of their lives, while fortunate ones sit in their air conditioned homes and have multiple servants, as well as drivers.

When I visit India, my family’s servants do whatever I ask and a driver can take me anywhere I’d like. Thanks to my upbringing, I know to refuse and do it myself as I cannot tolerate someone else cleaning my dirty dishes. My food, my chores. That is the mindset I live with, but not many wealthy Indians believe that. Just like how having a luxury car is a sign of an affluent family, so is the number of servants one’s family has.

This extreme wealth disparity reminds me of Ancient Rome’s Plebeians and Patricians. Patricians in Ancient Rome belong to the Upper Class and were almost always involved in politics, whereas Plebeians, roughly 90% of the population, were bribed by free bread and entertainment to not rebel against the injustices they tolerated.

Going back to politics, if it was not for men like Mukesh Ambani, who funded Modi’s campaign and lent his private helicopter to Narendra Modi, Modi would not be the Prime Minister of India today.

Although bread held the Plebeians back from rebelling and possibly becoming better, the lack of a quality education in is what holds most Indians back. Not only do most government schools provide a inadequate education, it is a societal norm to hire a private tutor outside of school. The actual school is not taken seriously, but the tutor is. What happens to the people who can’t afford a private school or a tutor? They’re left behind.

This wealth disparity is arguably the biggest one as not many people have done something to improve the situation. Until one of us takes action, even if it’s to educate more people on the problem itself, the wealth disparity will stay as it is. So, tell me, is India the new Ancient Rome?

Vita Coco Coconut Water

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Vita Coco is a brand that sells coconut water. They sell five different flavors: Orginal, Pineapple, Peach & Mango, Twist of Lime, and Pressed Coconut flavor. My family enjoys the drinking Pressed Coconut, so we always have a couple of bottles in our refrigerator. Also, Vita Coco is one of the first mainstream coconut water brands, so almost everyone knows about it, whether they like it or not. Now, because Vita Coco has become so popular and well-known, some may say the brand is vital, or a source of their liveliness. You see, vita is Latin for the following: life, career, livelihood, and mode of life. Vita Coco is a worldwide brand that almost every coconut water lover knows about- some could say it is a vital coconut water brand!

Also, sorry for the two months of inactivity- I was busy organizing a March For Our Lives Rally in March and in April, I pitched at an investors’ conference.

Oculus Rift

 

Recently, a close friend of mine got the Oculus Rift as a gift for his birthday. The Oculus Rift is sold and created by Facebook. Now, like my friend, I’m a major tech geek, so I was in awe and jealous of him. The Oculus Rift is currently one of the best virtual reality headsets available in the market. It’s on the expensive side but definitely worth it. However, what most people don’t know is that a Latin connection can be made to the Oculus Rift. Oculus, in Latin, means “eye”. If you didn’t know, virtual reality is based off of three things; your vision, perception, and eyesight. It immerses you into a realistic place where you could be but are not. Hence, it’s called virtual reality. Virtual reality has a lot of benefits from a better gaming experience to holding meetings without being with the actual people. This could save time and money! Virtual reality is the future, and leading companies, like Facebook, have brilliantly incorporated the past (Latin) into it.

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).

The Usage Of Latin Words Is Increasing For Naming New Start-Up Companies

Do you want to buy a precious coin for you or a loved one? Do you want to sell your old baseball cards? Are you looking to buy stamps to complete your, or someone else’s, card collection? Well, one online marketplace that you can use to search for these things is Mercari. Mercari is he largest online marketplace to buy and sell goods in Japan, according to LinkedIn. It was created by Ryo Ishizuka, Shintaro Yamada, and Tommy Tomishima. You can read more about Mercari here. Mercari is used to buy and sell almost anything in a quick and easy manner. The word mercari is a Latin word, which means “I bought”. Other words that are derived from mercari are, but not limited to: merchant, Mercury, merchandise, merchandising, and etc. Coding apps and creating new things in the digital world are becoming more and more popular; the usage of Latin words is increasing for naming these new startups.

Picture Credit: Schimiggy

Nestle Vitality


Yesterday, at school, I was thinking about this blog. “I need to post something this week to get back onto my schedule of posting” was one of my thoughts. Then, suddenly, my new topic was right in front of me. Literally. You see, I was drinking enhanced water from Nestlé. And what is that brand of enhanced water called? It’s called “Nestlé Vitality Enhanced Waters from the Vitality Express Dispenser”, according to the website of Nestlé. The product is illustrated as a way to “[v]italize your beverage business” (Nestlé). Vitalize and vitality have the same root from a Latin word: vita.  Vita is Latin for “life”. Words that are derived from vita are, but not limited to: vitality, vitalize, vital, vivacious, and etc. Are you mind-blown, because wow, Latin is truly everywhere.

Click here to read another post about how the Latin word, vita, ties in with gaming.

Here is another post that’s about health and vita.

 

Photo/Logo Credits: Nestlé Professional