Jansport

I have written about a line of backpacks from Jansport before, but I have not written about Jansport itself yet. Click here if you want to read my blog post on Trans by Jansport backpacks. Anyways, Jansport is a brand that is well known for making backpacks. There is a Latin root in the ‘port’ part of the word. Porto, portare, portavi, portatus, a, um is a verb in Latin, and its definition is “to carry”. What do you do with backpacks? You carry them. Boom, that’s another unexpected connection to Latin.

Nike

Nike is one of the biggest retailers for sportswear, shoes, and other athletic wear for athletes. I get all of my sneakers and tennis shoes from there. However, there is a little bit of history behind Nike’s ‘swoosh’ logo. The woman, who created the logo, designed it to look like, both, a swoosh and a wing. And, on top of that, Nike was an Ancient Greek goddess who was the goddess of victory. One of her symbols were wings, just like the brand Nike uses today. Nike (the brand) has a smart marketing strategy because they sponsor a lot of athletes who are considered to be winners. For example, one of the best athletes, in my opinion, is 3-time World champion and Olympic Gold medalist Allyson Felix, who is sponsored by Nike. This makes people feel like Nike is a brand for winners. And, if you thought that this is the only correlation you could find between Nike and Ancient Rome, you’re wrong. Nike also has a line of running shoes, for both men and women, called Nike Pegasus. Nike Pegasus shoes have been out for a little over thirty years and have provided most runners the comfort and support that they need for their feet to be able to run to the best of their ability. They are also designed to provide agility, like it’s Ancient Greek namesake, according to this article. Who knew that Nike used a goddess known for victory and sneakers named after a mythological Ancient Greek creature?

Look What You Made Me Do

A little over a week ago, Taylor Swift made a huge comeback into the music industry after taking a little break; she released a single, called ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, and its music video. In the video, she shows all of her previous phases and outfits. However, that is not the biggest part of the video. According to the Toronto Sun, and many other newspapers, Taylor Swift was in a bathtub with 10 million US Dollars worth of jewelry. Neil Lane had to take diamonds out of his personal vault and loan it to her for the video production. That fact really surprised me, but what astounded me even more was that there was an engraving on both arms of the throne she was sitting on. The engraving is ‘ET TU BRUTE’. Latin reference anyone?

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If you look carefully, you can see the inscription on both arms of her throne.

“Et tu, Brute?” are what most people perceive Caesar’s last words to be. He ‘said’ that after he found out that Brutus had betrayed him along with the many senators. Shakespeare popularized that line in his play, Julius Caesar. However, most historians disagree with Shakespeare and his dramatization of the play. Suetonius, a century and a half later, says that Caesar died saying “Kai su, teknon?”, which is Greek for “You too, my son?”. However, “Et tu, Brute?” and its meaning has become one of the most popular lines from Shakespeare. That phrase symbolizes Caesar’s shock for when he found out that Brutus was involved with the plans for his assassination. I believe that the reason Taylor Swift included that as a tiny part of her music video is because its her indirect way of saying, “trust no one; even your closest friends will betray you”. This ties in with the theme of the music video because the whole video revolves around the fact that everyone close to her ended up betraying her, so now she won’t depend on anyone ever again, including herself.

Mean Girls

Mean Girls is a movie that released in 2004, but it is still well-known by teenagers today. In fact, most teenage girls, including me, have lines from the movie memorized. However, what most people, who’ve watched this movie, don’t realize is that there are a lot of hidden references. The most obvious one, and my personal favorite, is that the queen bee is named Regina George. Regina is a first declension, feminine noun in Latin; its definition is ‘queen’. Coincidence? I think not. Also, there is a scene (one of my all time favorites in the movie) where Regina George’s sidekick, Gretchen Wieners, has a mental outburst, and compares herself and Regina to Brutus and Caesar (Caesar being Regina and Brutus being Gretchen). Julius Caesar was assassinated by many Ancient Roman senators, but it was Brutus who helped lure Caesar to his death. Brutus, at first, didn’t want to help the senators and join the conspiracy, but eventually broke down and gave in to them. In the scene, Gretchen questions why she can’t be as popular or influential as Regina because they’re exactly the same. The only exception is that Gretchen lacks the confidence Regina has. This can easily be related into Ancient Roman politics; the more persuasive and confident you were, the more power you had.

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a TV series based off of a bestselling book. The book and series are similar in many ways. For example, there is a phrase, in the book, which is tattooed on womens’ bodies. In the TV show, the phrase shows up scratched near the floor. The phrase is “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”, which doesn’t have a proper translation, nor is it a proper phrase. However, its direct translation is, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. According to Vanity Fair, the phrase goes way back. It’s been used as a school joke too; the author admits that it was a joke in her Latin classes. However, the origin of this made-up Latin phrase is the late 1890s. During that time, Carborundorum was a trade name and because most people don’t know that now, they assume it’s Latin.

Song Lyrics

Recently, The Chainsmokers released a song, “Something Just Like This”, with Coldplay. The lyrics in this song mention “Achilles and his gold” and “Hercules and his gifts”. Chris Martin, in these lyrics, is comparing himself to two different mythological heroes: Achilles and Hercules. Achilles was a hero in Greek mythology, one of the main protagonists in Homer’s Iliad. Achilles had a helmet and a shield made of gold and silver. These two things protected him when he fought the Trojans. Hercules, also mentioned in the song, was another hero who is/was known for his superhuman strength. His gifts are that he has a lot of power and he’s tougher than all mortals and most gods. In this song, Chris compares himself to these two heroes, as well as Spiderman and Batman, saying that he’s just an average man. He says that he’s not looking for anybody who’s perfect, but, instead, somebody who makes him feel more than an average human, somebody whom he can love and depend on.