Is Latin A Waste Of Time?

Postby davidbanner99@ » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:41 pm

I somehow ended up revising the Latin I used to do on the Ancient Classical History site (back around 2002). Progress is very rapid. Maybe I was inspired that horror movie actor Christopher Lee knew Greek, Latin and another four languages, including Russian.
The text I'm now reading has a lot to do with prostitution and hedonism, banquets and so on. I suppose (like maths) it keeps my mind engaged and less affected by the media.
Of course, a lot of people would point out you can use your time more practically by learning skills more related to the modern world.
As a global power, the Romans lasted an awfully long time. Cause of decline I think was corruption and hedonism in government and society, and a definite loss of social cohesion. When Rome finally was over-run by Germans and Goths, the language eventually split into dialects.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:15 pm

A waste of time? Only you know the answer. It depends on the extent you actually will use what you learn.
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#2

Postby davidbanner99@ » Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:14 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:A waste of time? Only you know the answer. It depends on the extent you actually will use what you learn.

There are apparently occult books that were written in Latin, although I don't lean in that direction. I tend to be motivated by curiosity more than advantage. Definitely challenge. Ancient languages tend to be grammatically more complex and resources are surprisingly weak. Modern language dictionaries give much more detail.
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#3

Postby davidbanner99@ » Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:17 am

I always found Latin hard too. The grammar is complex and the word order can be tricky. People I met who have this interest always tended to be interesting and eccentric.
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#4

Postby davidbanner99@ » Tue Sep 28, 2021 9:43 pm

It seems werewolves have a long history. I found a werewolf story in Latin and there's even a term: "Versipellis" means "shapeshifter". In the Roman story, a man takes off his clothes by a site of monuments, urinates on them and lupus factus est (he turns into a wolf).
The terms that come close to "lupus" seem to relate to prostitutes and a "lupanar" is, in fact, a house of ill-repute.
Of course, learning these things is of no benefit because the language is quite dead. It's been said by many a Soviet psychologist that people with HFA always tend to learn obscure subjects that seldom contribute to society. It's also claimed we have a yearning for the past as we try to escape the present. In Russian it's called "archaism".
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:13 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:Of course, learning these things is of no benefit because the language is quite dead.


There could be some benefit to learning a dead language. It really depends on how you will use it. For example, understanding a dead language could lead to discovery of a lost city. Or maybe it leads to evidence that humanity came to earth from outside the solar system.

I’m not necessarily saying Latin. My only point is that there are useful reasons for a person to learn a dead language. I see it being extremely useful for an anthropologist or historian.

For your area of interest, learning Latin probably will not be all that useful. But picking up a few bits and pieces of Latin might prove of value.

In ‘decision science’ I find it fascinating that the word decide can be traced back to Latin “de” meaning “off” and the suffix “-cide” comes from “caedere” meaning “to cut or kill”.

Think about words like homicide, genocide, pesticide. They all refer to killing. So decide is to cut off or kill the other options.

This is different than a choice, which is traced back to French and can mean to taste or try. A choice then, is reversible as the other options remain available.

How useful is knowing the above? For most people it probably isn’t very valuable, but for me it can make a significant impact. How a system is designed, to be a decision or a choice can be important.

I know it’s subtle, but that’s my two cents.
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#6

Postby davidbanner99@ » Wed Sep 29, 2021 8:54 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
davidbanner99@ wrote:Of course, learning these things is of no benefit because the language is quite dead.


There could be some benefit to learning a dead language. It really depends on how you will use it. For example, understanding a dead language could lead to discovery of a lost city. Or maybe it leads to evidence that humanity came to earth from outside the solar system.

I’m not necessarily saying Latin. My only point is that there are useful reasons for a person to learn a dead language. I see it being extremely useful for an anthropologist or historian.

For your area of interest, learning Latin probably will not be all that useful. But picking up a few bits and pieces of Latin might prove of value.

In ‘decision science’ I find it fascinating that the word decide can be traced back to Latin “de” meaning “off” and the suffix “-cide” comes from “caedere” meaning “to cut or kill”.

Think about words like homicide, genocide, pesticide. They all refer to killing. So decide is to cut off or kill the other options.

This is different than a choice, which is traced back to French and can mean to taste or try. A choice then, is reversible as the other options remain available.

How useful is knowing the above? For most people it probably isn’t very valuable, but for me it can make a significant impact. How a system is designed, to be a decision or a choice can be important.

I know it’s subtle, but that’s my two cents.

Here are some words I listed this week. Some may be of interest. The Romans remained in Britain for enough time to strongly influence English:

Exanimatus = alarmed, exhausted
Detraho, detrahere, detraxi, detractum = to remove, pull off
Motus = emotion, commotion
Deficio, deficere, defeci, defectum = falter, come to an end
Adfero, adferere, attuli, allatum = bring
Umerus, umeri = shoulder
Fastidiose = disdainfully
Contemptus = despicable
Queror, queri, questus sum = complain
Circuitu agere = in an underhanded way
Dimico, dimicare, = contend, battle
Nosco, noscere, novi, notum = find out, get to know
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#7

Postby davidbanner99@ » Wed Sep 29, 2021 9:16 pm

"For example, understanding a dead language could lead to discovery of a lost city. Or maybe it leads to evidence that humanity came to earth from outside the solar system."

This is surprisingly probable. The language you would study for that would be Sumerian, written in cuneiform. It has not been fully translated. The Hebrew Bible seems to have borrowed from earlier Sumerian creation stories where men were created by gods. Our very first account of a "genesis" involves gods who reproduced with homo sapien females, producing giants and freaks. The Hebrew Genesis also includes this account, blamed on fallen angels.
It's not to be ruled out there was life on a nearby planet. Personally I think modern terms such as "angels" essentially mean they originate from the heavens. Ancient peoples didn't imagine even normal flight was possible so "the heavens" had to be some mysterious, supernatural abode of gods. Yet today, we forget ancient peoples couldn't linguistically conceive of even an Apollo rocket or shuttle.
I figure ancient Rome was ahead of us in some aspects of culture such as architecture and cuisine. However, they had no electric, engines, advanced medicine or antibiotics.
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#8

Postby davidbanner99@ » Sat Oct 02, 2021 7:35 pm

This may interest Richard:

Haurio, haurire, hausi, haustum = draw out, swallow, drain

Could be that "hoist" comes from the Latin verb above. Such as hoist a bucket from a well, or a hoist (robbery)
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#9

Postby davidbanner99@ » Sat Oct 02, 2021 7:45 pm

I'm working through a highly graphic text that shows what life in ancient Rome was like. There were sexual, religious rites at lavish banquets, prostitution, hedonism and drinking. I get the impression many people just followed their appetites and that self-indulgence played a big role.
Whereas, the ancient Egyptians strike me as more sophisticated and spiritual.
Somehow Rome seemed uncivilised outside of the paintings and architecture, roads and cities. However, it did last hundreds of years and Latin would have been understood in cities like Bath.
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#10

Postby immense » Tue Oct 05, 2021 6:01 am

Hi @davidbanner99

It's fine for you to study or enjoy Latin. No external justification is required.

Please use this thread to keep me and others updated about your progress in studying ancient latin, and the things you learn and enjoy.

I'm certainly interested in hearing all about it.
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#11

Postby davidbanner99@ » Tue Oct 05, 2021 2:12 pm

immense wrote:Hi @davidbanner99

It's fine for you to study or enjoy Latin. No external justification is required.

Please use this thread to keep me and others updated about your progress in studying ancient latin, and the things you learn and enjoy.

I'm certainly interested in hearing all about it.

It's turning out to be a steady translation of The Satyricon, bit by bit. This has a reputation for being pretty X rated. I like it because it tends to show how some people actually lived. For example, "lucernae" were oil lamps, used to light villas. People had dogs in the home. The text describes markets and wine was a major part of the diet. Sex was often connected to religious ritual based on the god of fertility Priapus. Those initiated appeared to be tattooed. It seems to me that ethics at the time of Nero were far removed from our own. However, as Christianity gained influence, paganism in the Roman World was displaced.
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#12

Postby immense » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:18 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:It seems werewolves have a long history. I found a werewolf story in Latin and there's even a term: "Versipellis" means "shapeshifter". In the Roman story, a man takes off his clothes by a site of monuments, urinates on them and lupus factus est (he turns into a wolf).
The terms that come close to "lupus" seem to relate to prostitutes and a "lupanar" is, in fact, a house of ill-repute.
Of course, learning these things is of no benefit because the language is quite dead. It's been said by many a Soviet psychologist that people with HFA always tend to learn obscure subjects that seldom contribute to society. It's also claimed we have a yearning for the past as we try to escape the present. In Russian it's called "archaism".


Where we study a culture marked by 'corruption and hedonism in government and society, and a definite loss of social cohesion', can that really be considered an escape from the present? ;-)
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#13

Postby immense » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:24 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:I'm working through a highly graphic text that shows what life in ancient Rome was like. There were sexual, religious rites at lavish banquets, prostitution, hedonism and drinking. I get the impression many people just followed their appetites and that self-indulgence played a big role.
Whereas, the ancient Egyptians strike me as more sophisticated and spiritual.
Somehow Rome seemed uncivilised outside of the paintings and architecture, roads and cities. However, it did last hundreds of years and Latin would have been understood in cities like Bath.


My understanding is that the Republic was rather conservative and conformist. Things changed culturally under the Empire (gradually, I'm sure), and I have a feeling that morality would have gone to the wayside in the final centuries as most formal aspects of life spiraled out of control with increasing rapidity. In our era I feel this is really encouraged though our global media and entertainment. Maybe in Rome it was encouraged through religion / underground cults (literally underground).

Of course, throughout all this supposed 'chaos', the sun still rises, the grapes still grow on the vine, the dog still idles over for a pat... :-)
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#14

Postby immense » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:37 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:It's turning out to be a steady translation of The Satyricon, bit by bit. This has a reputation for being pretty X rated. I like it because it tends to show how some people actually lived. For example, "lucernae" were oil lamps, used to light villas. People had dogs in the home. The text describes markets and wine was a major part of the diet. Sex was often connected to religious ritual based on the god of fertility Priapus. Those initiated appeared to be tattooed. It seems to me that ethics at the time of Nero were far removed from our own. However, as Christianity gained influence, paganism in the Roman World was displaced.


They had dogs inside - so, 'cave canem', as every schoolboy knows.

"lucernae" is interesting - I was reading the back of a box of safety matches the other day. The Dutch word for safety matches is "Veiligheidslucifers".
In Australia as a child I remember a brand of matches called 'Little Lucifers' but I didn't realise the connection (other than that hell had lots of fire!)
George Lucas and other very wealthy people have the family name 'Lucas'.
Lucifer (a separate character to Satan) is identified with the morning star in occultism (a star brings light), and is considered 'the light bringer', who brings knowledge and understanding, i.e., enLIGHTenment.
However, we can also be 'dazzled' by too much information, which can distract us from the subtler glow of 'truth', thus being a form of deception.
Once we start digging a little, we find that so many things are connected.
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