Hodie Papa Francesco Titiavit

I’ve long wanted to do a post analyzing the Pope’s Latin style, but I think I need to start collecting exempla first, so this is the first in what will probably be a regular series … I’m trying to display them in a ‘compact’ manner:


Ut sinant Deum clementia et mansuetudine in se uti omnes hortatur Ecclesia.

glossed by @Pontifex:

The Church invites everyone to be embraced by the Father’s tenderness and forgiveness.

… after we get a few in the ‘corpus’, we’ll begin commenting … feel free to begin commenting yourselves …

On the Epicness of Twitter (?)

Tip o’ the pileus to Phoebe Acheson on twitter who alerted us to an article in the New York Times Magazine about rappers using twitter hashtags for inspiration and which also included this excerpt:

There has been some debate among musicians and critics about whether such hip-hop rhymes constitute cheating. But these critiques are absurd. A rhyme can be inane or inspired, whatever semantic relation it bears to the line it concludes. In fact, it’s the way the hashtag loosens those old semantic strictures that makes the form so appealing to wordsmiths. A poet friend of mine noted that, because of possibilities afforded by the hashtag, writing tweets “feels compositionally very akin to poetry. . . . You’re suspending things in relation to one another in an extremely complex form.”

The hashtag seems to her a distant cousin of the refrain: a phrase that relates in different, complex ways — direct or tangential, ironic or nonsensical — to the lines it follows. It also has something in common with parentheses, explaining or qualifying whatever phrase it interrupts. And where it captures the author’s mood or aspect, it resembles the epithet, the “white-armed Nausicaas” and “wine-dark seas” that populate the “Odyssey.” Yet the hashtag may well be a new rhetorical device in its own right. In the literary glossary that ranges from antimetabole to zeugma, there’s no term that exactly captures all that the hashtag is capable of.

… now picturing Homer on his cellphone, doing the Iliad line-by-line, and every now and then doing the #winedarksea … we clearly need a Greek word for the hashtag; octothorp is halfway there, but we can do better I suspect. Suggestions?

Pompeii’s Last XXIV Hours

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that Pliny the Elder happened to be tweeting the final hours of Pompeii — actually a very interesting project of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In case you missed them, you can check them out at the project’s very nice page … each tweet has a link to a photo or quote or something and is definitely worth checking out:

A Couple of Popculch Items

I was planning on taking the ol’ blogging machine outside and blogging al fresco, but it appears we’re going to get a big dump of rain … oh well, all I was going to blog (for the next hour or so) were a couple of popculch type things. The first comes from the Bleacher Report, which tries to work some classical references into the impending departure of Lebron James from Cleveland, inter alia:

I’m not sure when or why, exactly, the culture of mocking and hate began to overtake the world of sports. Maybe it dates back to the days of the gladiators.

Imagine the complaints of a disgruntled Roman citizen as he filed out of the Colisseum on a warm summer afternoon: “That Euripides, he’s no gladiator! He lacks the killer instinct.”

Or the taunts of unimpressed onlookers at the first Olympiad: “Ulysses, what a joke. He clearly doesn’t have the genitals to be a winner.”

I don’t think that one quite works. The next one is a bit more bizarre, to my mind anyway. As I write this, the number one trending topic on Twitter is “Expecto Patronum“, which is, of course, a reference to Harry Potter. Devoid of context as just a pair of Latin words at the top of the Twitter trending list and with a mind running as far away as it can from kiddie lit at this time of year, however, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps this was another tattoo — along with tutela valui — which Ashley Dupre has inscribed on some covered (in public) part of her body … fwiw …