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Salvete! (an introduction)

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Salvete! (an introduction)

Postby dlp » Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:39 pm

Hello, my name is Dave Phillips, I'm 53 and have been studying Latin (and a little Greek) mostly on my own for about 30 years. My main interest has been classical and Medieval Latin poetry, with some prose thrown in now and then. My Better Half and I are currently studying Italian (we've visited Tuscany a few times in the past couple of years), and my Latin background has proven to be a great aid to learning the Italian language.

I started teaching myself Latin from a Latin Made Simple book, then I started private language studies with Dr. Richard Hebein at Bowling Green State University (USA). I studied Latin & Greek grammar and literature with Dr Hebein for two years, then I undertook a reading course based on Matthew Arnold's advice ("Read nothing but Greek & Latin for two years").

Over the years my readings have included all of Catullus as well as much of Horace, Propertius, Virgil, and many Medieval poets. Currently I'm reading the Divina Commedia, and as an adjunct study I'm dipping into De Vulgari Eloquio. I suppose it's fair to say that my literary interests have been primarily guided by the criticism of Ezra Pound (I read 18 books of the Iliad in the Greek with the assistance of a Latin ad verbum translation, thanks to a suggestion in one of EP's essays). Sadly the ad verbum translations have all but disappeared. Pound's Divus is available via one of the on-line auction houses for something like $300US. I found the Latin translation (of Homer) by Samuel Clark on the shelves at university libraries in Chicago and Los Angeles, though I doubt if they're still there (they are rare books after all). I think Valla's translation is on-line but it's in photocopy form and is barely readable.

I'm convinced that such translations can make all the difference between bogging down in the grammar and getting into the story, though of course they do assume a fairly decent ability with the Latin. I'm always on the lookout for a copy of a Greek/Latin edition of the Homeric epics, so please notify me if you know where I can find one.

I'm also interested in Latin translations of works from other cultures. I've discovered Latin texts of such items as the Tao Te Ching, Hindu religious texts, and of course the Arabic translations from the Greek philosophic and medical canon. Neo-Latin is another interest, particularly items such as the Latin poems by Rimbaud.

So, that's a little about me. My livelihood comes from music (I'm a professional guitarist) and from writing (I'm a Linux journalist and have authored a book on music software for Linux). Reading Latin is one my favorite activities, and I hope to learn more from the Textkit site.
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Postby klewlis » Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:28 pm

wow, welcome here! your post was quite interesting to read.

I would love to see more greek-latin books, but the only one I have ever gotten my hands on is a greek-latin new testament... homer would be a lot of fun to read that way!
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Re: Salvete! (an introduction)

Postby mariek » Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:53 pm


Hi Dave!

Welcome to Textkit! What an interesting introduction. I see you have learned and read quite a lot. You've probably already found the link to downloadable books on Textkit? Classical E-Books

So... when are you going to incorporate Latin into your livelihood... like... writing a book in Latin about music software for Linux. :D
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Postby annis » Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:58 pm

Welcome to Textkit, Dave!

klewlis wrote:I would love to see more greek-latin books, but the only one I have ever gotten my hands on is a greek-latin new testament... homer would be a lot of fun to read that way!


I've seen plenty of older editions of Greek works in libraries which are like the Loebs, except that the facing text is in Latin. If you already know Latin, these can be very helpful since the Latin text generally keeps quite close to the Greek word order, something English cannot really do.

But as Dave said, these ad verbum translations don't seem to be produced any more, and were probably already going out by the time Ezra Pound advised using them.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Amicis novis respondeo.

Postby dlp » Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:42 pm

Thank you all for the warm welcome here ! To answer a couple of inquiries:

Yes, I'm now aware of the Textkit books on-line, I'm very happy to have found them. After I complete my current Dante studies I plan to re-investigate Virgil, especially the Aeneid, and hopefully the Textkit materials will come in helpful.

Alas, I have no plan to write a book in Latin, though I am in the middle of rewriting my first book. It's hard enough for me to write in English...

A few more words re: ad verbum translations: I hope I didn't give the impression that I consider the traditional approach to grammar a not-worthwhile exercise. Obviously an understanding of grammar is absolutely necessary for comprehension, but it seems to me that grammar has been badly employed as almost the *only* means of introducing beginners to language study. For example, it would be most interesting to see a Latin language study course based upon the methods of Michel Thomas. Btw, as Pound indicated, the Greek/Latin translations are a particularly happy combination due to the close relationship between the languages, but it seems to me that using Latin to translate almost any other language might be useful due to its great flexibility in syntax and fineness of grammar.

Perhaps I should begin a new thread on this subject ?

Anyway, thanks again for the welcome. Vivite longius et florete !
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