Ideal vs True Culture in Latin Readings

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xTwilight
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Ideal vs True Culture in Latin Readings

Post by xTwilight » Wed Nov 23, 2005 4:53 am

When reading the classics (or attempting) and studying the language of such we are getting an idealized view of Roman culture and speech.

An analogy is this, if you visit China and take a tour you will see the bright and bustling new China that is overflowing with technology and livety. Take a step off the main streets in Beijing and you see neighborhoods of dilappidated buildings shareing bathrooms per block.

I am looking for the true culture of Rome through the language of Latin. The culture of soilder's slangs for sex, masturbation, rape, murder, gambling, homosexuality and the like. How did the common folk contract words or slur them togeather in normal day to day speech. What is the difference in vocabulary and use of language of a prostitue, begger and Cicero.

Also what was the average education level of a Roman citizen. Are there ideas on how many words they knew in their life. Is there any documentation on coliquial expressions or accents and dialects. It's probobly safe to say a Roman citizen didnt speak impeccible Latin (as Americans speak far from impeccible English).

Thus the main question of this post is: are there any texts with examples of such written from the ancients, accounts of day to day life by a day to day citizen. Are there any texts on social minorities and there life. Thanks for any help.

Jesse

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Post by Kasper » Wed Nov 23, 2005 5:19 am

As for language, Catullus might give you some idea, although he is still an upper class kind of person. Like a male Paris Hilton, I guess...
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

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Post by amans » Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:51 pm

salue Jesse!

I second Kasper's suggestion - read some Catullus, some of his, like, Greatest Hits. They're cool :lol:

But if you want to get a touch of what Roman life might have been like, far from elitist society, you might want to try to read some Pompeian Inscriptions.

As you may well know, Pompeii was a provincial town which was hit by the volcanic eruption on 24-25 August 79 AD. As a consequence, we know much more about life among ordinary people.

You may read about politics:

Ti. Claudium Verum IIuir(um) uicini rogant

or find wise words such as:

Lucrum gaudium

or find ads like:

Hospitium. Hic locatur triclinium cum tribus lectis (e)t comm(odis omnibus)

or find comments on a more personal note such as:

Aemilius fortunato fratri salutem.

or:

Miximus in lecto fateor, peccauimus, hospes.
Si dices: Quare? Nulla matella fuit!


and then there are the downright explicit:

Hic ego puellas multas futui.

or:

Amantes ut apes uita(m) mellita(m) exigunt.

Have fun - et fac ualeas :D

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Post by xTwilight » Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:25 am

Thanks for the help from you two that replied. Just curious about the Pompeii Inscriptions mentioned in the last post, where were these inscriptions found? Were they the equivilant of graffiti or were they more of a "kiss the cook" type sign hung in a contemporary kitchen.

On another post in this forum somebody brought up the book about conversational latin... the amazon reviews seemed to point towards what I was looking for to compliment the classics study. But I doubt it goes into the depth of coliquial expressions I'm looking for.

A bit off topic but take this for example.. In Japanese if a girl is bad in bed she could be reffered to as 'maguro' which means tunafish because when you catch a tuna it just lays motionless as its fileted.

Albeit commical and entertaining to learn, something as seemingly trivial as sexual insults can lead deep into understanding common peoples thinking in a culture (and those people are normally a vast majority). This then can lead into the understanding of puns then to political humor used in more advanced and elite writing. Also you have to keep in mind the elite are normally just common people who hide the vulgar side.

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Post by Democritus » Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:12 am

Try reading the Roman playrights, Terence and Plautus. They wrote some goofy comedies. There's plenty of informal dialogue in them.

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Post by amans » Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:59 pm

xTwilight wrote:Thanks for the help from you two that replied. Just curious about the Pompeii Inscriptions mentioned in the last post, where were these inscriptions found? Were they the equivilant of graffiti or were they more of a "kiss the cook" type sign hung in a contemporary kitchen.
The inscriptions were mainly done on the walls of the houses in town - having been saved for centuries under the lava they have come down to us. They are the equivalent of modern grafitti or something scribbled on a wall in a public rest room, like:

Some come here to sit and think,
some come here to **** and stink,
but I come here to itch my balls,
and read the writing on the walls.


(Hope you don't mind this explicit example... I didn't replace the word in line 2 with asteriskes - the site did it!)

I think there were three different techniques, the dipinto which was done in red paint, and the grafitto which was etched into the wall, and a third whose name eludes me at present.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Fri Nov 25, 2005 2:43 pm

As far as regards the notion that "Americans speak far from impeccible English," you'll find that the truth is that most citizens of England also fall well below the Queen's impeccable standard in London. A different accent in America, certainly, and plenty of different usages and variety as well. Then again, most of the accents, dialects, and brutalizations of the English language occur well within the borders of England proper, to say nothing of the lovely and terrific occurrences north to Scotland. Such is the nature of all things which expand and evolve, even humans; there is far more genetic variety, for example, between two Africans than there is between a man from China and another of Italian decent. Such is life, and such are living languages. And as for us Americans and our English, the literacy rate between the US and the UK is virtually identical.

Otherwise I think your topic and questions are wonderful; I'm just as deeply curious about the same. The others' suggestions are very good.


lol Kasper! The "male Paris Hilton," well put.


And yes, Plautus is awesomeness.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:33 pm

Lucus Eques wrote: Such is the nature of all things which expand and evolve, even humans; there is far more genetic variety, for example, between two Africans than there is between a man from China and another of Italian decent.
Surely not if those two Africans were mother and daughter. And I imagine a person of Italian descent would have more genetic affinity with a North African than either would with a Chinese person, seeing that both Italians and North Africans are Meditteranean peoples. There are significent Jewish populations in Africa which have been genetically proven to be genuine Jews. I know an "African" who has white skin and blue eyes and speaks Afrikaans as her first language. However this is nit-picking - I know that your general point is that Africa is more genetically diverse than all the other human-populated continents combined due to the long presence of humans.

And yes, I agree, American English is as legitamate as British English, and the theatre world regards American English as being generally closer to Shakespeare than contemporary British English (I think the dialects/accents which are supposed to be closest to Shakespeare are a Appalacian dialect and an Irish dialect of English).

I too think it is important to learn the "low-register" language to get under the skins of this ancient peoples. When I read something a few weeks ago about how there is no point about learning the curse words of a foreign language because you'll never need to use them, I thought to myself "unless you want to understand teenagers".

My faviorite bathroom poem :

Here I sit, brokenhearted
I tried to ****, but only farted.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:20 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:Surely not if those two Africans were mother and daughter. And I imagine a person of Italian descent would have more genetic affinity with a North African than either would with a Chinese person, seeing that both Italians and North Africans are Meditteranean peoples. There are significent Jewish populations in Africa which have been genetically proven to be genuine Jews. I know an "African" who has white skin and blue eyes and speaks Afrikaans as her first language. However this is nit-picking -
It is nitpicking; I meant the persons' relationships in a relative context, and black Africans and not Arabs or Jews or Dutch immigrant populations to the continent.
I know that your general point is that Africa is more genetically diverse than all the other human-populated continents combined due to the long presence of humans.
To be perfectly accurate, there was an especially narrow wave of homines sapiens that came out of Africa and came to populate by and large all the rest of the world, from China to Europe to America, or so genetic discoveries indicate.
And yes, I agree, American English is as legitamate as British English, and the theatre world regards American English as being generally closer to Shakespeare than contemporary British English (I think the dialects/accents which are supposed to be closest to Shakespeare are a Appalacian dialect and an Irish dialect of English).
Absolutely right, from what I read. In particular, the Irish dialect has retained a great many of the isms from that period.
I too think it is important to learn the "low-register" language to get under the skins of this ancient peoples. When I read something a few weeks ago about how there is no point about learning the curse words of a foreign language because you'll never need to use them, I thought to myself "unless you want to understand teenagers".
I agree entirely.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

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it only scratches the surface, but...

Post by riansnider » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:50 am

I'm generally new to the boards and haven't posted much (nor will I likely delve too deep into things in the near future, but we'll see)... at any rate:

For the "Latin sexual vocabulary" you may want to check out the book of the same name by J.N. Adams (1990).
There is also a translation of the Priapus epigrams by Richard Hooper (The Priapus Poems: Erotic Epigrams from Ancient Rome, 1999) that may be interesting. The actual content (that is, the epigrams themselves) might not be exactly what you're looking for (vis-a-vis "real" Roman culture) as they are purposefully hyper-sexual, but the introduction, notes and--especially--bibliography might lead to some good insights--plus it's a good opportunity to learn (extremely) dirty words in Latin! heh

Hope this helps,
Rian

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Re: it only scratches the surface, but...

Post by nostos » Mon Nov 28, 2005 4:20 pm

riansnider wrote:For the "Latin sexual vocabulary" you may want to check out the book of the same name by J.N. Adams (1990).
That's a great book; most of the nastiness for defecation and unruly parts are in that book. I especially liked 'verpa'. From that book too I saw that the Latin 'nn' became the Spanish n with a tilde (can't write it on these stupid machines at school).

GGG and Luce, I recommend you read 'The emperor's new clothes' if you haven't already. In doing my undergrad thesis, that book, as well as a couple of genetics textbooks, were instrumental (until my advisor said something along the lines of 'very remarkeable that you actually did the research, but I'm afraid it's irrelevant'). Such is academia in the North: you can't do a Renaissance-style paper, but have to limit your focus to an extremely narrow topic that the professor feels equipped to understand (though, at least, he said it was clear).

Enough ranting! :P
phpbb

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Post by edonnelly » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:16 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:
GlottalGreekGeek wrote:And yes, I agree, American English is as legitamate as British English, and the theatre world regards American English as being generally closer to Shakespeare than contemporary British English (I think the dialects/accents which are supposed to be closest to Shakespeare are a Appalacian dialect and an Irish dialect of English).
Absolutely right, from what I read. In particular, the Irish dialect has retained a great many of the isms from that period.
I once read some research about languages in general and how they evolve. Apparently, colonies tend to preserve a language much more than the motherland does. I'm not sure why -- maybe it has something to do with preserving the traditions of your former home. But it was interesting, and consistent with what both of you are saying.

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Post by Michaelyus » Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:21 pm

nostos wrote:(can't write it on these stupid machines at school).
Alt 0241 (on the Number Pad only) in Windows makes ñ.
phpbb

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Post by Deudeditus » Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:16 pm

For the "Latin sexual vocabulary" you may want to check out the book of the same name by J.N. Adams (1990).
There is also a translation of the Priapus epigrams by Richard Hooper (The Priapus Poems: Erotic Epigrams from Ancient Rome, 1999) that may be interesting.
or on the web. http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/priap/priapeia.htm

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