Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ides of March

Beware, beware, be a very wary bear.

It's March 15th, the Ides of March. On this day, more than two millenia ago, William Shakespeare got into an epic, bumpin' and frumpin', no-holds-bard (bard, *snicker*) fist fight with Julius Caesar. Scholars continue to quarrel over the exact outcome, though someone in the crowd was supposed to have said, "Beware the Ides of March, 'cus J.C. just brought it today, motherfucka'." The precise meaning of this phrase remains unclear.

*Ahem* It's March 15th, the Ides of March, the one time each year when the old dusty Romans are dusted off and trotted around the bustling forum we call the Mainstream World. Did you know the Romans invented concrete, domes, glass-blowing, and a hypocaust heating system? Prefer the Ancient Greeks? Pfft, the only thing they every invented is homosexuality. "However, the screw press [for pressing olives] was almost certainly not a Roman invention." Wikipedia ruins all my fun.

Oddly enough, though I am, and have been for years, a fan of everything Roman -- I refuse to add the affix "-phile" to something I merely like (take that, Society!) -- I have not (yet) pissed my pants over this day. I guess it's same old same old for me. I liked the Romans before they were cool -- everyone else is just a poser.

For proof, ou can read some of my reviews of Roman-related books on the appropriate Goodreads shelf. And while you're busy with that, I'll be here scratching my head, wondering why I don't yet belong to the The Roman History Reading Group. Also, why haven't finished listening to that podcast course about the history of the Roman Empire?

Oh, and here's an Esperanto translation of Hadrian's famous "Animula vagula blandula" poem. Yeah, I happened to translate that yesterday, for no special reason or occasion. Yeah, I do awesome stuff like that all the time.

Animulo, vagulo, mildulo,
Gast' kaj kunulo de la korp',
Al kie vi nun iras,
Nuda malforta kaj pala,
Sen nia estinta plezur'?

Then there is the Latin original:

Animula, vagula, blandula
Hospes comesque corporis!
Quae nunc abibis in loca,
Pallidula, frigida nudula
Nec ut soles dabis joca?

Then, for you cretins out there (you know who you are) who do not understand either of these hallowed languages, there is this blog post by poet Tom Clark, which features a variety of English translations, as well as some of Clark's explanation and commentary.

Cum amor,

No comments:

Post a Comment