Coimbra: Roman Ruins and Mosaics
XXIX Maii MMXIII
The Ancient Romans sure left us a lot of good stuff.
Derived from Latin, the Romance languages, for example. The five most widely spoken are:
Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian. (The French don’t have a monopoly on ”romance.”)
But let’s not forget other Latin derived languages:
Aragonese, Aromanian, Arptan, Asturian, Catalan (Recently I met a man from Barcelona who insisted on speaking his native language of Catalan.), Corsican, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Friulan, Galician, Ladro, Leonese, Lombard, Mirandese, Neapolitan, Occitan, Piedmontese, Romanish, Sardinian, Sicilian, Venetian and Walloon. (Of course, you know where they speak Walloon to this very day?)
Our childhood language comes to mind: porcum Latin dicta.
How could we have succeeded in our alma mater without those all-important Latin abbreviations: et al, op cit, sic, ad lib, ibid, et seq, stat, etc, etc, etc.
Didn’t you always wonder what SPQR meant when you saw those letters engraved on buildings or on shields in feature films about ancient Rome?
Do you know the MGM lion? He roars incorrect grammar. My Latin teacher pointed out that Ars Artis Gratia is the proper phrase, but maybe not so esthetically pleasing on the screen.
And what about the Roman ruins all over the place? I have seen them in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. My favorite site is Jerash in the north of Jordan with not one but two theaters. One large, one small – the Roman version of Broadway and off-Broadway? Numbers are carved on the rows in the VIP section. You guessed it, in Roman numerals. Et tu Brute?
Speaking of Roman numbers, what’s with the movie companies and the copyright date? MMXIII? Maybe the movie moguls were prejudiced against Arabic numerals? 2013 works for me. Q.E.D.
O tempora! O mores!
Post Scriptum: I almost forgot … Please follow the link to the Roman ruins at Conimbriga, Portugal – one of the best preserved Roman sites on the Iberian Peninsula. I couldn’t find any carved numerals, but there are more than enough mosaics to keep the art historians happy.
Ave atque vale
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