Friday, November 20, 2009

Insta-Library!



I wanted to get a copy of this book:

Usually I would just print it out and stick the pages in a binder. But I decided to try the link for Google Product search. It took me to publicdomainreprints.org, which then took me to Lulu.com. I bought the book. It cost me 17$, including shipping, and took about a week to get. Would you like to see how it looks?




Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Tree?

The town where I live is kicking off a month of Holiday Festivities, where Holiday songs will be sung, Holiday treats will be eaten, Holiday movies will be watched, and a Holiday tree will be lit.

Is Holiday some new kind of holiday? Did I miss its establishment? Is there some new religion whose grand feast is Holiday?

Or, if it is a generic description not meant to offend anyone in a diverse culture, it must mean "any holiday." If it is the "any holiday" season, then, given our diversity, isn't every season the Holiday Season?

Felix Saturnalium, I guess.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times



for studying the classics. Never before have there been so many resources for people to study Greek and Latin, and never before, thanks to Google Books and others, have so many texts been readily available. Unfortunately, interest in these subjects seems to be small. We starve amidst a banquet.



Recently I discovered the Latinum Podcast. Evan Millner has recorded the entire Adler _Practical Grammar of Latin Language as a series of podcasts that can be downloaded into an Ipod. He goes over the text with meticulously accurate pronunciation and with much useful repetition, so much that one really doesn't need to read the text. The course is primarily in Latin composition, so that the language is learned by speaking or writing it.



I am delighted to have found it. I am through six lessons, and already my Latin has improved greatly, just from hearing it spoken.



If only there were a classical Greek version.



Monday, November 09, 2009


I note with enjoyment in Catullus 13 he uses this image:




plenus sacculus est aranearum.




(My) purse is full of spiderwebs.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Some Cicero for you:




Etenim omnes artes, quae ad humanitatem pertinent, habent quoddam commune vinculum, et quasi cognatione quadam inter se continentur.




As a matter of fact all arts which touch on humanity have a certain common chain, and as if by a certain common birth are akin to each other.



I take liberties on "continentur." The sense is that the study of any human art is the study of all of them. It is said that Abraham Lincoln only had two books, the bible and Shakespeare, and educated himself through these. If this is so, one could get a very fine education, since so much of human nature is contained within those books. Learning a few books well would be better than many books poorly.



Wednesday, November 04, 2009


From Donna Tartt's The Secret History




Pur: that one word contains for me the secret, the bright, terrible clarity of ancient Greek. How can I make you see it, this strange harsh light which pervades Homer's landscapes and illumines the dialogues of Plato, an alien light, inarticulable in our common tongue? Our shared language is a language of the intricate, the particular, the home of pumpkins and ragamuffins and bodkins and beer, the tongue of Ahab and Falstaff and Mrs. Gamp; and while I find it entirely suitable for reflections such as these, it fails me utterly when I attemp to describe in it what I love about Greek, that language innocent of all quirks and cranks; a language obsessed with action, and with the joy of seeing action multiply from action, action marching relentlessly ahead and with yet more actions filing in from either side to fall into neat step at the rear, in a long straight rank of cause and effect toward what will be inevitable, the only possible end.



Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A tip for using Diogenes

Diogenes is a Greek and Latin lectionary and tool for inflectional analysis. It was originally designed to work with the TLG databases, which I don't possess, but can also work with other Latin and Greek texts, if you use it with the Hopperizer.

But, you need to do something under Ubuntu: the server won't work if you don't.

Go to /usr/local/diogenes/perl

Type "cp Perseus.cgi perseus.cgi"

Otherwise the server fails to run.

I realize this post is obscure. I'm putting it here mostly to keep a record of how to do it, so I don't forget.