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Vox Romana: The Romans Had a Word for it

By John Parker


Colour illustrations by Hannah Mitchell.

English writers still come up with a number of Latin phrases in their work, and some of these are used widely in everyday speech.

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£6.99

978-0-953539932

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English writers still come up with a number of Latin phrases in their work, and some of these are used widely in everyday speech.  We talk about something being “in situ”, or being interesting “per se”, and some of us witter on “ad nauseam” and “ad infinitum” to our friends about our holiday experiences until we each become “persona non grata”; or we offer our children such advice as “carpe diem”, even though they may regard us as being “non compos mentis”.  It was not only the Greeks who had a word for it: so did the Romans.

It seems to me that we don’t always look closely enough at these useful phrases or link them firmly enough with happenings in our everyday lives (or even in the everyday lives of the Romans themselves).  This little book seeks to take Latin phrases, ranging from the well-known to the obscure, and tie them up with familiar situations, giving us perhaps something to mutter under our breath even if we don’t care to breathe our sentiments out loud.

The book also includes examples of how Latin has been and still is used, when appropriate, by writers in English.  For anyone interested, or for anyone who thinks I may have made up more than one or two of the Latin phrases myself, and rather than overload the commentary text, I have listed any known or relevant sources in Appendix III (page 115).

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