Friday, September 25, 2009

Carpe Diem by Harry Mount

Carpe Diem: Put A Little Latin in Your Life was a delightful little book about Latin, how it is used, what it has influenced and a brief history of Latin and Rome. The book should best be viewed as an overview of the language, but it could also be seen as a basic primer to actually learning to use the language. My purpose was the former; as much as it would be interesting to learn Latin, it is an infrequently used language.
I found it to be entertaining (mostly) and interesting (so that’s why we use that word). Additionally, Mount wrote without pretence and even makes fun of those that use Latin superfluously (those “wankers”). I learned that the V is pronounced like a W (i.e., Weni, Widi, Wici), and was reminded that it was the Rubicon that Caesar crossed as he cast dyes.
A good little book for those interested in the Latin language but would rather learn about it, instead of actually learn it. Paraphrasing Mount, “Many say that learning Latin will help you understand English, but the primary thing learning Latin helps you understand, is Latin.”


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