Monday, October 15, 2007

Latin isn't dead, it just smells funny

"Latin isn't dead, it just smells funny." So says Josh Rocchio, a graduate student and an editor of Vicipaedia Latina, the Latin version of Wikipedia. Josh and his colleagues have a simple yet staggering goal: "Make a Latin reference work that is hip and alive" through the power of Wiki. And they are writing in honest-to-goodness, authentic, classical Latin. According to the article by Lee Gomes,

Vicipaedia has 15,000 articles. Catullus, Horace and the Roman Senate all are there; so are musica rockica, Georgius Bush and cadavera animata, a k a zombies. You can read in Latin about hangman (homo suspensus), paper airplanes (aeroplanum chartaceum) and magic 8-balls (pila magica 8), as well as about famous Italians like Leonardo da Vinci and the Super Mario brothers.

Sure, I'd like to make a joke about it being "all Greek" to me. But that isn't accurate, or even funny. So I will simply direct you to Lee's article on

Veni, Vidi, Wiki: Latin Isn't Dead On 'Vicipaedia' By LEE GOMES September 29, 2007; Page A1 Online Reference Features Britannia Spears, Disneyi; Disputing Computatrum

It's not that ancient Romans didn't know a thing or two about wild sex. They had their Bacchanalia, after all. But lacking video technology, they had no expression for "sex tape." And that is why writing about Paris Hilton in Latin can sometimes be so difficillimum.

The editors of Vicipaedia Latina, the Latin version of the popular Wikipedia Internet reference site, were thus forced to wing it. In their article about the hotel heiress, they described Ms. Hilton's famous X-rated Web video as pellicula in interrete vulgate de coitu Paridis.

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