I was translating sentences on Google translate just for fun, and then I typed this sentence:
" I went across the swamp and found a cigarette. "
When it translated to Latin, it gave words that sounded familiar but funny when you think about their English equivalents. Considering the English equivalent of the words translated, the translation sounded something like:
" I a bit trans-ported through stagnant water and invented a joint. "
I am aware that a lot of people use Google translate simply because it is the most convenient translator found online and definitely the most known one: everyone knows about Google translate. Today, it is even available as an App. So, is Google translate good for Latin? Can it pass some basic checks?
I say, yes.
We all know that typing in the sentences will never get you the correct translation. It will always be a rudimentary translation in the Neanderthal-like speech. However, when it comes to translating words by themselves, Google translate is quick and efficient and fairly accurate.
I have tested it out and I say that the results are good so far. When I typed in "see" I received a whole range of synonyms from video to specto and what I liked was the fact that each of these had at least five or six translations. This means that you at least know what the word roughly means, i.e. "see in what way" or "when to use which "see" verb" They usually come in the first person, which is also good, considering that the dictionary entries are always in the first person, so you can always go somewhere else for more information. Same was with the nouns. I tested it with "sea" and just like in the previous example, I received a lot of synonyms.
Google Translate Latin
However, you have to be aware of one great disadvantage: Google translate doesn't tell you the grammatical specifications!! For example, when it comes to the verb, Google translate only gives you the first person form. You don't know to which verb class the given verb belongs, which limits your usage maximally - you have to go somewhere else to find out that fact. Same is with nouns. You only get the nominative form, nothing else. This is why you don't know the basic information about the noun: not its gender and certainly not its class.
So, is Google translate good? Yes, it's good. It can be used as a quick-access tool which can give you the rudimentary information about the word you type in. However, it is not perfect. When it comes to grammar, you're on your own. This is why it might be a better option to use some other translator, which does give you this information. I believe that I have already written about them in one of my previous posts, so if you're interested, go back and check it out.
Google translator is the most widely used translator online. But it is not the best. This is especially true for languages such as Latin.
Culture: The Cities of Ashes
Part 3: Pompeii & Heculaneum - The Cities That Vanished
It is August 24, 79 AD. People of Pompeii and Herculaneum are doing their usual routine. The rich are coming to Pompeii, this major resort city and port. It is busy and bustling, with traders from everywhere and people visiting the temples of Venus, Jupiter and Apollo, all of which are near the forum. The land is rich and the area is known for its grapes and olive trees.
There were several smaller earth tremors in the previous few days, but nothing alarming. Just yesterday, there was a great celebration in the name of Vulcan.
And then, the disaster strikes.
Mount Vesuvius had erupted and the two cities were buried under 20 feet of ash and debris in the matter of just a few days. It is estimated that about 16000 people died. The pyroclastic surge had been devastating.
Unlike Pompeii, the deep pyroclastic material which covered Herculaneum preserved many objects which were based on organic material, primarily roofs, beds, doors and food. It goes without saying that the same was for some 300 skeletons which had been found in the city. Since Herculaneum lay to the west of Vesuvius, unlike Pompeii, which was in the direct path, it was only mildly affected by the first phase of the eruption. This was not the case with Pompeii where the roofs collapsed under the weight of falling debris and ash.
The recent studies have shown that the lethal effects of the pyroclastic surges were primarily due to the heat. The heat was the main cause of the death of people not suffocation. The people were dead long before the ash even touched them. They were dead the moment that the wave of heat enveloped the city.
The city of Pompeii continues to attract visitors due to its unusually cruel fate. It is ironic that prior to the eruption of a volcano, just a day before in fact, the people of Ancient Rome were celebrating Vulcan, the god of fire. What a twist of fate indeed!
Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome
Part 2: The Cult of Mithras
When I was studying the history of Ancient Britain, I found it curious that there was a cult of Mithras which had been brought to Britain sometime in the late Pre-Christian era. The Romans were responsible for this new exotic cult. I say exotic because Mithras is a Persian deity and it is curious that he also appears in Roman mythology. Here are some interesting facts about it:
Mithras as a Roman deity appeared somewhere in the Anno Domini era, from 1st century to 4th century, when it completely disappeared. Though there are few mythological sources about it, there are many depictions in caves. They mostly illustrate Mithras as a “bull-slayer.” In antiquity, the text usually refer to the “mysteries of Mithras” and it is often linked with the Persian deity. Many do not believe this, but we still have to note that sometimes Mithras appears with another figure, a mysterious lion-headed figure, who may have been the Arimanius (Avestan god of Zoroastrism, the evil spirit) himself. The temples for Mithras were often built in caves (this is why the depictions are found in caves as well). These underground temples have been built in the 1st century AD when the cult of Mithras is believed to have appeared in Ancient Rome.
This cult, though not very long lasting, was still influential, considering that it had gone as far as Ancient Britain (which was, at that point in history, a part of the Roman empire). This is why it should be mentioned, considering that it is a part of the Ancient Roman pantheon.
Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome
Part 1: Basic Outline & Dii Consentes
It is important to mention that Ancient Romans were polytheists, i.e. they believed in many gods. In the beginning, these Roman gods were considered as faceless and extremely powerful. It is only later on that they became anthropomorphised beings, i.e. Ancient Romans started imagining them as humans. These beliefs primarily came from Ancient Greece. This is also why many of Roman gods have their corresponding Greek counterpart. The entire collection of all these gods is called Pantheon.
Although there are far too many gods to be listed, we still have to note the magnificent twelve: the twelve great gods and goddesses also known as “Dii Consentes” (this is the name that Varro gave to these deities) whose statues stand in the Forum. There are six gods and six goddesses, namely:
Other notable gods are:
You will note that many of these Roman gods are actually the names of the planets. This is because our culture had always had access to the Roman culture. However, this was unfortunately not the case with the Greek culture, primarily because of the alphabet. Thus, for many years, the influence of the Greek culture could only be felt through Latin translations of Greek works.