Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Popularity of Latin Study
The New York Times article quotes a high school principal named Don Conetta:
"If my Latin teachers could hear me now," he said. "I took three years in high school, and four semesters in college, and I can't remember the first line of Cicero's orations."Mr. Conetta's statement seems odd to my pedantic ear it would make more sense to say, for example, "I can't remember the first line of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address," than "I can't remember the first line of Lincoln's speeches." Probably the most famous first line of any of Cicero's orations is from the first Catilinarian:
How long, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?A few months ago I saw a bumper sticker on a car in the parking lot of a hardware store that read:
Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?
Quo usque tandem abutere, W, patientia nostra?W stands for Dubya, the nickname of President George Walker Bush, also known as Agricola Ambulator Arbuscula. The answer to the question "Quo usque tandem abutere, W, patientia nostra?" is 104 days and counting down.