Book picks similar to
ABC Et Cetera: The Life & Times of the Roman Alphabet by Alexander Humez
A Natural History of Latin
Tore Janson - 2002
French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are among its direct descendants, and countless Latin words and phrases comprise the cornerstone of English itself. A Natural History or Latin tells its history from its origins over 2500 years ago to the present. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing but authoritative, and written with the fluency and light touch that have made Tore Janson's Speak so attractive to tens of thousands of readers, it is a masterpiece of adroit synthesis.The book commences with a description of the origins, emergence, and dominance of Latin over the Classical period. Then follows an account of its survival through the Middle Ages into modern times, with emphasis on its evolution throughout the history, culture, and religious practices of Medieval Europe. By judicious quotation of Latin words, phrases, and texts the author illustrates how the written and spoken language changed, region by region over time; how it met resistance from native languages; and how therefore some entire languages disappeared. Janson offers a vivid demonstration of the value of Latin as a means of access to a vibrant past and a persuasive argument for its continued worth. A concise and easy-to-understand introduction to Latin grammar and a list of the most frequent Latin words, including 500 idioms and phrases still in common use, complement the work.
The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten
Jeffrey Kacirk - 2000
But as hundreds of new words are added annually, older ones are sacrificed. Now from the author of Forgotten English comes a collection of fascinating archaic words and phrases, providing an enticing glimpse into the past. With beguiling period illustrations, The Word Museum offers up the marvelous oddities and peculiar enchantments of old and unusual words.
Bound in Venice: The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book
Alessandro Marzo Magno - 2012
There, the first printers, publishing houses and bookstores open for business. Among the innovators who are driving these new cultural enterprises, one remarkable visionary, Aldo Manuzio, stands head and shoulders above the rest. He is credited with inventing the figure of the modern publisher. Manuzio will publish the first printed editions of the Talmud, the Koran, the works of Erasmus of Rotterdam and classics of the Green and Latin poetry and theater, bringing about a true revolution and the birth of the world.
Dialogues and Letters
4BC-AD 65) ranks among the most eloquent and influential masters of Latin prose. This selection explores his thoughts on philosophy and the trials of life. In the Consolation to Helvia he strives to offer solace to his mother, following his exile in AD 41, while On the Shortness of Life and On Tranquillity of Mind are lucid and compelling explorations of Stoic thought. Witty and self-critical, the Letters - written to his young friend Lucilius - explore Seneca's struggle to acquire philosophical wisdom. A fascinating insight into one of the greatest minds of Ancient Rome, these works inspired writers and thinkers including Montaigne, Rousseau, and Bacon, and continue to intrigue and enlighten.
Spellbound: The Surprising Origins and Astonishing Secrets of English Spelling
James Essinger - 2006
The story of how this ragtag collection of words evolved is a winding tale replete with intriguing accidents and bizarre twists of fate. In this eye-opening, fabulously entertaining book, James Essinger unlocks the mysteries that have confounded linguists and scholars for millennia.From the sophisticated writing systems of the ancient Sumerians through the tongue twisters of Middle English, the popular National Spelling Bee, and the mobile phone text-messaging of today, Spellbound chronicles the fascinating history of English spelling, including insights about the vast number of words English has borrowed from other languages (“orange,” “vanilla,” and “ketchup,” to name a few), and how their meanings differ from country to country. Featuring a lively cast of characters ranging from the fictional to the historically noteworthy (Chaucer, Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, Shakespeare, Bill Gates), this affectionate tribute to English spelling shows why our whimsical, capricious common language continues to hold us spellbound.
The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World
Adam Jacot de Boinod - 1999
Did you know that people in Bolivia have a word that means "I was rather too drunk last night and it's all their fault"? That there's no Italian equivalent for the word "blue"? That the Dutch word for skimming stones is "plimpplamppletteren"? This delightful book, which draws on the collective wisdom of more than 254 languages, includes not only those words for which there is no direct counterpart in English ("pana po'o" in Hawaiian means to scratch your head in order to remember something important), but also a frank discussion of exactly how many Eskimo words there are for snow and the longest known palindrome in any language ("saippuakivikauppias"--Finland). And all right, what in fact is "tingo"? In the Pascuense language of Easter Island, it's to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by asking to borrow them. Well, of course it is. Enhanced by its ingenious and irresistible little Schott's Miscellany/Eats Shoots and Leaves package and piquant black-and-white illustrations throughout, The Meaning of Tingo is a heady feast for word lovers of all persuasions. Viva Tingo!
In Catilinam I-IV ; Pro Murena ; Pro Sulla ; Pro Flacco
Marcus Tullius Cicero
In his political speeches especially and in his correspondence we see the excitement, tension and intrigue of politics and the part he played in the turmoil of the time. Of about 106 speeches, delivered before the Roman people or the Senate if they were political, before jurors if judicial, 58 survive (a few of them incompletely). In the fourteenth century Petrarch and other Italian humanists discovered manuscripts containing more than 900 letters of which more than 800 were written by Cicero and nearly 100 by others to him. These afford a revelation of the man all the more striking because most were not written for publication. Six rhetorical works survive and another in fragments. Philosophical works include seven extant major compositions and a number of others; and some lost. There is also poetry, some original, some as translations from the Greek.The Loeb Classical Library edition of Cicero is in twenty-nine volumes.
The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 BC-476
Michael Grant - 1984
Vast & powerful, Imperial Rome instituted many conventions that distinguish life today--reason enough for us to wonder about the men who ruled in her name. Some early writers painted vivid portraits that, with their sensational details, often overshadowed the events of the time. In this book, classical historian Michael Grant uses these writings, augmenting them with evidence from archeology, inscriptions, coins & medallions to reconstruct the lives of 92 Roman emperors. Here are Augustus & Claudius, Gaius & Nero, Aurelian & Constantine, as colorful & diverse a group of men as any in history, alive again in a magnificent collection of biographical cameos as remarkable for their readability as for their depth.AcknowledgmentsList of IllustrationsList of Maps, Plans & Genealogical TablesForewordThe Julio-Claudian dynastyThe year of the four emperors; & the Flavian dynastyThe adoptive & Antonine emperorsThe house of SeverusThe age of crisisMilitary recoveryThe tetrarchy & the house of ConstantineThe house of ValentinianThe survival of the East & fall of the WestKey to Latin TermsIndex of Latin & Greek AuthorsIndex to Maps & Plans
I Love it When You Talk Retro: Hoochie Coochie, Double Whammy, Drop a Dime, and the Forgotten Origins of American Speech
Ralph Keyes - 2009
Robinson is, where the term “stuck in a groove” comes from, why 1984 was a year unlike any other, how big a bread box is, how to get to Peyton Place, or what the term Watergate refers to. I Love It When You Talk Retro discusses these verbal fossils that remain embedded in our national conversation long after the topic they refer to has galloped off into the sunset. That could be a person (Mrs. Robinson), product (Edsel), past bestseller (Catch-22), radio or TV show (Gangbusters), comic strip (Alphonse and Gaston), or advertisement (Where’s the beef?) long forgotten. Such retroterms are words or phrases in current use whose origins lie in our past. Ralph Keyes takes us on an illuminating and engaging tour through the phenomenon that is Retrotalk—a journey, oftentimes along the timelines of American history and the faultlines of culture, that will add to the word-lover’s store of trivia and obscure references. "The phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” is a mystery to young people today, as is “45rpm.” Even older folks don’t know the origins of “raked over the coals” and “cut to the chase.” Keyes (The Quote Verifier) uses his skill as a sleuth of sources to track what he calls “retrotalk”: “a slippery slope of puzzling allusions to past phenomena.” He surveys the origins of “verbal fossils” from commercials (Kodak moment), jurisprudence (Twinkie defense), movies (pod people), cartoons (Caspar Milquetoast) and literature (brave new world). Some pop permutations percolated over decades: Radio’s Take It or Leave It spawned a catch phrase so popular the program was retitled The $64 Question and later returned as TV’s The $64,000 Question. Keyes’s own book Is There Life After High School? became both a Broadway musical and a catch phrase. Some entries are self-evident or have speculative origins, but Keyes’s nonacademic style and probing research make this both an entertaining read and a valuable reference work." --Publishers Weekly
Jacob Bannister - 2013
His staunch patriotism, tenacity, appetite for a fight, and, above all, his towering rhetoric inspired the British people to mount a gallant defense of their island nation. Having set a new bar for national heroism, he earned a place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest leaders. Churchill, a fearless soldier, was a veteran of countless battles and a rider in one of Britain’s last cavalry charges. He was also a gifted writer, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, whose war reporting made his name and whose books outlived him. A bon vivant who loved his brandy and cigars, he was also a devoted husband whose marriage was a lifelong love affair. By any measure, Churchill was a giant. But the man was far from perfect. He was a hero, yes, but a human one. He could be petty, irascible, and self-centered; it was bred in his bone that white Englishmen were born to lead the world and all others to be led. His mistakes cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives, but he had courage and a born politician’s sense of the public stage. In the end, Churchill became a regal figure whose life came to symbolize defiance of tyranny in the face of impossible odds. Here is his story.
101 Secrets of the Freemasons: The Truth Behind the World's Most Mysterious Society
Barbara Karg - 2009
Edgar Hoover to brilliant imaginer Walt Disney and bad boy of baseball Ty Cobb, Freemasons have influenced every aspect of American life. Yet this secret society remains as controversial and mysterious as ever. In this book, you'll learn the truth about: The power and meaning behind the symbols, rites, and rituals Alleged connections with Jack the Ripper, the KKK, and the Holy Grail Freemasons vs. the Nazis The centuries-long rivalry with the Catholic Church Freemasonry's growing influence here and abroad As the largest--and oldest--fraternal organization, the Freemasons will continue to shape the world we live in for the foreseeable future. With this tell-all guide, you'll unravel the mystery of this intriguing society--one secret at a time!
Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language
Nicola Gardini - 2016
In this sustained meditation, Gardini gives us his sincere and brilliant reply: Latin is, quite simply, the means of expression that made us--and continues to make us--who we are. In Latin, the rigorous and inventive thinker Lucretius examined the nature of our world; the poet Propertius told of love and emotion in a dizzying variety of registers; Caesar affirmed man's capacity to shape reality through reason; Virgil composed the Aeneid, without which we'd see all of Western history in a different light.In Long Live Latin, Gardini shares his deep love for the language--enriched by his tireless intellectual curiosity--and warmly encourages us to engage with a civilization that has never ceased to exist, because it's here with us now, whether we know it or not. Thanks to his careful guidance, even without a single lick of Latin grammar readers can discover how this language is still capable of restoring our sense of identity, with a power that only useless things can miraculously express.
Accidence Will Happen: A Recovering Pedant's Guide to English Language and Style
Oliver Kamm - 2015
Yet, as Oliver Kamm cleverly demonstrates in this new book, many of the purists' prohibitions are bogus and can be cheerfully disregarded. Accidence Will Happen is an authoritative and deeply reassuring guide to grammar, style, and the linguistic conundrums we all face.