Filed under Latin text

Word of the Day: Goliard

I stumbled upon this word, and the more I discover about it the more I like it. The OED describes a goliard as a disreputable vagrant medieval cleric given to revelry, buffoonery and satirical Latin versifying, a follower of an imaginary Bishop Golias. Another source describes them as renegade clerics of no fixed abode more … Continue reading

Small but Loud

This is from the pamphlet describing the parish church of St Pancras in central shopping precinct of Exeter, England: “Situated within the old ‘British quarter’ of the city that lay behind Exeter’s medieval Guildhall, the church of St Pancras stands possibly on one of the most ancient Christian sites in Britain. The dedication is an … Continue reading

Unscientific Science Names

Under the system developed by Linnaeus, animals are given Latin names so everyone can be sure they are talking about the same things. But sometimes scientists like having fun with the system. The giant fish from the Jurassic era called Leedsichthys problematicus because nobody could establish how big it was. It was the world’s largest … Continue reading

Ancients Writing on Britain

The Romans have left us with records of the tribes and behaviours of the people of Britain, but they were often filtered through a general view that all non Romans were uncivilised, so were often described as brutes, fond of fighting, living in tents, eating milk and meat, or canibals even. As if the Romans … Continue reading

New Money for Old

New Money for Old

Seventeenth century England had lots of problems, but for a country of merchants, its deteriorating coinage dragged on for decades. The silver coins in circulation were becoming worn down and illegible, so easy to forge, but also there was widespread ‘clippiing’ wherby people would clip or shave the edges which could produce a considerable amount … Continue reading

Reminding Leonardo

Reminding Leonardo

Next month, a list of things Leonardo da Vinci had to do goes on display at Buckingham Palace, London.  It dates from about 1510. For anyone hoping to become a Renaissance genius, you could try the following for starters: Get hold of a skull – no laboratory or home is complete without one, though be … Continue reading

Ireland’s Greatest Invention

Ireland’s Greatest Invention

No, this is not a bad joke. Or even a good joke, but quite an amazing discovery I have just made. It is to do with Latin script. If you have ever seen the writing on an old Roman monument you may have noticed that it is a string of letters. They did not have … Continue reading