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Re: The Poll ends! (Was: Are we too serious these days?)

From: Chris B. Vetter
Subject: Re: The Poll ends! (Was: Are we too serious these days?)
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 11:30:33 -0800

On Thu, 6 Nov 2003 11:51:55 +0000 (GMT)
Nicola Pero <address@hidden> wrote:
> ... I though "ora" meant "mouth" (and from that "orator" (speaker),
> "oratio" (speech [/prayer in the Middle Ages]), "orare" (to speak /
> give a speech [/pray in the Middle Ages]) etc), but looking on the web
> I can't find this meaning documented (the available dictionaries are
> pretty poor though), still I believe it correct.

The Latin 'orator' is literally 'one who speaks' as it is derived
directly from 'orare' == 'to talk'.

The same word, orator, even exists in English, meaning 'public speaker'.

> Wait - I remember something else ... "parvola ne nigras horrescat
> erotion umbras / oraque tartarei prodigiosa canis".  That's classical
> stuff, meaning something like "so that the small erotion won't be
> scared by the shadows and the terrific mouth of the dog of hell" (you
> certainly find great translations somewhere on the net, and possibly a
> more accurate text, I don't have time to search for Latin stuff now). 
> Sexy. :-)

If I remember correctly, it goes

  Hanc tibi, Fronto pater, genetrix Flacilla, puellam
  oscula commendo deliciasque meas,
  parvola ne nigras horrescat Erotion umbras
  oraque Tartarei prodigiosa canis.

  Fronto my father, Flacilla my mother, to you
  I commend my darling, my delight
  Erotion - do not let her fear the shadows' darkness
  nor the tremendous jaws of the hound of hell.

'ora, ae, f.' has too many different meanings (or rather possible
translations) as it describes 'the extremity of a thing' and can
therefor be used for virtually everything, from a coast line (and
therefor a country), a zone, and even a rope or anchor cable (see Titus
Livius, Ab urbe condita ' cum alii resolutis oris in ancoras evecti

Additionally it also has a poetical meaning that isn't even defined, eg.
Lucretius uses 'in luminis oras eruere' meaning 'to bring to light', or
in 'Saturnalia' Macrobius uses 'quis potis ingentes oras evolvere belli'
meaning 'to unroll the edges of the picture of this war'.


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