Michelle Lovric and Nikiforos Doxiadia Mardas, How to Insult, Abuse, and Insinuate in Classical Latin (Barnes and Noble, 2004) Exactly what it claims to be: a tome on how to insult, abuse, and insinuate in classical Latin. A compendium of quotes (bilingually presented, of course) from ancient Roman authors, poets, and statesmen of questionable taste. The translation is necessarily loose in places (and loose in others for humor's sake), but still. It's fun to insult someone and not have them understand a word of it. ****
'As elegantly and eloquently evil as they come!'
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
From the title, one might be misled into thinking that this book concentrates on building up the reader's vocabulary - learning to decline and conjugate new naughty words. In fact, the book is intended to give people the tools to 'make enemies and impress people' - language that while insulting is far from crude.The book, in fact, consists of insults mined from classical literature - not just Juvenal's satire and Martial's scathing short poetry, but 12 other writers, including Cicero the politician and Petronius (author of the Satyricon). The authors admit right up front that they've taken everything out of context, and have taken liberties with the English translations accompanying the Latin originals to try to preserve the flavor - puns, double entendres, imagery.After a short introduction, including a 2-page rundown of the original authors, the book is organized in 4 main sections."Insults for the" is broken into 10 'chapters'. "Witless" ("He hasn't got the brains of a sleeping two-year-old rocked in the crook of his father's arm"). "Clueless" ("Even if you had 10 tongues, you ought to hold them all"). "Worthless" ("Born to lounge around in naked sloth"). "Gormless"' best lines are from Cicero, while "Charmless"' are from Martial. "Legless" goes after drink & debauchery. "Sexless", while it doesn't need to use any obscenities in English translation, can't be quoted in a review. "Graceless" heaps on the physical insults ("Your face will always remain your own worst enemy"), "Malodorous" gets more specific. "Misogynist" doesn't insult women-haters, but provides ammunition ("How am I supposed to keep an eye on a woman who is always on the market?")"Abuse" falls into only 3 categories: "Disreputable", "Insufferable", and "Indifferent". "Insinuations" has 4 subsections, for the "Venal", "Lecherous", "Treacherous", and "Murderous". (Martial, quoted under "Lecherous": "A woman who gets married *that* often doesn't get married: she just does the paperwork for her adultery.") Finally, the book wraps up with "Useful Threats."
Offensio horrorque! (Shock! Horror!)
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
Gasp, horror, terror, defilement! My beloved lingua latina, reduced to gutter language! O, Catullus, O Martial, O cruel world - what hast thou donest unto me?Yep, the book is seriously fantastic. I'm into Latin in a big way, and there's nothing quite as fantastic as that classical beauty and serenity of Latin being applied to the world of public transport and other areas of human depravity. Whether attacking the irritating children of your neighbours ("Mala pituita nasi" or "Nasty nasal drippings!"), your local self-important politican ("Faciem durum cacantis habes", "You have the face of a man with severe constipation") or just that pile of detritus in the car in the other lane ("Immanissimum ac foedissimum monstrum!", "Gross and putrid monster!"), there's nothing quite like the Latin (and English translations) here - all quoted, with citations, from real Latin authors.You may also want to use it for the opening inscription to your bestselling memoirs: "Nimiast miseria nimis pulchrum esse hominum" - "How unbearably tiresome it is to be handsome!" But whatever your use, you're sure to find the perfect putdown, the sublime slinging, the irreprable insult, for that irritating bug you've been wanting to set right - in Latin from the quaint through to the downright vulgar.The only remaining question after this vulgarity is, of course, will my retinae ever recover?
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