The Latin in the Asterix books is spot on. In Asterix and Cleopatra, the old pirate says, “Alea iacta est” (“The die is cast”), when his ship is scuttled. Julius Caesar originally said the words as he crossed the Rubicon river in 49 BC, in his battle with Pompey.
How funny that the biggest-selling books in the world are full of Latin, not least the motto of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus” – “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”.
Some of the most famous Biblical phrases come from the Vulgate, the Bible’s Latin translation. Take Jesus’s words to Mary Magdalene when she tried to touch him after the Resurrection: “Noli me tangere” – “Don’t touch me”.
With his mangled grammar, Molesworth, the naughtiest boy at St Custard’s, is brilliant on the difficulty of learning Latin: “Fancy a grown man saying hujus hujus hujus as if he were proud of it it is not english and do not make SENSE.”
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