Many things are brewing Latin-wise, which also means there isn’t a lot I can share right now. So for this week’s article, I thought I’d share something that has been growing more and more useful to me, since the point of these articles are to provide some sort of value for you.

Forcellini

Let me present you Forcellini, the dictionary that defines Latin words in Latin instead of providing an English (or any other language) glossary. I have a problem with glosses and it’s that they’re inaccurate. Wiktionary is sort of useless when it comes to the actual meaning of words. Latinitium’s dictionaries are a lot better because they always provide context, but still, I’d have to understand the context to really understand the word, and I’m not necessarily at that level yet.

Forcellini is great in that it really gives a definition of the word rather than a translation, and it provides context. That the whole thing is in Latin is just the bonus. Some people I know at university are reading Caesar, and as much as I wanted to attend, I couldn’t make it. Instead, I sat down and started reading Caesar but this time checking the words in Forcellini instead of looking up the gloss.

By having clear definitions, it’s easier to see when and how the words are used. A good example of subtlety is how both probus and bonus is translated as good but they aren’t necessarily used the same way.

If you look at Forcellini, this is what you get for bonus:

1. Generatim ponitur de rebus physicis et physica ratione consideratis.

Also:

2. Item generatim sublimiori ratione ponitur cum de hominibus, tum de eorum actionibus aliisque abstractis. – a) De hominibus, bonus est peritus, doctus, strenuus, ut apud Cic. 14. Att. 20. Nemo fuit poeta aut orator, qui quemquam meliorem, quam se, arbitraretur. Cic. Rosc. Am. 32. 89.

So you can have a good apple, a mālum bonum, or you can have a good man, but a good man really means perītus, doctus, strēnuus, an experienced man who knows what he’s doing.

A probus man however:

1. Generatim — 1.°) De hominibus — a) Est bonus, integer, rectus, sanctus, frugi

If you read the other meanings, there is a great overlap, but the difference here is clear. Our man now is good, honest, virtuous, upright, etc.

The difference isn’t that great that it causes trouble, so maybe I didn’t choose the best example. Nevertheless, I think it still demonstrates the usefulness of reading up on the definitions.

So, when learning words, I highly recommend learning about them in Latin at Forcellini.

Still about recipes

If you have been reading my stuff, you know I have recently posted a cake recipe. With help, I made a revised edition, and updated the article accordingly. It was suggested that the future imperative be used instead of the present one, and some other mistakes like misjudging what conjugation a verb was are fixed. Also, some stuff about temporal clauses, which usque cannot do but dōnec and dum can. The recipe should be readable now.

Why am I mentioning this? Because I actually wanted to see how the Romans wrote down recipes. I got my hands on Apicius’s Dē Rē Coquināriā, and flipped through it. Well, Apicius actually didn’t use the future imperative at all. He just used the simple future.

I found that very interesting. The text that way has a sort of weight this way, since he doesn’t command you to do anything, you will do what he says. I felt myself turning into a cooking machine, yes sir, I will do exactly as you wrote.

I still haven’t figured it out why one way would be preferred over the other, why the future simple is used in place of the imperatives. If you happen to have some ideas about it, be sure to leave a comment.

Intercisa, and other things

This section is dedicated to the future. The new video about Intercisa is on its way, albeit slower than planned. I had to get the other half of the recordings since we used two phones to capture everything. If I can, I will also publish a behind-the-scenes video on Patreon.

Since it’s Halloween this month, expect some spooky stuff at the end of the month, too.

There are other things brewing under the hood, which I can’t talk about yet…Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, read the Weekly Latins here, and follow me on Twitter to get all the updates.

Valē, et in proximum!