Monthly Archives: January 2021

Another one of Tolkien’s Sources

Mithra-ndir: Gandalf and the Roman cult of Mithras.

J.R.R. Tolkien described The Lord of the Rings as a fundamentally Catholic work. But a close reading of the epic novel reveals many more influences, including a connection between Mithras and the wizard Gandalf, whose Elvish name is Mithrandir.
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A Taste of Latin

I really do not have much talent for foreign languages, but I find them fascinating. I studied German in High School and Russian in College. For some years now I have studying Irish. Last summer I took a short introduction to Ancient Babylonian. I have had a interest in Latin for a long time. So when I found on Facebook a notice for Vocatio ad cenamI decided to sign up.

There were three days of video lessons, entirely in Latin. Simplified Latin, but still Latin. We worked through Carmen XIII, by Catullus. The first day was with a very simplied version of the text, while on the second we had a version that was less simplified. One the third day we went through the original text. The class ended the next day with an interactive session to review the exercises and have some general discussion.

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Good article about LOTR

Bent Out of Shape: The Ring of Power and the Wraithing of Humanity.

It runs against human nature to reject an advantage once we have it, but that’s what Tolkien’s heroes do again and again. It seems natural to long to wield power and to have great authority, but Tolkien uses a Ring and a concept—wraithing—to warn us against the terrible, corrupting force of absolute power.

Also

“And here is where I take a brief aside and beg you to please read the books if you have only seen the movies, because Peter Jackson utterly destroyed Faramir’s character in the movie.”

See Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay. For myself, I had read LOTR many times before seeing the first movie. Hence when seeing the movies my mind automatically filled in the parts Jackson omitted, and corrected those he changed. The books come first, in more than one way.

Greek and Roman sling messages

From Writing funny stuff on ammo is over 2000 years old:

Know those great photos of World War II crews painting bombs with messages like “Easter Eggs for Hitler” or “To Mussolini, with Love”? It turns out, your ancestors have been doing that for over 2,000 years, because the British Museum has sling shot from 300 B.C. where missileers were telling the enemy to “Catch!” their shot.

The British Museum has a good example.

“Catch” is one of the tamer examples. From Humorous Inscriptions on Lead Sling-Bolts (Sling Bullets; Slingshot) Reflect a Roman War of Words:

Some NSFW examples follow