Sacred Realms by Anthony Gibbins

Last year, as part of a Heroes, Gods and Monster unit, my Form I class developed their own version of a (great) game called Star Realms. It was terrific fun and the students learnt a lot about Greco-Roman mythology, I will be beginning this same unit again next week with this year’s Form I students. This time, however, we will be taking things a step further - by writing the text of the cards in Latin.

I will post here the introductory letter that I will be giving to the students. I should stress that I have not sought permission from White Wizard Games, although I will be sending them a copy once we finish. I hope they like it...

salvete discipuli,

As part of our study of Gods, Heroes and Monsters, we will be developing a CARD GAME called Sacred Realms. To help us, and to ensure that the game is fun to play, we will base our game closely on an existing game, Star Realms by White Wizard Games.

Star Realms contains cards in 4 factions. These are Trade Federation, The Blob, Star Empire and Machine Cult. Each faction has special abilities. Machine Cult, exempli gratia, is able to remove weaker cards from your deck to make your deck stronger.

We will be making our own cards, replacing Space Ships with Gods, Heroes and Monsters. Our cards will still have the same statistics - they will deal the same damage, heal the same damage, and supply the same currency for buying new cards - but they will be themed differently, with new names, new pictures and new descriptions.

We will begin by renaming the factions, as follows;

Trade Federation will become Goddesses.

The Blob will become Heroes and Demi-Gods

Star Empire will become Gods and

Machine Cult will become Monsters and The Underworld

Our class will be divided into four groups, with each group responsible for one faction. It will be up to you, working in groups, to determine how to rename each card. For example, one of the most powerful cards of the Star Empire is The Dreadnaught, so this might be a good choice for Jupiter. After all, it would make little sense to make a very weak card, such as the Imperial Fighter, the King of Gods and all Humankind!

Once this has been decided, your group will divide again, with each sub-group being responsible for producing one half of your group’s cards. Producing a card will mean 1) finding an appropriate image and 2) writing appropriate text. You will be excited to learn that this text - a short description of the character on your card - will be written in Latin. You will get plenty of help with this, to ensure that your Latin is correct and easy to read.

Magister Gibbins

Ravena enters. I know who has your suitcase,’ Monas declares immediately. ‘Marcellus has it. He is an excellent painter who lives in the attic-room above the restaurant.’


Martin Prince by Anthony Gibbins

On today’s page we see Monas Brickvir back in his office. He is particular pleased with himself, having puzzled out who had Ravena’s suitcase. You may remember his use of cui bono? logic, assuming that whoever had the suitcase would now have more money than before. He then saw Marcellus in fancy new threads getting picked up in a fancy new car. There was a need to represent this feeling of self-congratulatory-contentment visually, and - excuse my self-congratulatory-contentment - I think I nailed it.

Way back in August 2013, Lego announced that they would be creating a Simpsons series of Lego minifigures. They were released in 2014. This was well before Lego was on my radar, but I remember buying one, just for the heck of it. (I think I might have gotten Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, but whoever it was, it is long gone now). Later that year Lego released The Simpsons House, which you can check out here. That was followed by a second set of minifigures and then the Kwik-E-Mart in 2015.

Which brings me to Martin Prince. You know him. Here is his intro from the Simpson’s Wiki;

Martin Prince, Jr. (born August 2) is Bart's classmate, and is Lisa's rival in intelligence. He is Nelson Muntz's favorite target for bullying and is an academically brilliant teacher's pet, and is portrayed as a stereotypical nerd. Martin is a fourth grade student at Springfield Elementary School. He is usually shown as Bart's friend due to the fact that he is occasionally seen with Bart, along with Nelson, Milhouse, and other kids.

Well, the Martin Prince minifigure came equipped with the wonderful little book that you see in today’s picture, which I picked up on e-bay. Of course, there is ample evidence that living with a high IQ can be very difficult indeed, and I certainly do not mean to make light of that. pax.

Monas meanwhile is reading a book in his office (the seat of his duty) and waiting for Ravena, very content because he knows for certain who has the suitcase. Soon Ravena knocks on the door. 


hello hello hello by Anthony Gibbins

Well, having spent two of the past three posts on Imperative Verbs, it seems a shame to pass over my favourite Imperative Verb: salve! (one person) salvete! (more-than-one). The Oxford Classical Dictionary supposes this Imperative to have originated from the Verb salveo, yet it has no entry for the Verb itself. The Cassell’s does, providing salveo, salvere (just two Principal Parts), and commenting on its limited usage. To quote, Used chiefly in the forms salve, salvete, salveto, salvebis, salvere (iubeo), as a greeting. The Oxford includes all of these, and adds salveo as well.

As I commented in a previous post, I take salve! to mean be well! although the Oxford suggests Hallo! good morning! how are you? or similar. As well as, I should mention, Farewell! and May it go well with you! (although only on parting).

Of the forms quoted by Cassell’s, salve and salvete are already understood. salveto is a Future Imperative, which I assume extends the good wishes into the future. Plautus has this exchange - A: salve, adulescens. S: et tu multum salveto, adulescentula. salvebis would literally mean you will be well. Cicero wrote to his friend Atticus salvebis a meo Cicerone you will be well from my Cicero which the Cassell’s takes to mean my son (Cicero) sends you greetings. salvere iubeo means I order to be well. Again, Cicero has Dionysium velim salvere iubeas I should like you to order Dionysius to be well or - my translation - say hi to Dionysius for me. Finally, the Oxford quotes another Plautian character saying salveo, which surely means I am well.

ecce! Claudia is back! Just in time to get mixed up in adventures.

Suddenly someone shouts ‘Be well!’ Bravo! Claudia has returned. Very happy she greets her friends. Then she notices Jessica and also greets (her). Turning herself to Miranda she asks ‘What’s new?’

*quid novi

don't by Anthony Gibbins

A couple of days ago I posted something on Imperative Verbs, which you can read here. It contained the following table:

Conjugation                 One Person                 More-than-One                       Meaning

First                               ambula!                       ambulate!                              Walk!

Second                          sede!                           sedete!                                   Sit!

Third                              curre!                          currite!                                   Run!

Fourth                            dormi!                         dormite!                                Sleep!

Mixed                             fuge!                            fugite!                                   Flee!

As you can see, the ending of an Imperative Verb is dependent on the Verb’s Conjugation and how many people one is ordering.

Today I want to show you how simple it can be to tell someone not to do something. The Verb you need is nolo, nolle, nolui to be unwilling or to not want. A common way to tell someone not to do something in Latin, is to tell them not to want to do it. We begin with the Imperative of nolo, nolle, nolui.

One Person                 More-than-One                       Meaning

noli!                             nolite!                                     Don’t want!

We follow this up, as you might expect, with an Infinitive Verb. noli ambulare! don’t want to walk (to one person). nolite ambulare! don’t want to walk (to more-than-one). noli currere! don’t want to run (to one person). nolite currere! don’t want to run (to more-than-one). We understand this, however, as Don’t walk! and Don’t run! (Perhaps there is an interesting psychological point to be made here, but I’m not sure what it is).

On today’s page, Miranda says to Jessica noli te vexare! do not want to distress yourself!

(There is also a use of the wonderful word opus. You can read a recent post on that word here.)

‘Do not distress yourself,’ Miranda says to Jessica. ‘I have developed a plan. We will catch these people holding the book! But now, let’s go to your home, Marcellus. There is need of your skill.’

carceres draconesque - Dungeons and Dragons by Anthony Gibbins

It seems to me that there are four ways to be afraid. Firstly, you can be afraid of something. Secondly, you can be afraid to do something. Thirdly, you can be afraid that something may (or may not) be. And fourthly, you can be afraid that something may (or may not) happen. This is the topic of today’s post.

We begin with the Verb vereor, vereri, veritus sum to fear, and a few themed examples. Firstly, I can fear wicked dragons. Secondly, I can fear to enter the dungeon. Thirdly, I can fear that evil dragons are living in the dungeon. And fourthly, I can fear that the wicked dragons will consume me. You may have noticed, by the way, that vereor is a Deponent Verb, meaning that it only has Passive (not Active) Forms.

To fear a thing, we use a simple Accusative Case Noun to show that it is the Object of our fear. dracones improbos vereor I fear wicked dragons.

To fear to do something, we use an Infinitive Verb. carcerem intrare vereor I fear to enter the dungeon.

To fear that something may (or may not) be, we just need the Conjunction ne and a Verb in the Subjunctive Mood. To continue from above, dracones improbi in carcere habitant means wicked dragons live in the dungeon. The Subjunctive form of habitant is habitent. Thus vereor ne dracones improbi in carcere habitent means I fear that wicked dragons live in the dungeon.

And finally, to fear that something might happen (in the future) we use a slight variation of the above. We still start with ne, but we finish with a Future Participle and a Subjunctive form of the Verb to be. Our Future Participle consumpturus about to consume comes from the Verb consumo, consumere, consumpsi, consumptum to consume. dracones improbi me consumpturi sunt means wicked dragons are about to consume me. Thus vereor ne dracones improbi me consumpturi sint means I fear that wicked dragons are about to consume me or - more simply - I fear that wicked dragons will consume me. Yikes!

And so those two seized that gem. What remains is already known to you. I lost the seized suitcase and you, Marcellus, found it. I fear however that they will get it back.'


you want us to bring it? how irregular by Anthony Gibbins

This post is about Imperative Verbs, and, specifically, those Imperative Verbs that have an Irregular Form. Imperative Verbs, by the way, are those Verbs used to order somebody to do something. Latin - no surprises here - has a rather regimented manner of forming Imperative Verbs. But there are a few Verbs, such as fero, ferre, tuli, latum to bring that have an Irregular Imperative. Let’s take a look.

A Regular Imperative Verb begins with the Present Stem and then adds an Imperative Ending. The exact ending is determined by two factors. The first is which family (conjugation) the Verb belongs to. The second is how many people you are ordering, one or more-than-one. How about a table.

Conjugation                One Person                 More-than-One                       Meaning

First                             ambula!                      ambulate!                               Walk!

Second                        sede!                           sedete!                                    Sit!

Third                            curre!                          currite!                                    Run!

Fourth                         dormi!                         dormite!                                  Sleep!

Mixed                           fuge!                           fugite!                                     Flee!

But there are a handful of Verbs that have Irregular Imperatives. Mostly it is only the One Person form that is Irregular, but sometimes it is both. Five come to mind right now, although I can’t promise that there aren’t others. These are the Imperatives of fero, ferre, tuli, latum to bring, sum, esse, fui to be, dico, dicere, dixi, dictum to say, facio, facere, feci, factum to make or to do, and duco, ducere, duxi, ductum to lead. This calls for another table!

One Person                 More-than-One                       Meaning

fer!                              ferte!                                       Bring!

es!                               este!                                        Be!

dic!                              dicite!                                     Say!

fac!                              facite!                                     Make! or Do!

duc!                             ducite!                                    Lead!

And then there is eo, ire, ivi or ii, itum to go, whose One Person Imperative is not so much Irregular, as just weird looking.

i!                                  ite!                                          Go!

In this suitcase will be much money - your reward - and that map, which will lead you to the ancient book. Bring the found book to me.’

if you build it, they will come by Anthony Gibbins

This is, by far, the most memorable line from the 1989 film A Field of Dreams, in which Kevin Costner’s character, corn farmer Ray Kinsella, invokes the 1919 Chicago White Sox by building a baseball diamond in his fields. Ray hears a voice telling him that if he builds it, they will come. He builds it and *spoiler alert* they come.

If you build it, they will come is an example of a Conditional Sentence. If the condition is met, the outcome will occur. In programming speak - and the last programming I did was with BASIC in 1987 - if x then y. Simple. But I want to talk a little about the Tenses used in this particular Conditional.

It stands to reason that the White Sox will not come until after the field is built. Latin has a way of making this very clear - in a way that is far more precise than English. The Latin sentence is the equivalent of if you will have built it, they will come. Nice, yes? If you will have built it… There is, of course, a Tense that specifically means will have built. It is the Future Perfect Tense. Remember, Perfect just means finished. So, this is a Tense that says something will have been finished at some time in the future. Awesome.

The Verb I would use to mean build is aedifico, aedificare, aedificavi, aedificatum. The Future Perfect Tense is built - no pun intended - on the Third Principal Part; aedificaveris you will have built. They will come, as you might expect, is just good ol’ simple Future Tense; veniemus they will come. si id aedificaveris, illi venient if you will have built it, they will come.

There is a Conditional Sentence of this type on today’s page. The Condition contains two Future Perfect Verbs; rapueritis if you will have seized and dederitis if you will have given. If and when, Hadrian says, these two conditions have been met, I myself will bring a suitcase to you. feram I will bring is in the good ol’ Future Tense.

Make a journey to the town and visit the bank. If you seize this gem and give it to me, I myself will bring a suitcase to you.

for many years now by Anthony Gibbins

Chapters seven through nine of The Oxford Latin Course contain a brief and (relatively) simple retelling of the Trojan War. Here is just a taste of it. I will put a translation at the post’s end.

deinde Achilles hastam summa vi conicit; volat hasta per auram et Hectorem transfigit. ille ad terram cadit mortuus.

accurit Achilles et dirum facinus facit. Hectorem mortuum ad currum alligat et circum muros trahit. pater et mater e muris spectant. Hecuba clamat: ‘o Achilles,’ inquit, ‘tandem ab ira desiste: filium nobis redde. sed Achilles eam non audit; Hectorem ad naves trahit et eum relinquit in terra iacentem.

One things you will notice is that the story is told completely in the Present Tense. The Oxford Latin Course does not introduce tenses other than the Present until Book II. (Above all else, Book I concentrates on Noun Cases.) So when I first encountered this next sentence I thought it was a bit of a work around.

decem annos Graeci urbem obsident sed eam capere non possunt.

I understood that what it wanted to say was for ten years the Greeks have been besieging the city but they have not been able to capture it but I wasn’t totally convinced that the Latin could be correct; surely have been besieging and have been able require something other than the Present Tense obsident they besiege and possunt they are able. It turns out that I was wrong. In Latin, past action that continues into the present is described with the Present Tense. It is a phrase like decem annos for ten years that tells the rest of the story.

On today’s page we see Hadrian say of a precious gem multos iam annos hanc gemmam desidero I have desired this gem for many years now. desidero is Present Tense; I desire.

I do not yet trust you, however. Therefore, listen. In a far off town there is a bank that holds a precious gem. I have desired this gem for many years now.

Translation of Oxford Passage: 

Then Achilles hurls a spear with the utmost force; the spear flies through the air and pierces Hector. He falls to the ground dead.

Achilles runs up and does a terrible deed. He ties the dead Hector to his chariot and drags him around the walls. (His) mother and father watch from the walls. Hecuba shouts: ‘o Achilles,' she says, 'at last cease from (your) anger: return (our) son to us. But Achilles does not hear them; he drags Hector to the ships and leaves him lying on the ground.