ientaculum in terra mirabili / by Anthony Gibbins

What a great word is ientaculum. Say it out loud. The i sounds like the y is yes. And the stress should be placed on the ta. yenTAculum. It means breakfast, although the Oxford Latin Dictionary supplies the rather charming a light early-morning refreshment.

Perhaps you are familiar with the following iconic lines from Alice Through the Look Glass;

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Here are those same lines from Clive Harcourt Carruthers’ 1966 translation, Aliciae Per Speculum Transitus.

Alicia ridens dixit: ‘id conari non usui est. eis rebus quae fieri non possint nullo modo credi potest.’

‘hoc fortasse te non multum exercuisti,’ regina inquit. ‘cum tot annos haberem quot tu nunc habes, cotidie semihoram me exercebam. aliquando etiam non minus sex rebus impossibilibus ante ientaculum credidi.’

That, without a doubt, I will soon do. First, however, I want to speak briefly about the breakfast of Miranda and Claudia.