all things birthday / by Anthony Gibbins

Standing proudly in the forefront of today’s picture is Lego’s 2013 Modular, Palace Cinema (10232-1). It contains 2196 pieces, and is still available to buy. We saw the inside of the cinema way back in episode 5 and – spoiler – we shall be seeing more of it this month. It is flanked by the two halves of 2011’s Pet Shop (which was discontinued only a few months ago). We shall be seeing more of the Pet Shop too.

So, Alan and Scipio are watching a film. If you are interested in that word, pelliciula film, then you can read more about it here. Why are they watching a film? Because they are celebrating Scipio’s birthday. The Latin for birthday is dies natalis, where dies means day and natalis is an Adjective meaning of or belonging to one’s birth. Sometimes the expression was simply meus natalis. In a letter to his friend Atticus, Cicero reports ad urbem (veni) natali meo I came to the city on my birthday.

John C. Traupman’s ‘Coversational Latin for Oral Proficiency’ has much useful birthday related vocabulary; Felicem Natalem (tibi exopto). A Happy Birthday (I hope for you)! natalicium birthday present libum natalicium birthday cake natalicia birthday party nataliciam dare to throw a birthday party. In a harsh speech against Marcus Antonius, Cicero complains that his advesary has not come down to the Forum because he is throwing a party. hodie non descendit Antonius. cur? dat nataliciam in hortis Today Antonius has not descended. Why? Because he is throwing a birthday party in the gardens. Then there is the famous birthday party invitation found at Vindolanda, a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hardian’ Wall. You can see an image of the hand-written invitation here. In translation it reads;

Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present (?). Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him (?) their greetings. (2nd hand) I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper, and hail. (Back, 1st hand) To Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Cerialis, from Severa.

Finally, in Latine Cantemus : cantica popularia Latine reddita, Franz Schlosser provides this loose translation of Happy Birthday, song to the tune of the original.

Felicissimus sit,

Felicissimus sit,

Dies festus nati tui,

Felicissimus sit!

Meanwhile, in the movie cinema, Alan and Scipio sit watching a film. Today is the birthday of Scipio and they are celebrating the day.