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Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. XXXIII

July 17, 2009

Ah, here we are, Friday again. Was your week as long as mine? I sure hope not. However, I'm sure that there's not a problem troubling your soul that a little alcohol couldn't cure.

You know who liked a good drink? The Romans. Of course, in the early days of the Republic, they didn't care so much about the wine. They were more concerned with killing the Etruscans (to the north of Rome) and the Greeks on the southern part of the Italian peninsula and the Samnites...who kind of filled in the space between the Etruscans and the Greek settlers, but east of the Romans.

However, once those folks were all defeated (and we'll throw in the Phoenicians and Carthaginians and the rest of the Greeks for good measure), the Romans found themselves with a shit ton of grapes, control of all the trade routes in the Mediterranean, and many parched and thirsty throats clamoring for the wine. Not to mention the Romans were absorbing other Mediterranean cultures into their own, and those cultures loved the wine. So, the Romans decided that--if you'll excuse the phrase--when in Rome...make some wine.

And once the wine started flowing, so did the coins. The Romans decided this was one sweet ass deal, and decreed that it was illegal to make wine anywhere outside of the Italian peninsula. So, the boot became filled with wine and it was soon being exported to all parts of the Empire...especially to those whiny (ahem) folks in Gaul. And boy did the Gauls love their wine, which was convenient because the Romans loved selling it to them. The Gallic folk--who tend to have an arrogance of haut couture about them--didn't water their wine down while they drank it, which was quite a faux pas by Roman standards. Thanks to this, the Romans considered the Gauls to be uncultured, barbaric and slovenly. However, while the Gauls were drinking wine which wasn't watered down, they had to keep buying more and more and more. Oh la, la the wine trade, she was a lucrative one, which allowed the Emperors to build extravagant palaces, public works and armies with which they could keep the wine-starved populace under Roman rule.

And the Romans were able to pretty much corner the market by clever use of their laws, by owning all the great grape-growing areas around the Mediterranean, and by being completely ignorant of the ability to distill alcohol from water. Of course, there's another brewed beverage that is mouth-wateringly delicious, sometimes known as "beer". While beer was important to the Romans during the time of the Republic, by the time they controlled all of the grape-growing areas, the Romans decided that beer was suitable only for the barbarians to the north. So, a combination of ignorance, law, and--in the case of beer--more ignorance with a smattering of arrogance and a healthy dose of the jingling of coins in bags, wine became the most important source of alcohol in the World according to the Romans.

Now, while the old Roman maxim of in vino veritas ("in wine there is truth") rings true, in wine there is also stupidity. And by stupidity I mean that state of mind beyond just being drunk to where you're loud, profane, and you might be taking pieces of clothing off. So, in other words, how I act when sober.

Should you opt for the bar tonight--and why the hell wouldn't you?--and someone decides to get a little too far into their cups and start making an ass of themselves, uttering this will get your point across and sound profound enough that you'll avoid the requisite bar fight that breaks out when someone points out just how drunk another person is.

Tu podex videris

Pronounced: "Too poh-daix weed-air-ees"

Translation is in the hovertext!


So, there you go. Enjoy a lovely beverage, unwind from the work week, and make fun of people in a dead language. Also, if some snob decides to loudly proclaim just how great the French are with their wines and such, you can smirk and set them straight. And that's something to drink to.

24 comments:

Sass said...

You're providing such a public service with this one.

I can think of sooooo many instances in which this would come in handy.

I've thought of 17 just in the time it took me to type this.

For that, I thank you. ;)

The Peach Tart said...

It's been quite a week here and I'm counting down the hours until happy hour which of course starts early on Friday. I'm just hoping I see somebody making an ass of themselves. So many drunks, so much good writing material.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I must apologize. There were a few grammatical gaffes that cropped up. It's what happens when you spend hours reading up on the Roman wine trade just so you can teach people how to say "asshole" in Latin.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Peach Tart: Strangely enough, it was difficult to find a picture of someone being an ass while drunk. Most of the pictures I got were of drunk people passed out, which was still funny, but not exactly what I was looking for.

Hopefully you have better luck when it comes to spotting those too far in their cups.

@ Sass: Thank you, ma'am. I try my best. Now, if only I could find a way to link the Romans with coffee...

mo.stoneskin said...

Listen to you, you history buff, you learned chap, you...

*drifts off dreaming of Rioja, sod Italian wines*

Samsmama said...

A great place for pictures is www.sorryimissedyourparty.com. A little disturbing at times.

Wait. Are you saying we're only supposed to drink on the weekends? Well, shit.

Imnotbenny said...

I'm so glad I came here- I spent a lot of time sifting through the internet to find how to say asshole in Latin after you left your comment, and was never satisfied.

I feel enlightened now.

Eric said...

Fantastic post Mjenks!
I know tonight I'll be getting the old krater out for watering down a few bottles of good Chianti at happy hour.

ps - I imagine that you seen some of the archaeological work on the various roman wineries that have been located? I might have to do the next blog post on info tangential to this...

LiLu said...

I am so glad I'm home on the couch so that I can go have one right now...

Well, maybe I'll wait 15 minutes, just so it's technically the "afternoon". ;-)

Sorry about my stupid link not updating. I think, unfortunately, you have to take it off and put it back on to get it to work, since I moved to WP. LAME SAUCE, I know...

red said...

Being part French (but mostly English!!!), I'm growing a little tired of everyone giving us shit all the time. I mean, you surrender one time...

Gwen said...

My only hope is that my friends never find this post or I'm in for a Latin tongue-lashing.

Wait. Latin tongue-lashing . . . Benicio del Toro . . . Javier Bardem . . . HMMM . . . now that I think about it, that doesn't sound so bad.

Lily said...

Those Gauls sound like my kind of people!

Fancy Schmancy said...

Stupid French people and their stupid whines...

Rita said...

Just found your blog via Aly at Calling People Names. This is good stuff - loved the history lesson. I'll open a bottle in your name tonight.

dg said...

FYI...the Gauls really dig freedom fries with their whine.

Whiskey Girl said...

I'm with Samsmama - oops... I thought everyday at 5 was the weekend....

otherworldlyone said...

That picture looks like a normal Friday night out...

Ah, youth.

Nej said...

You had me at wine. :-)

Vic said...

I'm practicing my pronunciation. I'm probably going to need this later today - Thanks!!

JennyMac said...

I love your sassy sassiness. And the history lesson. I could be Gallic until I read "slovenly."

And I will be saying this clever maxim as soon as possible.

Cora said...

I might actually remember this one when I need it!! ;-)

Missy said...

Did the Romans have boxed wine? LOL

Chemgeek said...

mjenks, have you noticed (of course you have) how many chicks you have commenting. You're like at 95% girl comments.

The wine-latin combo must work wonders.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I can't wait to use this one!! I'm sure it will come in handy some time soon as I seem to attract only assholes when I am out at bars. Hummmm, wine & assholes? I see a connection.