Monday, February 16, 2009

Latin for American special forces

From Matthew Norman's Saturday restaurant review in the Guardian:
In an age when imperial warriors were better educated, if not better intentioned, than they are today, a Victorian warrior made a pun at which all future generations of Latin pupils were obliged to affect mild amusement. On capturing the Indian (now Pakistani) province of Sindh in 1843, Sir Charles Napier reported his triumph back to London with the single word "Peccavi", meaning "I have sinned".

OK, so no one will be rushing off to Boots for a ribcage repair kit, but that's a shade cuter than "mission accomplished". (By the way, should any US special forces on the verge of capturing Ossie BL be reading this, "oneravim" is the Latin for "I have been laden".)

2 comments:

HE Elsom said...

Sigh, I don't know what the Guardian subs are coming to. The Latin for "I have been laden" is "oneratus sum". "Onaverim" is active perfect subjunctive or loosely speaking "I may have laden" with an object.

Peter Hulse said...

I had always understood that "Peccavi" was the winning competition entry sent in by a Scottish schoolgirl at the time of the subjugation of Sindh. I can't remember what the competition was far, but it had a worthy winner.