The Mad Latinist (jdm314) wrote,
The Mad Latinist

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Immo, ego sum pater tuus!

Harvard has a tradition that the salutory address at graduation should be in Latin. This year Charles Joseph McNamara gave an address about Star Wars. The video is available online in .rm format, and the actual address begins at about 1:09:45.

The translation does suffer somewhat from the Ciceronian-syndrome so common to such things. Namely, everything has to be perfectly classical even in contexts where it's unneccessary. E.g. he cannot say principissa "princess", because that's an entirely medieval term. Instead he says filia regis "daughter of the king." THat's more understandible than avoiding the Graecanic galaxias for the pure Latin Via Lactea. The problem with that one is that the ancients knew of only one galaxy. When the idea came about that there was more than one, the term "Milky Way" (which exactly translates Via Lactea) came to refer specifically to our galaxy, and the Greek synonym Galaxias became generic for any galaxy. So it sounds like he's saying " a Milky Way far far away" (or worse, when he says "intergalactic" the Latin is "of all the milky ways.") Well, there is a certain beauty to playing within the bounds of Cicero. Especially in a public oration.

Thanks to beckyzoole for calling attention to this.

ADDENDVM: cynics might suggest that I'm so critical because I'm jealous that My Star Wars translations remain obscure. I scoff at this accusation, ha!
Tags: bella stellaria, charles joseph mcnamara, harvard, latin, latin salutory address, star wars
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