Fellow students of Latin, may remember having to translate the exploits of Cotta.
Personally I never thought to enquire about who this Cotta actually was; all I knew was that he marched around, on Caesar's behest, with several cohorts; out to conquer parts of Gaul.
Yesterday I decided to find-out more. Unfortunately not much is written about him other than in the famous De Bello Gallico where some details are given of his being wounded, losing battles, and eventually his death.
He was obviously a much admired soldier, and Caesar promoted him as joint Senior Officer in his Gallic Army along side his fellow officer Sabinus.
Caesar sent him to 'Gaul' to conquer the area around the German/Belgian borders. He came across fierce fighting, and eventually was defeated inside his own compound (above).
I'm really no better informed about dear Cotta, but at least some of my past 60 years of ignorance has been laid to rest.
The strange thing about learning Latin is that one ends-up being able to say that Cotta is advancing to the north with two cohorts, but one never learns how to ask for a pound of Apples, or even ask the way to the Coliseum.
We were taught to swear in Latin!ReplyDelete
We used to swear in dog-Latin. Efficus offus, etcDelete
Latin was only compulsory at my school until the third form, when I decided to drop it.ReplyDelete
During my Spanish studies I learned how to say "there is a monkey on the balcony of the town hall", but regretfully have never had occasion since to use that particular phrase.
There was a time when I was quite good at Latin, then as a result of dreary teaching, I abandoned it. As for your handy Spanish phrases, we were taught in French to say 'My uncle's pen is on my aunt's desk'. Having now lived in France for 47 years, I have still not had the occasion to use it.Delete
My brother had compulsory Latin for a year in high school and his only remembered text is the rather useful "the slave is in the garden".ReplyDelete
When I lived in Greece I had to communicate with my fellow barn-resident via Greek dictionaries. Mine was English/Greek, hers was Bulgarian/Greek. Mine had some handy phrases at the front like "Yes, you have lovely eyes" and "Where is the best beach?" and hers had the likes of "Take me to your Party Headquarters" and "What are the Worker's Rights in this establishment?". We never used to make much headway with one another.
That is funny. It must have made for very interesting conversations!Delete
I don't remember Cotta in our Latin studies but there again our Latin teacher spent most of her time in the Headmaster's study.ReplyDelete
Discussing manoeuvres maybe?Delete
In the southern U.S., you are offered Spanish and a few others, like German. I chose German because my Dad was, and the only phrase I remember was to meet in the library. I have since taken many Spanish classes, and although I understand it, other than ay Dios Mio, and a few Spanish cuss words, nothing.ReplyDelete
My first serious girlfriend was Italian, and as a result I tried to learn Italian. For some bizarre reason nothing would stick; everything would disappear almost at once. With my French I've never had the same problem.Delete
Cotta invented a kind of soft cheese known as Cottage cheese. He also gave us terra Cotta tiles and plant pots.ReplyDelete
Yes I knew that he had invented Flower pots, which came from 'The Land of Cotta' (Terracotta). I was interested to hear that he was also responsible for Cotta Cheese; now of course bastardised into Cottage.Delete
Unfortunately past education focussed on learning my rote. A good friend got a decent O level Latin grade by memorizing the English translation...can still quote screeds of it. What a waste of time and brain power!ReplyDelete
I loved my Latin studies... until it became tedious because of poor teaching.Delete
Foreign language study is a bit of a joke, as demonstrated by all the comments here. My experience is similar to all the above. A waste of time.ReplyDelete
The only two languages I studied were Latin and French, and being a fan of etymology I find my knowledge of Latin still useful. Living in France, my French was handy too.Delete
The comments for this post are quite amusing. My father learnt Latin to a reasonable degree at school but as he never swore at home, nor did he use Latin.ReplyDelete
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