Thursday, 24 October 2013
Roman and Greek Ruins
We have been to a few Mediterranean countries in recent years and one of the things we have found they have in common (apart from the climate) is the plethora of Roman and Greek ruins. In fact there are places in museum areas which resemble architectural salvage yards specialising in take-home bits. These were lying around in the approach to the Cumaean Sybil's cave. They were too heavy to carry and a large dark Italian smoking an endless cigarette and on a permanent mobile phone was in charge. They haven't been moved in decades.
1. Sinistro sit amet quam pecunio?
(see p.s. for translations)
Some bits would be an interior decorator's dream. Real marble as well!
2. Hoc non manus sed pes est.
And some others need a TV home rescue show to get the job finished before it all falls down. Why are those bits still lying around?
3. Quid dicis tu animum mutatum; columnas?
Some expose the ravages of age on the faux marble pillars! A core of bricks, some moulded plaster and a clever paint job.
And many were obviously finished by A-----w's Roofing of Bishop Auckland. He did the same sort of work on our roof before we got the good guys in.
4. Si fractum non sit, noli id recifere.
Swimming pools are always problems. No-one knows why this pool has such restricted lane-swimming barriers. Another suggestion is that perhaps they got sick of swimming and changed it into a fish farm.
An accompanying scholar gave us those suggestions and got a free holiday for it! I think it is the area where the heated water from the hypocaust got into the pool. But...we'll never know.
5. Quid est illud in Aqua....Pistrix!
In Roman times it was always handy to get a house in a street with good drains and a pedestrian crossing over the floods. Chariots could be a problem on rainy days. Looks like A----w's been roofing here too.
6. Debetne multum aquae subter esse?
In one of the museums was a pottery selection of meals available at a local Trattoria. They would have been displayed with the price so that foreigners from the ships in the port didn't have to be able to speak latin. Just as well. Most of them were Greek or African and hadn't been to a convent grammar school in North Finchley.
There were other picturesque tariffs displayed outside bakers, wine bars and brothels. Use your imagination.
7. In catillo est, cibus esse debet.
Our scholarly escort took great delight in stopping to translate all the latin inscriptions. I really don't think that this one needs much translation. A sentence including all the words great, good, fat and god seem to do the job.
p.s. 1. How much money is the big one on the left?
2. This isn't a hand, it's a foot.
3. What do you mean, you changed your mind about the pillars?
4. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
5. What's that in the water? Shark!
6. Is there supposed to be a lot of water down here?
7. It's on a plate, it must be food.