Thursday, March 26, 2009

carthago delenda est...

...or my nod to the memory of mister jones, my first latin teacher who died of a brain tumor at the age of 32.

a few posts ago, a gentle reader asked, in one of her comments, why i always end my posts - or at least one post daily with the tag line "and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be."

i do it for two reasons. first of all, i want the war to end. every war. i don't think war is a good thing, and i don't think it's necessary. i think we live in a world where it appears to be necessary, but i believe that it's only a sad lack of imagination that has heretofore prevented us from eliminating war as a culturally viable behavior.

secondly, i believe that words have power, that butterflies in beijing can cause hurricanes in honduras, and that a single drop of water can wear away a rock, given enough time. cato the elder helped incite the third punic war against rome's only potential rival for supremacy in the mediterranean with his constant refrain: carthago delenda est (carthage must be destroyed.) he found a way to end every speech, every exhortation, even, according to some sources, every social exchange with those three words, and some historians suggest, tongue in cheek perhaps, that the reason the roman senate went to war at all was to shut the old boy up.

i know all this because of my latin teacher, mister jones, who died the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. i liked latin. it appealed to my sense of history and language, and i was the only girl in the class.

but whatever you think of the efficacy of cato's tactics, the fact remains his words echo through history, and carthage WAS destroyed.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

7 comments:

Juls said...

Very well put. Thank you for that! :-) One small thing can make a big difference...it's so true!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Very thought provoking - and a very nice tribute to your former Latin teacher... :)

Hi! I'm Grace said...

Hi Annie, it is so nice to be back here and read your very senseful post. :)

April said...

Food for thought, Annie...you never disappoint me!

Lynette said...

Annie my friend that I went with this last weekend is a latin teacher too. I know what you mean by the power of words.
How else could a writer feel!

Walk in the Woods said...

Indeed.

Bonnie said...

What a great story and now I understand the ending to all your blogs. I was never big into Latin, but have learned alot from it over the years. Today included. Thanks.