Press Release

A Passion for Latin

(ARA) — Amo, amas, amat. If that's the extent of the knowledge of Latin you can retrieve from the deep recesses of your memory, you're not alone. "Although we have seen a resurgence in the study and teaching of Latin in the past few years, a working knowledge of Latin is not as common as it once was," notes Marie Bolchazy, vice president of Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, a company that specializes in classic texts.

Due to this lack of general familiarity with Latin, the Hollywood community and the general public were taken by surprise when Mel Gibson announced that his film, "The Passion of Christ," would feature actors speaking Aramaic and Latin, with no subtitles. He has since reconsidered, and the general release version of the movie includes subtitles.

As far-fetched as it may seem to find a Latin language film at your local cineplex, until the end of the 18th century, Latin was taught as a spoken language; in the recent past, it went through a period where it was regarded as a language to be read rather than spoken; there is now a resurgence of a movement to teach spoken Latin.

"Latin is a beautiful language to speak and it is the best way to read the classics," says Bolchazy. Her company publishes books in Latin for both the serious scholar and the casual reader. For example, even those with little or no command of Latin will be tickled with the Latin version of two Dr. Seuss favorites, "Green Eggs and Ham" ("Virent Ova! Viret Perna!!"), and "The Cat in the Hat" ("Cattus Petasatus").

"Latin Proverbs," a collection of 1,188 quotations in Latin and translated into English, is also a good choice for those whose Latin is a bit rusty. Approximately 100 authors, ancient to contemporary, are represented, as well as quotations from the Bible, state and institutional mottoes, and legal phrases. The quotations range from the hortatory ("Life should be used; for life slips by on rapid feet"), to the admonitory ("Drunkenness takes away your character, your money, and your reputation").

For those who are learning Latin, Bolchazy recommends "Conversational Latin," a dual-language resource for exploring ancient and contemporary topics ranging from the weather to politics in lively dialogs with authentic Roman expression. And for young Latin learners, "What Color is it?" ("Quo Colore est?") and "Who Loves Me?" ("Quis me amat?") are a fun way to learn the basics.

Serious Latin students will find a wealth of texts in the original Latin, as well as translations and background information to enhance their enjoyment of the classics. For example, "The Labors of Aeneas," written in English, explains the features, oddities and special aspects of the Aeneid to help students appreciate Virgil's masterwork. "This book is a great resource for teachers who are introducing students to this great epic," says Bolchazy.

While you may never be able to sit through and understand an entire movie in Latin, these books and others will help you develop an appreciation for this ancient yet modern language — the basic language and culture in our Western civilization.

For more information on the books mentioned in this article, visit or call (800) 392-6453.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR'S NOTE: For a review copy of the books mentioned in this article, call (800) 392-6453.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information, contact Marie Bolchazy at (847)526-4344.