Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Do you even lift, bro? Etiamne tollis, fra?

Travel back in time to Ancient Rome. In Saecula Saeculorum. Sword fights. Chases on horseback. Adventure. Love. Loss. Latin.

Do you even lift, bro?

As a Latin language scholar who also does Crossfit and lifts, I just couldn't resist offering a product on this meme.


Click on the image to buy the shirt. You can also change styles and sizes on the site itself.

The shirt features Hercules and Atlas lifting the earth itself. The letters are in Roman Royal Purple.

There are some erroneous translations of this into Latin already in circulation. I've seen, for instance, "Etiam tollisne?" (What's wrong with that explained below.)

I translate it as follows:

Do you even lift, bro?
Etiamne tollis, fra?

Here is the grammar lesson and textual support for my version.

First off, Plautus gives us a near perfect parallel in Mostellaria 4.2:

"Heus, Tranio, etiamne aperis?"
"Hey, Tranio, are you even going to open?"

The enclitic -ne creates a question. But it absolutely has to be put on the first word of the phrase. 

The use of "tollere" for "to lift" is justified by the idiom "tollere libramenta (weights)." 

Worth learning are the famous words St. Augustine heard outside his home, "Tolle, lege!" (Pick up, read!), which prompted him to read words from the Epistle to Romans that led to his conversion.(Confessions 8.12)

"Fra" is short for "frater" in the same way "bro" is short for "brother."

There you have it. If I could ever jump on a meme when it is first going, maybe I'd achieve my dream of revenue streams that let me sleep in every day and just study languages. Until then, back to the grind... 

If you're interested in my research into the continued knowledge and practice of the Paleo diet in ancient times, check out my book, Original Thin: the Paleo Diet in the Bible and Ancient Literature.



If you're interested in Latin or ancient history, or even just an entertaining read, check out the time-travel thriller In Saecula Saeculorum. Click to learn more.

It's a bargain at 0.99 cents on Kindle (or affordably priced at $11.90 on paperback). 

You'll travel back to ancient Rome on a harrowing mission to save the modern world. It's the adventure of four lifetimes.