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October 21, 2004

Latin You Can Use. Final Version.

As those who were forced to do it at school could have told me (thanks guys) this latin stuff is harder than it looks. However, I am now able to provide the two must have, grammatically and linguistically correct phrases.
For those new to this subject, a briefing.
Marcus Porcius Cato, also known as Cato the Elder, was and is famous for his habit of declaring that Carthage must be destroyed. "We should re-roof the Temple and Carthage must be destroyed, the sewers need repairing and Carthage must be destroyed". The phrase used was "Carthago Delenda Est". As and when he was being slightly more on topic, for example discussing the strategic problems of a two power Mediterranean, he would end with "therefore I conclude that Carthage must be destroyed," or, "Ceterum censeo Carthagem esse delendam." After two decades of this the Romans gave in, conquered Carthage, pulled down the walls, sold the population into bondage and ploughed the fields with salt.
What I have been trying to do over the past few days is to update this to refer to the European Union. We've slowly got closer to the truth (with a lot of help from this guy) and started with the idea that "European Union" was "Consilium Europaeum " which could be correct but unfortunately is much closer to meaning "Council of Europe" which is a completely different organisation. We then moved to "Unio Europaea" as this is what they themselves refer to, um, themselves, as. It's also the way that they are referred to in Latin news reporting.
I actually got confirmation of that by writing to the EU's own Latin translation help desk so we now know that "Unio Europaea Delenda Est" is the correct short form. Yet what of the longer form? Does Unio move around?
Looking at dictionaries and so on didn't get me very far, especially as those for Classical Latin indicated that "Unio" meant "large pearl". I suppose that one can take that two ways, that the European Union is in fact the "Large Pearl of Europe" or that it is an irritant, a poison which we must isolate by consistent excretion and subsequent encapsulation.
So, back to our friendly translator who was, shall we say, a little unhappy at the phrase into which I wanted to put his Unio. Verbatim:

Let me tell you first of all that it isn't a good idea to use a language
that you don't know. Especially if what you wish to say may hurt some
people. In Europe, for the first time in History, no war has been fought in
over fifty years thanks to the EU. And thanks to the EU, in whose
translation service I work, I can tell you now how to put your sentence in
I'm not a Europhile, but I try to be fair -I don't think it'd be a good idea
to destroy the EU. But I respect your views. Allow me only to remind you
that the EU is not Carthage, Britain is not Rome and you aren't Cato.

My response was polite yet as you can imagine I disagreed slightly. Anyway, his further:
Thanks indeed for your message, Tim.
I see you're a nice fellow, albeit a bit misinformed. Allow me please to
give you some facts:
- The European Union has not existed since 1992. Under a different name, but
with the same aims, it was founded in 1957 (as a positive result of WWII).
- Since 1957 till 2004 no war has been fought between Europe's eternal
enemies -Germany, France and Britain. (The American Army alone is not
responsible for that.)
- The Balkan countries are beginning to join the Union, which is a
guarantee that they won't butcher each other any more.
I'm not an economist, but do you know why Britain invented EFTA? Not only
because of economics, but also because of politics -you only have to check
the date when it was founded and the countries that were invited to join
(almost a circle around the emerging united Europe) to see the game. When
Britain realized that its encircling strategy didn't work, it left EFTA and
joined the Community. 1973. I was living in London at the time and remember
well the debates for and against. Since then, many things have happened, but
Europe keeps growing while some Britons keep kicking against it. Why?
However much I admire the British, I must tell you I don't understand that
idea of "loss of sovereignty" that keeps coming up almost every time I watch
the BBC. Have you ever asked yourself what amount of sovereignty the French
have lost? Or the Irish? The euro has been adopted and everybody is happy
with it, especially if you're a traveller. Only the British have to waste
time changing money at borders. That's not fair. I think that the problem
lies deep in contemporary history. Britain enters the 20th century as the
biggest empire on earth, and exits it as a second-rate power. That has to be
digested and absorbed and it takes some time, but it is unhealthy to prolong
it endlessly. Believe me, nobody in Europe has lost sovereignty (and those
who deal with that here in Brussels aren't aliens, but your fellow citizens,
sent here by your own government). One last thought: Only people who aren't
sure of their identity fear losing it (Cicero might have said that).
Like you, I'm an insignificant citizen. But I don't think that in the modern
world you can live in your ivory tower.
Sorry for being so long, and thanks again. To you and to the EU (without it
I wouldn't have been able to exchange these lines with you).

Again, I made a polite response yet was a little puzzled over the last line. I thought it was Al Gore who invented the internet and CERN for the WWW?
Still, enough of playing with (perfectly nice and helpful) bureaucrats.
We now have, direct from the horse's mouth, the correct phrase:
CETERVM CENSEO UNIONEM EVROPAEAM ESSE DELENDAM. or, if we are allowed to invent words like Unio we can also add a "u" to our alphabet the phrase becomes thus:
"Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam" which is where I think we should leave our translation efforts and get on with the process of spreading the word. Contributions of stories, graphics, photoshops, cartoons and the like will be greatly appreciated and will be put up here for others to borrow and post.

October 21, 2004 in Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam | Permalink


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» Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam from The England Project
Here's a rehash of something I did earlier. Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam is Latin for something along the lines of I say, the EU is not what we're looking for really. A better definition can be found over... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 21, 2004 2:02:21 PM

» Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam from The England Project
Here's a rehash of something I did earlier. Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam is Latin for something along the lines of I say, the EU is not what we're looking for really. A better definition can be found over... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 21, 2004 2:03:12 PM

» Spread the Word from George Gaskell
Tim Worstall has been honing his Latin grammar, and all for a worthy cause. Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam Say it often. End every conversation, letter and e-mail with the phrase. Let it become ubiquitous grafitti. Now, how would... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 21, 2004 3:26:47 PM

» Fisking a Eurocrat from L'Ombre de l'Olivier
Just as I finish being inspired by a Tim Worstall link he comes up with another good one. In this case he reproduces his correspondence with the nice EUrocrat ... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 21, 2004 3:29:59 PM

» Fun With Dead Languages from Bohemian Conservative
It seems like Tim Worstall and other Eurobloggers like L'Ombre de l'Olivier have an anti-European Union campaign going. And they have now translated their battle cry to the above Latin. [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 23, 2004 6:39:27 PM


Interestingly the post I just made inspired by the Grauniad piece you linked to just below would I think be a decent rebuttal to your European bureaucrat. It also concludes Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam because I remembered enough Latin to independantly figure out how to decline Unio

Posted by: Dirty Dingus | Oct 21, 2004 2:21:47 PM

Have you ever asked yourself what amount of sovereignty the French
have lost?

What a silly question -- the EU is run as the French Empire, of course the French have lost nothing.

Posted by: Robert Crawford | Oct 21, 2004 6:17:53 PM

Ah the days of my high school Latin classes....you bring back memories.

May I pass a note to my friend sitting in front of me telling her of my plans to go to the Men At Work concert? Then she can write back to me about how much she hearts Steve Perry and Journey and do I think they would make a good couple?



Posted by: Sharon Ferguson | Oct 21, 2004 6:51:34 PM

Have you ever asked yourself what amount of sovereignty the French have lost?

Alternative answer

Who cares, thats a subject for the French people to discuss.

My mother would have said something like this. So if the French jumped in front of a bus would you copy them then? Well then learn to think for yourself young man.

Posted by: EU-Serf | Oct 22, 2004 7:13:30 AM

The progress of E.U. has been one of stealth, eroding national sovereignty bit by stealthy bit. Over 70% of new laws are now made in Brussels.
Quote from Jean Monnet, founding father of E.U.: "Europe's nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation."
The plan from the start was subterfuge, coercion by stealth, where force failed.
The whole set-up is obscenely expensive, with much fraud and corruption. It is far too big and unwieldy to manage properly. They spend most of their time (and hence our money) arguing this and that and the other, endlessly. It is a giant Gravy Train for the elite few who feather their nests and if they Play The Game, are well looked after . "E.U. law shall have primacy over the law of member states" .That is appalling. It means that 2 world wars were fought for nothing, if we hand over so much power. What a dreadful insult to all those who fought and died to preserve our freedom. U.K. people will never accept total control from abroad. And it is up to enlightened folks who have spotted the stealthy tricks of setting up a superstate, a totalitarian new COUNTRY called Europe, to wake up the apathetic majority, who do not realise what the long term plan has been all along.

Posted by: Tobypaws | May 24, 2005 4:13:31 AM

The EUrocrat's "no war has been fought in
over fifty years thanks to the EU" is an impudent lie. There have been civil wars in the Balkans (counties not in NATO) & the peace in the rest of Europe has been and continues to be kept by NATO, of which the French are (to their shame) are semi-detached members. If the EU continues on its arrogant course civil war between its parts, and a "war to unite Europe" (compare the wars to unite Germany and Italy in 19th Cent.y) may be expected.

Posted by: Duncan | Jan 7, 2008 10:25:44 PM