The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. — Dorothy Parker
Oh Ms. Parker, how I wuv you. As if I don’t have enough to do and never enough time to do it, my latest fascination is ancient Rome, pre-Celtic Ireland and Britain, and trying to learn Latin. And you know whose fault this is?
I have become obsessed with this movie. It came out almost a year ago, and apparently vanished before I ever heard of it. Parts of it are weak, some of the performances are not the greatest, but Jamie Bell as the Brigantes slave Esca stole the show. He was brilliant. If you don’t recognize the name, you may know him from “Billy Elliott”. Yep, that’s him. Channing Tatum as the Roman Centurion Marcus Aquila is a stalwart soldier, single-minded in his duty to Rome. He has some good moments, the fireside chat between Marcus and Esca is one of the best I think. It’s been on HBO’s “On Demand” now for a few weeks, and I think I must have watched it six or seven times already. Since it’s going off OD soon, I betook myself to Amazon and ordered both the The Eagle DVD and the soundtrack CD. Oh yes I did. Wonderful soundtrack, nothing I like better than some mournful uillean pipes.
The movie is based on a young adult novel, The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles by Rosemary Sutcliff, published in 1954. This probably accounts for the complete lack of smut in the movie (which I find is a relief). I admit I was surprised to find out it was based on a YA novel, but then I haven’t read any YA in a really long time. I’ll be picking up these books, though.
No one actually speaks Latin in the movie, but this is not relevant. There is a great deal spoken in Gaelic, with English subtitles, although this is probably historically inaccurate. The painted Seal People would more likely have been Picts, rather than Celts, but the Picts disappeared as a people a long time ago and their language is lost completely so they speak in Gaelic in the film (and after several viewings I’m starting to catch a few words of that language). It was probably related so maybe it’s not too far off.
My interest in Latin is partly curiosity after hearing about it all my life. I’ve always felt my education was lacking in the classics, and I have a fascination with languages (plus isn’t there cachet in being able to say you know Latin? Seriously, only hardcore scholarly types even bother with it anymore. I think this restores some geek cred I lost recently). Plus, this movie also gave me another idea for a story (TADA! there it is). Like an actor immersing themselves in a role, I like to research for my stories. But really, the idea of studying Latin just fascinates me. (It wasn’t offered in high school. We had German, Italian, Spanish, French, and Russian. Four years of German and two of Italian were all I managed then).
I’ll see how far I get with the Latin. I also want to learn Irish, somehow I’ll delve into that as well, but that’s actually more familiar to me than Latin.
For now, I leave you with my writing motto:
Nulla dies sine quingentis verbis!
(Never a day without five hundred words!)
Now, back to the movie…