Monday, 7 September 2009


I hang my head in shame! I got the Latin motto on the Lauranian Eagle wrong!

It has been pointed out to me that Senatus Populus Que Romanus does NOT translate as ‘For the Senate and people of Rome’; it means ‘The Senate and People of Rome’ or ‘The Senate and Roman People. Therefore PQL (Populus Que Lauranus) does not mean ‘For the people of Laurania’.

My only excuse for making this mistake is that I failed my Latin 'O' Level in 1966 because I was just not very good at it! In fact I was so bad that my Latin master once wrote on my end of year report that I 'tended to lose consciousness too easily' (you fall asleep ONCE and they never let you forget it!).

Now anyone can make a mistake … as I did … but … my surname is Cordery … and Mathurin Cordery (1479-1564) was a French scholar and educator who wrote Latin textbooks, one of which was still in use in schools in the late eighteenth century! It is even rumoured that Benjamin Franklin owned a copy and advocated its use at the University of Pennsylvania.

What an embarrassment I am to my family name!

I will make sure that I get the translation of ‘For the people of Laurania’ right, change the Lauranian Eagle accordingly, and publish the corrected version later this week.


  1. Bob, may I suggest either
    Pro Populo Lauraniae [lit. for the people of Laurania]
    Pro Populo Lauranio [for the Lauranian people]
    assuming that the proper adjective derived from Laurania is Laurenius, -a, -um [1st/2nd declension]
    [currently Head of Latin, Northcote Lodge School]

  2. arthur1815,

    Many thanks for this very informative comment. I have also had the suggestion that Pro Populo Lauranio is the correct version that I should use from someone else who is also more versed in Latin than I!

    I was cr*p at Latin when I was at school; in fact I was 'removed' from the Latin classes after I got bored one day and the coke stove in the corner of the room blew up after I put a gunpowder bomb (wrapped in silver foil and painted black to look like coke) into it.

    Perhaps I should have paid more attention ... and had less fun!

    All the best,


  3. Bob,
    I'm very glad you're not one of my pupils today - and hope that the latter don't read your blog or my classes risk becoming rather too dangerous for my liking!
    When I was in Form 5 at school, some boys on the back row decided it would be fun to fill their desks with butane from gas-lighter fillers and then drop a match down the inkwell - result: the desk lid flew up with a bang and a small puff of smoke! I remember one English literature lesson became a sort of 1812 overture...

  4. arthur1815,

    Being such a 'poacher' as a pupil made me an excellent 'gamekeeper' when I became a teacher! There were few - if any - of my pupils who ever did anything as outrageous as my fellows and I did!

    I like the idea of using butane gas! All we had was lighter fuel (petrol), match heads (Swan Vestas are great for making a flare!), and gunpowder taken from bangers. We did once try making gun cotton. Very dangerous and volatile, but boy, what a bang when it went off!

    Nowadays we would have been arrested for being terrorists; then we were just over excited schoolboys. How times have changed.

    All the best,



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