Saturday Serendipity

Victor Davis Hanson talks with cohost Sami Winc about the difference between Greek and Latin languages, the history of aircraft carriers in the world, and the different invasions of Russia.

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8 thoughts on “Saturday Serendipity”

  1. Richard Shannon

    Professor Hanson, I listened to you for the first time on the Tucker Carlson show.
    Your knowledge of world history and the clear straightforward way you share that knowledge is most interesting.
    Enjoy history and look forward to more of your insightful talks.

  2. Dear Victor and Sami,

    Thanks for another great podcast. I really like the wide range of topics you discuss. Where else could you listen about Greek and Latin?

    I had a little bit of Latin in school. We used the Cambridge Latin Course which was quite elementary. I didn’t give the Latin language much more thought until many years later when I picked up Learn Latin by Peter Jones. This book was originally a series of lessons published in the Telegraph newspaper, and is, according to Jones, roughly the equivalent of 2/3 of an O-Level GCE course. He has also written a similar book on ancient Greek. After this book, I moved on to Latin Made Simple by Doug Julius. This is a good introduction and has an answer key for checking your work. Julius claims that it is the equivalent of two years of high school Latin and maybe a year of college. Latin is mostly a regular language, with the exception of the 3rd declension nouns and the fourth conjugation past participles. It teaches you to think grammatically which I think is a valuable teaching tool. So many of our words are either Latin or derivatives. For example, video (I see), audio, (I hear), edifice, education, duke, odious, pulchritude, via, just to name a few of the top of my head. I also like how Latin is organized. Once you know the principle parts of a verb, ie. (1) present nominative indicative singular; (2) active infinitive; (3) perfect active; (4) perfect passive participle you can form all of the tenses for that verb.

  3. I ran out of space in my previous post. I just wanted to ask if you could recommend any good Latin grammar books for an advanced beginner? As you probably are aware, Latin and Greek are usually not offered at a local community college so finding materials can be challenging. I’ve read Wheelock’s (5th edition I believe) but it had no answer key so it was difficult to check your work. Universities such as Yale do offer free open courses on the classics. Donald Kagen teaches an intro to Greek history that looks interesting. Do you know of any other resources that may be of value? Thanks.

    1. I’m no Victor, but it if you’ve done Wheelock’s, it’s time to hit the texts. Don’t expect to get it all or to go fast: language learning requires a constant gap between what you know and what you’re taking in. Wheelock’s is basically prep for The Gallic War, Poems of Catullus, and Livy. Get copies of either the Loebs or Steadman’s free online texts with helps and start working. Bryn Mawr University has texts with helps for sale too. You can keep cycling your note cards as you go.

  4. I remember watching the PBS series the Story of English. I believe they interviewed a Shakespeare scholar who claimed that Shakespeare had a vocabulary of about 34k words. He said this was a staggering sum, given that it was about double of what an average educated person possesses. He also said that this has fueled speculation that Shakespeare may not have written all of his plays.

  5. Always the most distilled historical and relevant information there is, Thank You Dr. Hanson. As a side note, for some reason I took Latin in the 9th grade thinking the vocabulary would be useful, then I found out 1st semester was all Grammar and I am Dyslexic, it did not go well. Today all I remember is how bad I was at it, and Formica comes from Ants.

  6. Shadow Banned by CFP

    Well the Russian ballets are canceled because this isn’t a free country, it’s “freer” than other places or ostensibly claims to be, and the hysteria is in the same vein as the Branch Covidianism diatribes against the unmasked, unvaxxed, unclean; similar to the irredeemable dregs, chumps, deplorables, etc. They’ve said many times that Ukraine is fighting for the New World Order. Ukraine just implemented a biometric app for a proposed central bank digital currency tied to vaccination status. If you dissent against the state you’ll simply be switched off unable to buy or sell without the mark… About the poll: not to get too histrionic about it, I would fight in an invasion, but they don’t allow the unvaxxed in the army here…

    Regarding Greece where the unvaccinated are already taxed monthly (as in Austria, Germany, or other countries) I recall ancient Greek language had no accent marks, as it could be sung or chanted, and these accents were added later probably when materials and tools developed in widespread use to permit rendition of such miniscule accent markings in addition to full letterings or chicken scratches onto clay or stone, i.e. was written as the ox plows or left-to-right one line, then right-to-left and upside down the next line.

  7. I have watched several Russian WW2 movies including: Battery Number One, Panifilov’s 28, The Final Stand, 1942 Unknown Battle, White Tiger, Stalingrad, Road to Berlin, The Dawns Here are Quiet and Come and See. My 17 year-old son is the one that pointed the following out to me: “Dad these movies are all the same: The average Russian hates communism but are willing to die for Great Mother Russia.” The caveat is that I think most Russians think Mother Russia extends from the Baltic and Vistula to the Pacific and from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, Caucuses, Caspian, Karakum/Taklamkan/Gobi Desert and Manchurian plains. Furthermore, I think the Russians are willing to accept independent nations at their peripheries as long as they culturally and politically align themselves with Moscow. But incursions into their overall perceived sphere of influence cannot be tolerated and they will fight as if it were an invasion. The dumbest thing the U.S. and their European Cultural overlords can do now is start to bully China and India.

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