Archive for December 2011

Mone me, amabo te, si erro   Leave a comment

Well I hope everyone’s holiday went great! Mine went swimmingly. I got stripey socks! I am the only person in the world who enjoys getting socks for Christmas.

After Christmas I picked up the Latin thing again. I have now completed the first chapter of Wheelock’s Latin. This chapter covers the basic concept of conjugation and declension — how Latin modifies each verb and noun, based on:

Person: Who is the subject?

I throw the ball (first)
You throw the ball (second)
He throws the ball (third)

Number: How many people are the subject?

The boy threw the ball (singular)
They threw the ball (plural)

Mood: Is the action happening? Is it hypothetical? Is it an order?

The boy throws the ball (indicative)
The boy must throw the ball (subjunctive)
Throw the ball, boy! (imperative)

Voice: Is the subject doing the action, or is the action being performed to the subject?

The boy throws the ball (active)
The ball was thrown to the boy (passive)

Tense: Present, past, future, imperfect, perfect, future perfect, and pluperfect
Which homygosh did I freak out when I saw that. I remember being worried that pluperfect was going to be complicated the first time I took Latin. Actually I think perfect tense was the most complicated, or maybe it was imperfect. I don’t remember.

The boy throws the ball (present)
The boy threw the ball (past)
The boy will throw the ball (future)
The boy was throwing the ball (imperfect)
The boy has thrown the ball (perfect)
The boy will have thrown the ball (future perfect)
The boy had been throwing the ball (pluperfect)

…Yeah, that’s seven different tenses to conjugate verbs in. That’s in the indicative mood! Later there will be hypotheticals and passives all thrown into this wingwang and it will be be insane. Latin is not a difficult language, but it involves a lot of memorizing charts. You have to just kind of accept that when you become a Latin student.

So this week we only focused on changes on person and number. Everything was in the indicative present mood, except for a few example sentences in the imperative. To be fair, imperative is pretty simple. You take the root word:

Volare (fly)

Chop off the ending bit:


And…actually that’s it. Well you should probably stick an exclamation point on that.


And if you’re ordering multiple things? You just add -te to the end.


And if you want to be a nerd:

Voltate, stulti! (fly, you fools!)

So yeah, this week was pretty simple. Just a lot of basic introduction of concepts. The sample sentences tried to throw in pronouns and conjunctions to throw us off, but yeah.

Labor me vocat (work calls me)
Saepe nihil cogitas (often you are thinking nothing)
Laudas me; culpant me (you praise me, they blame me)
Bis das, si cito das (You give twice, if you give quickly)
Salvete!–Quid videtis? Nihil videmus. (Greetings! What do you see? We see nothing)

Vocabulary that tripped me up:

debeo, debere, debui, debitum, to owe, ought, must — can you believe “data” and “dedicate” have the same root?
servo, servare, servavi, servatum, to preserve, save, keep, guard — I get this mixed up with servio, servire, servivi, servitum, serve, be a slave to
do, dare, dedi, datum, to give, offer — the indicative form is so short that I often mistake it for a pronoun. I need to make an effort to remember this one.

Posted December 30, 2011 by agentksilver in Latin

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Pluck the new things! (carpe rem novum)   Leave a comment

Some news:

1) I’ve added categories and tags! I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, but I have both, so who cares!
2) Now that the semester is over, Open Source Vase is now a blog about me reteaching myself Latin.

I’ve been a big Latin geek since I first took a Latin class the second semester of eighth grade. Something…caught hold of me. The words, the structure, the smaller class size. Latin was the first real love of my life, and it hasn’t left me. I’m a historian because of Latin.

I took it in eighth grade, then again in eleventh/twelfth grade, then again in community college, trying to build myself back up from depression. Every time I take the class, I get excited, learn all sorts of new things, and then promptly forget everything I learned. I think I retain a little bit more each time, but the fact is, I’ve forgotten most of it at this point.

I want to take Latin 201 in Fall of 2012, so it’s time for me to relearn Latin vocabulary and grammar again. And so I’m dusting off my community college textbook and starting over. The text is Wheelock’s Latin, Sixth Edition, the standard for Latin students.

All I got done tonight was reading through the Foreword, notes on the Revised Edition, and all four introductions. I admit that I skimmed through the Foreward, which was full of Frederic Wheelock bragging about how awesome of a Latin scholar he is and using words like “infelicitous,” which confused the heck out of me. Seriously:

Caesar’s works were studiously avoided because of the view that Caesar’s traditional place in the curriculum of the first two years is infelicitous, and that more desirable reading matter can be found.

I complained aloud about it. I couldn’t get a read on “infelicitous” in that sentence. I know what “felicitous” meant: it means that whatever it is that’s felicitous is a good thing, a positive and maybe even convenient thing to happen. It’s a fairly active word. But infelicitous? It is not a happy thing to happen? “Caesars…place in the curriculum…is not a happy thing to happen”?

I decided I was overthinking it and moved on. I actually skimmed most of what was going on, until we got to the History of Latin. We were given a basic history of language (Indo-European to be specific), and then given a basic explanation of literature in the Roman world, broken down into six eras, with the Golden Age having two sub-eras. Then I skimmed the bit on alphabet and pronunciation. You recite Latin like you’re doing a really bad, stereotypical Italian accent. It’s not that hard.


With each era, he gave examples of writers and works written. In the Augustan period of the Golden Age, he gives an example of Horace, and recites a couple of phrases coined by Horace that have been dropped into common vocabulary: Curiosa felicitas, carpe diem, and aurea mediocritas.

Maybe the first and third one were common in 1956? He translated those two as “painstaking felicity” and “the golden mean” respectively, in case you’re curious. He translated carpe diem as “enjoy the day.”

“Wait a second,” I said, “Carpe diem means ‘seize the day’. Everybody knows that.”

Seriously, what are the Latin phrases most people know? Et Cetera, Modus Operandus (MO), E pluribus unum, and carpe diem. It’s all over Dead Poet’s Society, that godawful movie I didn’t even care to finish. Motivational speakers say it all the freaking time. Carpe diem! It literally translates to “seize the day!” Or perhaps “pluck the day!” Or “steal the day!”

Mom asked me what the heck I was mumbling about. I said, “Wheelock translated it wrong. He thinks that carpe diem means ‘enjoy the day’.”

“Doesn’t it mean ‘seize the day’?” she asked.

Yes,” I said. “I mean, I guess I can kind of see where he’s coming from on that.”

“I can’t,” she said.

“But it literally translates to ‘seize the day’! Horace wrote it for a bunch of new recruits about to face their first battle — you don’t tell a bunch of new recruits to go enjoy the day! It’s still an order, but…”

“It’s not right,” she said. “You’re right to be upset. If he translated that wrong, what else did he get wrong?”

I checked the index in the back. Carpo, -ere, carpsi, carptum, harvest, pluck, seize

“They got it right in the back,” I said.

“Pluck the day!” Mom said. “I guess that’s not right. Pluck the chicken!”

I looked up chicken for her, and told her she meant “Carpe pullum.”

“Of course,” she said.

Posted December 20, 2011 by agentksilver in Latin

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Final Project: National Socialist Population Policy   Leave a comment


At the end of World War One, Germany was in bad shape. The so-called “Spirit of 1914” had been killed off by the time of the severe food shortages of 1916-1917’s “Turnip Winter,” and in November 1918-January 1919 the sailors and workers had a massive strike, and toppled the Kaiser. Germany had surrendered unconditionally to the Allied forces. Humiliated and near-starved, the Germans were forced to accept heavy disarmament, pay harsh reparations towards the victors, and cede several territories of German-speaking people to the Allies. The new German government, established in the town of Weimar, was considered weak and unable to cope with crisis.

Where a decade previously, a woman might stay home and raise three or four children, under these circumstances women entered the workforce sooner and stayed in the workforce, even after marriage. They had one or two children instead. In the years following World War One the population remained around the same level — a little over 60 million people.

When the Nazis rose to power in January-March of 1933, one of their strongest policies was population control. They wanted not only more Germans born, they wanted to ensure that it was the right Germans. They went about enforcing this policy three way: encouraging women to stay home and raise children; to separate the unwanted members of society, most notably the Jewish population; and to simply kill those they didn’t like.

Wordle: Hitler's Speech on Women

This is an excerpt of a speech given by Adolf Hitler, in which he gives his opinion on women’s involvement in politics, the military, and society. He expresses the view that a mother who properly educates her children does more for society than a working woman. The largest and therefore most-used word is obviously “woman”, followed by “want” and “children”. The word “mother” is smaller than I would have expected, while the word “work” is a lot larger. This implies that the speech focuses on the idea of motherhood as work.

Women and children cheering for Hitler in Triumph of the Will

The focus was to keep women in the home, not by making it difficult for her work outside the home, but to make it easy for her to stay at home. Women with children, whether married or not, received tax benefits and stipends from the government so she could focus on the children.

Movie Poster for "The Eternal Jew", an anti-Semitic Nazi Propaganda film made in 1940

But even while they worked to get true German children born and properly raised, they worked to get rid of the Jews, with their International Jewry and their outsider Jewishness. If you look at the first chart above, you can see how many Jews were actually in German society; their population amount is the blue line along the very bottom. About 12,000 Jewish men died for the German cause in World War One, and their overall population remained in the lower-mid 500,000s throughout the Weimar government years. Obviously they hoped to overwhelm true Germans through sheer numbers.

In the early years of Nazi campaigning, with their posters and through Adolf Hitler’s speeches, the Nazis made their anti-Semitic viewpoints clear. With Hitler’s appointment to Chancellorship in January 1933, 37,000 simply saw the writing on the wall and simply left.

If only

The Nazis first singled out the Jews in society. They claimed that all Jews had large noses and oddly-shaped left ears, so Jews had to keep their left ears exposed. They had to wear a yellow Star of David on the breast of all of their clothes, with the word JUDE stamped in the middle.

An original Star of David from that period

In September of 1935, the Nazis enacted a series of marriage laws, stipulating who could and could not marry each other. A person’s race was determined by their grandparents. If you had three or more Jewish grandparents, then you were Jewish. If you had two Jewish grandparents, you were half-Jewish. If you had one Jewish grandparent, you were full German, or Aryan, with a few clauses. If none of your grandparents were Jewish, you were full Germans and did not have to worry.

A full-blooded Aryan man could marry a full-blooded Aryan woman. If you were half-Jewish, you could only marry a full-blooded Aryan, and your marriage had to receive special dispensation from the state (if the woman was the half-Jew then there was less concern). If one of your grandparents was Jewish, then you could only marry a full-blooded Aryan with no Jewish ancestry, in the interest of ensuring that you assimilate fully into German society.

These laws also affected domestic workers. An Aryan woman under the age of 60 could not work in a Jewish household, and a Jewish woman could not find work in an Aryan household at all.

The Nazis also enacted a series of boycotts of Jewish stores and businesses in the early parts of the regime. These went either unnoticed by the general population, or caused more business for the Jewish businesses, as gentiles tried to show support for their Jewish neighbors. On August 9, 1938, a Jewish youth named Herschel Grynszpan assassinated a low-ranking German diplomat named Ernst von Rath. That night, Nazi Stormtroopers, dressed in civilian clothing, attacked Jewish businesses and synagogues all over greater Germany, breaking glass, looting, burning, and arresting any Jews or civilians who protested. They threw children out windows, and arrested business owners for the damage wrought to their own storefronts. The ferocity of the attacks became known as Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass. 30,000 Jews were arrested, most of them with some sort of prior record, even if the record was a simple traffic ticket.

On January 20, 1942, Nazi officials came up with their own Final Solution to the Jewish Question. They had already forced the remaining Jews to live in ghettos, walled off from the rest of the country. They had executed thousands of Jews already, leading them to the countryside, forcing them to dig pits, then having them strip completely naked and then turned machine guns on the prisoners. This did not have the effect they wanted; this was a huge waste of time and money, and it turns out that Jews, when forced to dig their own graves, strip naked, and face their own deaths, tend to look like miserable, starved human beings attempting to die with dignity, or just simply cried. Mothers would cradle their children, men would comfort their family, little old ladies would comfort the young ones.

And so the Nazis created death camps. They did not tell the Jews where they were going; they simply told the Jewish leaders that they were going away, and the Jews themselves decided that they were going to a forced labor camp, and told their fellow Jews to pack accordingly. The map above shows all of the concentration and execution camps in the immediate German area, as well as the famous Auschwitz-Birkenau near Krakow, Poland, and a camp in Belgium. Other than the camp in Belgium, you’ll notice that all of the camps are towards the eastern side of Germany. Eastern Germany had less people overall, and was a more rural, agricultural area. There were certainly towns and people living near these facilities, but the fact that these camps were kept away from most of the population of Germany certainly tells a story on its own.

Healthy Family -- Healthy Children!

Jews were certainly the largest population persecuted by the Nazis, but there were others in the 6,000,000 eventually executed. Political prisoners made up a large population of the prisons. Gypsies, or Roma, were round up and executed, around 250,000 in all. It’s difficult to say how much of an effect this had on the overall Roma population, as their nomadic lifestyle prevented a true census from taking place. Around 50,000 homosexual males were also executed. Because they refused to have sex with a woman, they could not be fathers, and therefore had no place in Nazi society. Homosexual women were not persecuted, as they were still capable of bearing children and raising them.

Were the Nazis successful in their attempts to control the population? Yes. Starting from Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933, to the start of the Soviet counter-invasion in the fall of 1943, the general German population rose from the flat 60 million to 80 million people — that’s a rise of 2 million people each year. In that same time period, the Jewish population dropped from 523,000 to 20,000 people. By April 1945, as Soviet tanks rolled in and American planes fired into Berlin daily, as Adolf Hitler swore that the German people had failed him and that they were going to die with him, the population of Germany had fallen again to around 65 million people. The population, their numbers and hopes, had risen with Hitler; and now they were going to fall again.

In 2010 the population of Germany had risen again to around 81 million people, with 119,000 of them being Jewish. Hitler, and the rest of the Nazis, were wrong about the German people failing without them. The Germans and the Jews live on.

Posted December 16, 2011 by agentksilver in Digital IT

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And we have a map!   Leave a comment

Technically I already had a map, but this is a map that’s related to my new topic. Consider this a rough draft, as I need to edit the names and add a little bit of background information to each dot. But. I pretty much made a map of Nazi concentration camps because I couldn’t think of any other thing to make a map of. I was surprised to see a story in there. Notice that, other than the one camp in Belgium, all the ticks are in Eastern Germany — the more rural, less-developed part of Germany. Farther away from people and civilization. I’m not saying no one saw these camps — lots did — but less people saw these camps than if they had been situated more evenly across Germany.

Posted December 6, 2011 by agentksilver in Digital IT

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Let’s see how this works   Leave a comment

Wordle: Hitler's Speech on Women

I don’t have Java downloaded. It keeps saying it’s downloading and it keeps lying to me! But hopefully this wordle works. This is an excerpt of a speech Hitler gave about women. If you look up “Hitler’s speech on women” this is what always comes up. I’m hoping to incorporate this into my final project.

Posted December 5, 2011 by agentksilver in Digital IT

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I’m doing reading for my History of Germany class, and found an interesting quote:

“Historical quality is a mysterious quality, even when looking backward to find it, much less looking forward to predict it. I do not claim to have a well-developed definition, much less a theory. I would suggest, though, that historical significance arises from a connection between the historical content and the context of the topic or theme of theme or study, on one hand, and, on the other hand, the structural characteristics of its history. (Wehler’s structural elements include, for example, size, failure, and dependence) An historical subject will gain “shelf space” and “shelf life” if its substance, context, and structure conjoin to the capture the attention of (enough) historians and provide (enough) evidence to allow scholars to apply methods of historical analysis and interpretation. If their research constructs an interesting, well-supported story and a persuasive interpretation, then it will attract the wider attention of the discipline and might (a big caveat) grab the attention of a wider public, and could (an even bigger caveat) stand the test of time, thus winning the subject a place in the annals of longer-term historical significance.”

–Donna Harsch, Footnote or Footprint? The German Democratic Republic in History, pg. 12-13

I found this to be really interesting on its own. How do we judge historical significance? I get asked that all the time, by people saying, “How will people judge X?” The latest was my boyfriend asking, “How will they judge the Cold War? There was no bloodshed, only Asian proxy wars. Will they still be aware of the Cold War 500 years from now? Will they think of this time as a century of war?”

In case you’re wondering, I replied, “Well how do we judge the rivalry of France and Britain today? It’s still pretty significant. The United States and Russia are rivals, now and who knows how long. It had a huge affect on international politics.” He seemed satisfied with that answer.

I’ve also been trying to decide what I should do with this blog once this semester is over. I have a personal blog already, and I cover my school life in there. But this blog has entries, like multiple entries wow. And it has my name on it. I shouldn’t just abandon something with my name on it.

I’m thinking about re-teaching myself Latin grammar over the spring and summer, to get ready for Latin 202 in the fall. Maybe I’ll track my progress here.

Are you guys thinking about updating your blogs once the semester is over? If so, with what? And what classes are you taking next semester? I think I’m set with this:

History of Trad China MW 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm
The Roman Empire TR 10:30 am – 11:45 am
History of Animation T 1:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Introductory Geology II TR 5:55 pm – 7:10 pm
Lab for Lectures 001-002 W 4:30 pm – 7:10 pm

Are any of you in the same classes? We could be study buddies!

Posted December 2, 2011 by agentksilver in Personal

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