The Latin Revival Starts With Mars Image Captions

By Gary Cutlack on at

A group of volunteers is attempting to bring the language of Latin back to the masses, by offering translated captions of Nasa's photos of Mars in the wording favoured by historians, posh people and the Pope.

There are two outlets now boasting descriptions of Nasa's high-resolution Martian imagery in Latin, the Beautiful Mars Latin Tumblr page and the HiRISELatin Twitter account, with the latter offering such useful descriptions as "Terra possibilis itinere glaciei eroda," which seems easy enough to roughly translate. Something about eroded glaciers. Possibly.

Apparently some debate has been had as to the exact form of the old language to use, with Latin nerds having to decide whether to use the more classical hardcore or accessible and simplified version of the language.

Dr Lorna Robinson, of UK Latin initiative the Iris Project, explained some troubles over use of the word "possible," pointing out that: "We went for 'possibilis' -- which means 'possible' but in terms of classical Latin it wasn't really used in the way we use it." [BBC]