Dear Maria,

Not a question but I thought you might like to see how I have incorporated your translation into my novel. You will see I have taken the second one with “tredecim” since probably not many people will know how to read Latin numerals.

Agnese is the Vestal at Lanuvium, Meri at Lavinium.

Thanks again and all the best,


“How are you, Meri?” she asked. “You are continuing to take precautions, aren’t you?”
“Sure, Agné, she said, the urchin’s grin appearing again. “Anyone wants to ride bareback, they have to find another filly. Anyway, I’m just doing enough not to stand out – you can’t have a whore on the road who never goes into the woods!”
Agnese looked at her thoughtfully, said: “I have never asked you before but … do you mind?”
Meri started to laugh and was about to say, “Born to shag!” but Agnese was regarding her with real concern so Meri changed direction: “Agné, come on! You know what my prophesy says.” She looked at Agnese, who, rightly interpreting the look as a challenge, recited, “The corrupt will find solace at the thirteen altars.”
“The corrupt will seek solace at the thirteen altars,” corrected Meri triumphantly. “Solacium apud tredecim aras petet....homo perditus”. So, what else could we have done? Set up a tent in the field next to the altars?”  Agnese was frowning slightly. “Besides,” Meri went on since she had had enough of downers for one day, “Look at this body, these breasts! I am a goddess of love and it’s my duty to spread it about – so everyone wins. Or no?”
Agnese smiled at that – Meri really was impossible – and went to fetch a bowl of green  salad to add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Her eyes were on the bowl as she took up the wooden servers and mixed everything together. She had news to impart and Meri repeating the prophesy now made her realize its possible relevance.
“Elvira called,” she said, briefly looking up.
“She did?” Meri exclaimed, relieved that the heavy part was over. “What did the old bat have to say for herself – more news from the oak leaves?”
Agnese smiled again, though Meri was being unfair: Elvira, the Vestal in Cuma, was neither “an old bat” nor tiresomely obsessed with the past.
“This was something different,” she said after a moment. She brought the bowl of salad to the table, sat down and then, with a tiny shake of the head in self-reproof, got up again to fetch clean plates from the dresser. “At least, not so much different as … Meri, I do not know. But you have reminded me of your prophesy and … the word for ‘corrupt’ is definitely masculine, is it?”
“Homo perditus,” Meri repeated and since she could not resist showing off. “Straight from Cicero, the man himself.” She knew Agnese would have no idea what she was talking about but hoped her grandmother* was listening wherever she might be.

(*Meri’s grandmother insisted she learn Latin since “I won’t always be around to translate for you”.)

Dear Joanna,

I thank you very much for sending me the passage of your novel where you have incorporated the Latin phrase that you had asked me a fortnight ago.

Hope that your novel may have a great success.

Wishing you all the best,



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I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.


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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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