Posts Tagged ‘The American movie’

Fabula Ex Defecta Latinitate

Friday, March 4th, ©2011 Marcus Brooks
Insignia with sword and Latin text Da Mihi Basia Mille

A Rousing Motto From Catullus
(Not Clooney's Tattoo, But Similar)

I’m watching The American (2010) on a Netflix DVD, and I had to look up the motto on Clooney’s tattoo: EX GLADIO EQUITAS.

The Net consensus seems to be that, no, it isn’t a real U.S. military unit motto, and it means “from the sword, justice.” The movie is several months old; things should have settled down. Right?

But it didn’t look right to me. True, I never did well in Latin class, and it was a long time ago, but I’ve got the Internet to help me. Here’s what I think (dum spiro, spero):

No, EX GLADIO EQUITAS isn’t a real U.S. military unit motto. (But frankly, how would I know?)

What this fake motto actually means, best as I can tell, is something Mr. Dubois (my HS Latin teacher) would find much more dulce et decorum: “Ride (a horse) away from the sword!”

Tee hee. I sure hope that’s a fake tattoo.

Now, if it said, “ex gladio, aequitas,” that would be more like it. What do you think; is Clooney kidding us?

But like I said, I’m not too hot in Latin. No kidding, in four or five semesters I might’ve pulled out a D or three. Caveat lector. Da mihi basia mille. Noster gallus est mortuus. Prope mare erat tubulator. O! Sibili, si ergo

(And in Greek I was last in my class—last to quit!)