KFO, Time Traveler

Roman Banquet
Mosaic depicting Roman hunting party and banquet from Late Roman Villa in Sicily

I have had a recurring fantasy that I am transported through time and space and find myself in what appears to be ancient Rome (or some other town in Roman Italy). My first thought is “How cool is this! I have so much to learn here and I can tell them about world geography, technology, medicine, and Christianity (the latter may or may not be news depending on what year it is).” My second thought is, “Rats! The only Latin I know comes from reading the headings on the Psalms, hardly a solid foundation. I wish I had one of the Scholars Online teachers or students with me.” Lacking facility in Latin makes it not unlikely that I will be misunderstood, dismissed as a madman, or even persecuted or enslaved as a suspicious barbarian.

This scenario could be an interesting thing to act out. The chat is not a good platform for that because it renews every day, but I hope this blog will work better because it remains in place and has a comment feature. Would anyone like to play along? If you have facility in Latin, more than a couple of years, you could be a local Roman; if your Latin is rudimentary like mine, you can join me as a time traveler. Of course, the local Romans will have no idea at first who we are or why our language skills are so poor. I would expect them to respond in fluent Latin. Remember that before long I (and other time travelers) are going to get hungry and interested in a place to stay for the night.

To play this game, post comments below. I suggest that comments include your identity (time traveler or Roman), what you want to say in Latin, and any further explanatory comments in square brackets, as follows:

Time Traveler Karl: Salve! [I pronounce it “sol-way.”] Nomen meus Carolus est! [I point to myself to illustrate that I am introducing myself.]

By Karl Oles

Seattle attorney, teacher of philosophy


  1. Salve, peregrine. Mihi nomen Brutus est. Quomodo et quando et quibus ab oris huc advenisti? Nam credo tibi linguam Latinam non omnino facilem esse.

  2. Salve Brutus! [I wish I had a phone with a translation app, but the internet won’t be invented for 2000 years.] Ubi nostrum? Roma? Italia? Gallia?

  3. In Roma sumus, ut credo. Ecce Forum Romanum. Est totius mundi centrum.

  4. [Looking around, I can see that the city appears to be built largely of stone and I recall this happened under Augustus and even more so after the big fire under Nero. So I’m guessing that we are well into the A.D. years.]
    Magnifica! Qui Caesar est? Augustus? Tiberias? Gaius? Claudius? Nero? Vespasianus? Titus?
    [And I’m getting thirsty] Vino habet? [pointing to mouth]

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