Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Pactio Olisipiensis

Daniel Hannan is a right-wing British member of the European Parliament who has taken to ending speeches in plenary sessions with a Latin-sounding phrase initially unidentified but now revealed as Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est ("the Lisbon Treaty must be put to a vote") echoing Cato the Elder who is said to have ended his speeches in the Roman senate with Carthago delenda est ("Carthage must be destroyed") - and who ultimately got what he wanted.

Unlike his latter-day emulator, of course, Cato was speaking in the vernacular. And he was not being interpreted simultaneously into 21 other languages.

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