March 05, 2011


This blog project is on hiatus, but to find out the latest goings-on in the world of the Bestiaria Latina, visit the Round-Up blog. :-)

I have also disabled comments due to an onslaught of spam, including spam by "people" with Google accounts (scary!) - I'll turn comments back on in a week or so after the bots have gone elsewhere.

March 01, 2011

Libri quosdam ad scientiam, quosdam ad insaniam deduxere

Recording also available at iPadio using this link.

Today's saying is Libri quosdam ad scientiam, quosdam ad insaniam deduxere. In English: "Books have led some to knowledge, and others they have led to madness."

I've posted some proverbs in praise of books already this week, and I will continue to post more proverbs in praise of books in the future, yet I wanted to include this saying too, which warns us that not all books are inherently good. A book is a tool and, like any tool, it can be used for good or ill. Just because something is printed in a book does not mean it is reliable; if you read a book, that does not mean you will gain knowledge from it. Just the opposite might happen. I have found it odd in recent years that people rail against the Internet for its lack of reliability when there are plenty of crazy books in print, too, and always have been. Readers need to be discerning both in print and online. This proverb warns us that just as all food is not good for you just because it is for sale in the grocery store, all books are not good for you just because you can buy a copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

This quote comes from an absolutely marvelous dialogue by the great Italian scholar and poet, Petrarch. For the Latin dialogue, along with an English translation, see this post from the marvelous blog Laudator Temporis Acti.

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

Librī quōsdam ad scientiam, quōsdam ad insāniam dēdūxēre.