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Languages & Linguistics

I am passionate about the way language works. I am learning 4 different languages in 3 language families (Germanic, Semitic, and Romantic). I also love learning about linguistics and solving linguistics puzzles, and have taken the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) twice.

Languages: Text


Selected Translations

Livy's The History of Rome XXI.4.1-35.12, excerpts.


The nature and character of Hannibal

Hannibal was sent into Spain where upon his first arrival immediately all the army was attracted to him: the veterans (of the First Punic War) believed that Hamilcar Barca had been restored to them in his youth; they beheld his own vigor in his face and vim in his eyes, his own expression and facial features. Then he soon brought about that his similarity to his father was the least important to win favor. Never was there the same talent more handy in diverse things, he was skillful with obedience and command. Thus one could not have easily seen whether he was more beloved to the general or to the army; there was not another whom Hasdrubal preferred to put in command, whenever anything must be done boldly and vigorously, nor were there soldiers with more confidence or courage having another leader. He entered upon dangers with the greatest courage, he had the greatest judgement when among dangers themselves. No work was able to tire his body or conquer his spirit. He was equally able to endure heat and coldness; his desire of eating and drinking was determined by natural desire, not pleasure; his times of wakefulness and sleep were not separated by day or night: what time remained when his business was done was given to rest; which he did not induce with a soft bed or silence; often he was seen by many men lying on the ground covered by a soldier’s cloak among the soldiers and outposts. His clothing was not distinguished among his comrades; but his arms and horses were conspicuous. Of knights and of foot soldiers he was boundlessly the first: the foremost entering into a battle, the last to withdraw when the battle had engaged. These remarkable qualities of the man were equaled by his vices: his cruelty was inhuman, his treachery greater than Punic, he had nothing for sanction, no fear of the gods, no respect for oaths, no religion. With this innate character of virtues and vices he served as a soldier for three years under the emperor Hasdrubal, overlooking nothing which should be done and seen one who was about to be a great leader.

In crossing the Alps Hannibal’s army suffers from both the cold and the hostility of the natives

Hannibal reached the Alps from the Durance the journey mainly like a field with the good will of the Gauls inhabiting those places. Then, though the rumor had been anticipated, nevertheless close at hand the vision of the height of the mountains and the snow mixed with the sky, formless roofs put on rocks, cattle and mules parched by the cold, men unshaven and unkempt, animals and lifeless things all frozen by the cold, the rest more atrocious to sight than to be said, restored the terror. To those marching on the first slopes the mountaineers appeared posted on the threatening hilltops. Hannibal ordered them to set up the standards; and the Gauls were sent ahead to see the places, after he had learned that there was not passage, he placed his camp in the largest possible valley among precipices. The next day pretending to have consumed something other than what was prepared, where he first felt that the mountainous mounds had descended and the guards had been relaxed, he himself with his light-armed soldiers, and each man very keen, quickly marched up to the narrow passes and encamped on the mounds, which the enemies themselves held. Then at the first light the camp was moved, and the rest of the army began to advance. Now the mountaineers, having been given a sign, were meeting from the fort to their usual outpost, when suddenly they saw some of their own occupied fortresses seized over their heads, others of the enemies crossing by the road; they ran along different cliffs, near the roads and detours they were accustomed to. Then truly at the same time, the Carthaginians were attacked by the enemies and at the same time by the iniquity of the land and more among themselves, each tending to himself so that he might be the first to escape the danger, than to fight with the enemies. The horses agitated in terror made a great danger to the army with their discordant clamor which the woods and the re-echoing of valleys increased, and perhaps those struck or wounded were so shocked that they made a great slaughter at the same time of the men and baggage of all types; and many were thrown into confusion, and when there was a precipitous and steep narrow passage on both sides, he threw them into an immense depth; but, in the manner of a falling building, the beasts of burden fell with their loads. Although all these things were beastly to see, Hannibal stood firm for a little while and kept his own men safe and did not increase confusion and fear. But in a moment the commotion settled, after the escape paths of the mountaineers were absolved. Thereupon he seized the fort, which was the principal town of its region, and the hamlets and the army was fed captured food and cattle through a period of three days.

Having passed the summit of the alps, Hannibal shows his men the Po Valley spreading southward.

On the ninth day they arrived at a yoke of the Alps through both very many impassable things and detours. For two days a stationary camp was made on the ridge, and rest was given to the soldiers tired of work and fighting; and a few beasts of burden, which had collapsed on the rocks, followed the footsteps to arrive at the camp. Exhausted by the weariness of so much evil, also now snowfall, in the fall of the constellation of the Pleiades, much terror increased. When during this the snowfall covered everything, at the first light the battle standard was moved, the army advanced sluggishly, and the disinclination and hopelessness in all the faces was conspicuous, Hannibal having surpassed the battle standard in the promontory, from where he had a long and wide view, ordered his soldiers to stop and showed them Italy and plains found at the foot of the Alps, and then [ordered them] to go over the fortifications not merely of Italy but also of Rome: the rest would be downhill and easy; by one battle or the other they would have the hilltop and the principal town of Italy in their hands and power. Then the army began to proceed, the enemy not even trying anything at all, besides the raids of small things as the opportunity arose. But the journey was much more difficult, than it was in the ascent. For almost all the roads were steep, narrow, and slippery that they could not support themselves from falling.


Horace's Odes 2.14, 2.15, 3.30



Alas, Postumus, O Postumus, swift

Years slip and responsibility cannot cause delay

In wrinkles and approaching old age

and fierce death,

Not even if however many days go by,

Friend, you may appease unlamented

Pluto with 300 bulls at a time, he who restrains three times

Large Geryon and Tityos with the gloomy

Waves, which certainly must be sailed by all

With whoever enjoys an offering of land

Whether we might be kings or poor farmers.

For no purpose we will be without bloodthirsty Mars

And the shattered waves of the hoarse Adriatic (sea),

For no purpose we will dread in Autumn

The south wind harmful to bodies:

The deadly Cocytus (river) wandering

With a faint stream and the notorious house

Of Danaus  and Sisyphus Aeolides

Condemned to boundless labor.

Your country and house and pleasing wife

Must be left, and nor will any of these trees

Which you watch over accompany you,

A short-lived owner, besides the detested cypresses;

Your very worthy heir will waste your Caecuban wine

Protected by a hundred keys and he will wet

The pavement with arrogant wine,

More entitled than the dinner of the high priest.


The sailor caught in the open Aegean sea asks

The gods for spare time, likewise a terrible cloud

Conceals the moon and the certain stars

Do not shine for sailors;

A Thracian angry from war (asks for) spare time,

The Parthians adorned with the quiver (ask for) spare time,

Grosphus, not for sale for gems

Nor purple nor gold.

Indeed neither wealth nor the lictor

Of a consul drives away the miserable commotion

Of the mind and the cares flying around

The paneled ceiling.

He lives well with little, on whose thin

Table an ancestral salt-cellar gleams

And for whom dirty fear and longing

Do not snatch away light sleep.

Why do we shoot for many things

Strong for a short time? Why do we switch lands

Driven for another sun? What person banished from the fatherland

Flees himself?

Vicious anxiety mounts ships with bronze fittings

And does not leave the knights behind,

Faster than deer and swifter than the rainstorms

Urged by the east wind.

Let the mind happy in the present hate

To worry about what is on beyond and let it combine

Bitterness with pliant laughter: nothing is beautiful  

From every part.

Swift death swept away famous Achilles,

Boundless old age wasted away the powers of Tithonus,

And perhaps, time will extend to me,

What it has denied to you.

One hundred flocks and Sicilian cows bellow

Around you, the mare fit for the chariot

Neighs for you, the fleece colored twice with

African purple dye

Clothes you; not deceitful Fate has given me

A small farm and the slight inspiration of the Greek Muse

Has allowed me to scorn

The spiteful common people.


I have finished a monument more eternal than gold

And higher than the royal layout of the pyramids,

Which neither greedy rain, nor the wild north wind

Is able to demolish nor countless

Series of years and flight of time

I will not entirely die and many parts of me

Will avoid Libitina; I will perpetually thrive

Fresh with subsequent praise, while a high priest

Will climb over Capitoline Hill with a silent young woman.

I might be named where the violent Aufidus roars and

Where Danaus poor in the river reigned over

A rustic people, strong from lowliness

The first to have brought Aeolian song

To Italian ways. Accept the proud

Triumph acquired by your merits and

With the Delphic laurel, O Melpomene, willingly encircle my hair.


Ovid's Metamorphoses 8.183-259


Daedalus constructs wings for himself and his son Icarus

Meanwhile Daedalus loathing Crete and his boundless

Exile, and having been touched by the love of his birthplace,

Had been shut in by the sea. “Although,” he said, “he may block the lands and

Waves, and surely the sky will be open; we will go by that route!

Although he may possess everything, Minos does not possess the air.”

He said this and let his mind go into an unknown craft,

And he changes his nature. For he set things in a row,

Beginning with small feathers, and briefly following this long ones,

In such a way that there was a slope (like this a rustic pipe from ancient

Times rose gradually with unequal reeds);

Then he ties the middle with linen and the ends with wax,

And thus bends the feathers prepared in this way with a small curve,

In order to imitate a real bird. The boy Icarus stood

Together with his father and, unaware of the dangers he would drag himself into,

With his face beaming, reached for his feathers, which the wandering wind

Had moved, but only skimming over the golden wax with

His thumb, and he was hindering the miraculous work of his father

With his own playing. After the finishing touch had begun

To be put on, the workman balanced the twin wings onto

His own body and setting him in motion balanced him out in the wind.

Daedalus instructs and warns Icarus

And he instructed   his son, “Fly quickly in the middle” and “so that you might stay on the path,

Icarus,” he said, “I warn you, lest, if you will go too low,

The waves will weigh the feathers down, and if you go too high, they may be burnt by fire:

Fly between these two. And I order you not to look at the Plowman

Or the Great Bear and the drawn sword of Orion:

I will lead, seize the road!” At the same time he delivers

The command to fly and adjusted the unknown wings on his shoulders.

Amid the work and warnings the old cheeks of the man became wet,

And the hands of the father trembled; he gave his son kisses

Which would not be given again to him, and having been raised by the feathers

He flew before and feared for his companion, just as birds lead

Their tender offspring into the air from a high nest,

He encourages him to follow, and teaches him the dangerous arts,

And he himself moves his own wings and looks back at the wings of his son.

Someone, while catching a fish with a shaking rod,

Or a shepherd leaning on his staff or plowman leaning on the handle of his plow

Saw this and was amazed, whichever men were able to seize the sky,

They believed them to be gods.

Icarus’ youthful impetuosity precipitates his destruction

And now on the left side

Samos sacred to Juno (Delos and Paros had been left behind),

And on the right side was Lebinthos and Calymne rich with honey,

When the boy began to boldly enjoy his flight

And he abandoned his leader having been dragged with the love of the sky

And he journeyed higher. The rapid vicinity of the sun

Had softened the fragrant wax, the bonds of the feathers.

The wax had melted; he shook his arms stripped,

And without his wings he did not catch any breeze,

His mouth crying the name of his father

Is captured by the blue water, which drew its name from him.

But his unfortunate father, now not a father, said “Icarus,”

“Icarus,” he said, “where are you? In what direction should I seek you?”

“Icarus,” he was saying. He saw feathers on the waves,

And he cursed his own work, and put the body into a

Tomb; and the land is called by the name of the buried child.


Languages: About

National Latin Exam (NLE)

In 2021, I won a gold metal and summa cum laude award in the beginner division.

In 2022, I won a silver metal and magna cum laude award in the intermediate division

Languages: List
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