AVARITIA BONA EST – THE NEW PHILADELPHIA SOCCER FRANCHISE TRIES TO SPEAK LATIN—AND GETS IT WRONG, OF COURSE….

With great fanfare, the organizers of the new MLS Soccer Franchise for Philadelphia unveiled their team logo on Monday of this week, an event which was duly reported in the various sports pages of the local newspapers.

The organization which is promoting the new soccer franchise appears to be a group of overweight, entirely male surburban white men, who have absolutely nothing to do, and who have organized themselves into an organization for the promotion of professional soccer in the Delaware Valley/Philadelphia/South Jersey area, known as the “Sons of Ben.”

I only mention this parenthetically, because as it well known, most people who attend soccer games are world/ethnic—they are Latino, Italian, Greek, Caribe’, whatever—anything but white suburbanites.

If these fat white suburban guys driving SUVs buy season tickets to professional soccer, I’d be greatly surprised—and if they do show up, they’ll find a league composed almost entirely of foreign players, for the most part, with a few Americans sprinkled in for show.

Not to mention a stadium full of ethnic segments waving various flags of different countries for their favorite players from those countries, whether it’s Brazil, Germany, Greece, Holland or wherever.

It won’t be the U.S. Flag, I know that.

The Beckham experiment in LA is pretty much par for the course, except that it proved that MLS soccer is so far below the standards of English Premier League, that a guy like Beckham isn’t worth having on your team—it’s like playing Alex Rodriguez in sandlot ball. He doesn’t really help you because people just pitch around him, since all your other players are awful.

Let’s get to the awful LATIN. The logo for the new team is as follows:

PHILADELPHIA UNION
(Picture of Snake)
Jungite aut Perite

see also, the team’s new website,

http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/

which also displays the mistaken latin phrase “Jungite et Perite.”

The organizers assured the press conference that the snake and the latin phrase “Jungite aut Perite” were taken directly from the Newspapers of Benjamin Franklin, and that the phrase means “Join or Die,” and the snake represents the Join or Die emblem employed during the times of the American Revolution.

Ok, except for one huge problem. As Henry Beard, author of “Latin for Even More Occasions” (Villard Books, NY, 1991), states at p. 111 of his very humorous book,

“CONSONANTS….”

“J, W AND Y don’t exist in Latin.”

Beard, Id. at p. 111.

There is no letter “J” in the Latin language.

I believe what the Sons of Ben meant to say was the following:

“IUNGITE AUT PERITE.”

Latin for All Occasions by Henry Beard
Latin for All Occasions by Henry Beard

As is well known to those of us who have either studied the arcana of the Latin language for several years (I won the Latin Prize at Haverford School) (twice, actually) (now I’m just showing off) (thanks to Steve Dall, by the way, a great Latin teacher), or have gone to Catholic School and been forced to take Latin,

THERE IS NO J W OR Y in the Latin alphabet.

The letter J is approximated by the vowel combination “IU” as in “Iuno,” “Iuvenal,” and so forth.

Thus, there actually was no “Julius Caesar.” His name was “Caius Iulius Caii filius Caii nepos Caesar Imperator” (see wikipedia article on “Julius Caesar”) meaning “Gaius Julius Caesar, son of Gaius, grandson of Gaius, Imperator”. See? No “J”.

Gaius Iuilius Caesar
Gaius Iuilius Caesar

Thus, in Latin, there would be no “Dr. J”, only a Dr. “Iulius”

And you couldn’t jam the ball, you could only “iuam” the ball.

anyway, I think you get the fundamental point–there is no “j” in latin, either in the alphabet or in the everyday usage of the language. All of the “J”s you see in modern day latin (as when you see “Julius Caesar”) are added as approximations to the ancient lation usage of “Iu” for “J” which is the proper latin.

Now let’s see if the “Sons of Ben” (none of whom claim any actual lineage from Ben Franklin) actually know their Latin:

Iungite, “Join!”, is the plural imperative form of iungo, with principal parts iungere, iunxi, iunctum, “I join” (from which we get many english cognate words such as “conjunction” or “injunction”). The imperatives are “iunge”, join!, singular, addressed to one person, and “iungite”, join!, addressed to two or more persons. (See J. Wohlberb, 201 Latin Verbs, Barrons, NY, 1964, at pp. 94 & 63, the verbs “iungo” and “eo”) (see infra).

See? No “J” in “Iungite”. “Jungite” is just plain WRONG. The proper word is “IUNGITE”. That would be RIGHT.

Are these guys morons or what? Maybe they should try speaking latin in a Latin American soccer league! (I shudder to think what their spanish or italian is like).

Clearly, no matter how much money the Sons of Ben spent on their advertising, logo and presentation budget, it wasn’t enough.

I, along with numerous others like Victor Davis Hanson, have been lamenting the deconstruction and utter loss of the classics, e.g. the loss of the required learning of Latin and Greek for many years now; here is a pertinent example of WHY everyone should known Latin and Greek.

End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson
End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson

It is completely embarrassing that a major sports team should hold a press conference, insert a logo on their press team that draws from the Latin language, and then GET IT WRONG, when simple fact checking with a high school latin teacher could have straightened them out.

Here was an opportunity to show lots of schoolchildren that latin still matters–but the growups get it wrong. how embarassing.

On the rest of the slogan, they’re ok—aut means “or,” and “perite” is the plural imperative of “per-eo”—I kill—the root verb being “eo, ire, ii or ivi, itum,” with imperatives “I and ite” singular and plural—you just add per- in front of those to get “per-ite.” (201 Latin Verbs, id., cited supra, p. 63).

I guess I conclude here with a translation of the title of this piece, which was supplied by Mr. Beard—”avaritia bona est” can roughly be translated as “greed is good.” (The slogan from “Wall Street”, 1980s, Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas). (see Beard, id. at p. 14).

Here some other great latin sayings from Beard (id. at p. 24):

Tu, rattus turpis! –
You dirty rat! (Jimmy Cagney)

Ei fer condicionem quam non potest repudiare –
Make him an offer he can’t refuse – Vito Corleone, the Godfather (Marlon Brando)

Age. Fac ut gaudeam. –
Go ahead. Make my day. Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood).

Fuit mulier quae me potare egit. Nunquam steti gradum ad ei gratias agendas. –
It was a woman who drove me to drink. I never stopped to thank her. (W.C. Fields).

Fasciculum nicotianum fumificum meum quoque amo, sed aliquando eum de ore extraho. –
I like my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while. (Groucho Marx).

See you all in remedial Latin class!

Art Kyriazis, philly/south jersey
Home of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies

16 Comments

  1. Are you really such a blowhard in person, or is this a persona that you adopt to increase the responses to your posts?

    It would almost be worth meeting you in person if you were truly like this all the time–egregiously pretentious to the point of hilarity.

    I only post to ask that you include a source that verifies that the Philadelphia Union removed “Jungite aut Perite” from their promotional material. A quick search on their website shows that they still claim it as part of their secondary logo, just as it was back when you wrote this blog post.

    http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/club/history

  2. Since years have passed since this most eloquent and haughty post was written, I’m sure the author is very surprised at the popularity of the Union. We (my white self, my white husband and my white son) attended yet another sold-out game in the pouring rain this past Saturday night.

    How do you say “pompous ass” in latin?

    1. The post does not dispute the popularity of the Union or of soccer. I played soccer for six years in prep school, specifically at Haverford School, where we were undefeated InterAc Champs for three years straight my 10th-senior grade years (that’s !Vth, Vth and VIth forms, for those of you who didn’t go to prep school). Our entire starting lineup was admitted to Princeton two years running, we were so good at soccer.

      However, since I was also the Latin Prize winner, twice, I could not help but note that the PR Agency for the Union had made an error in putting a “J” into the slogan, since there is no J in Latin.

      I and my boys (and daughter) go to soccer a lot. both women’s a mens pro soccer. The Union, however, has made some other errors. They reneged on their deal to build a supermarket for Chester, PA, and they are embroiled in some controversies with the new administration, because it’s pretty obvious they cut deals with the Republican city government and were taken by surprise when the Democrats won, and the new city government wanted to renegotiate everything.

      The parking situation is not very good at the stadium due to the bad town-gown relations, and the stadium has a very limited food menu.

      Frankly, the team would have been better off just leasing to play in the Eagles stadium at the Linc. Building a stadium in Chester, PA when there was an existing stadium at the Linc which is only used a few days a year, and which could have been used all summer for soccer, seems silly.

      Also, the Linc has way more capacity. Now that the Union’s Chester facility sells out, the Union is losing money by not having the Linc as their home park.

      Finally, the parking situation is MUCH better at the Linc, and the food and seating is much better at the Linc. As are the massive TV screens and replay facilities at the Linc. And the luxury boxes.

      As for this post being haughty, the team removed the slogan after this post was written. There is no mention of “Jungite et Perite” anywhere in the Union’s promotional materials anymore. The materials were removed in direct response to this blog, which is read by a number of beat writers and others who matter. Including all my harvard friends over at the NYT.

    2. there is a more recent point to make. In the league in which the Union play, there is no individual team ownership. The league owns all teams and players in common.

      if you buy a team, you are just investing as a shareholder in the league. The league makes decisions financially.

      Thus it makes no difference if the Philadelphia Union is or is not successful. The League owns them.

      Moreover, they are in litigation with the rival pro soccer league, which actually has independently owned teams, e.g. the Tampa Bay Rowdies. That league is a real league.

      Finally, the Union hasnt paved the parking lot, hasn’t finished all of the stadium, has reneged on its promises to Chester to build a shopping center and other community buildings as part of their developer obligations in exchange for their tax breaks, and have in general run the Union with indifference to the poor people of Chester.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s