From: British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of John Clark <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 19 October 2015 12:00
>I'm not sure that modern writers' or film-makers' concepts of ancient 'bad language' are reliable! The content and nature of 'swearing' certainly seems to >have changed over time. See Geoffrey Hughes' book _Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English_ or even Robert Graves >_Lars Porsena: On the Future of Swearing_ .
The passage in 'The Last Legion' looks like plausible (5th c.) Latin (though I'm still not quoting it here :-)
I was also forgetting possibly the most famous military quote from antiquity: In response to the Persian emissary's request that Leonidas and his 300 Spartans 'lay down their weapons and surrender', his reply is usually translated as 'Come and take them!" Though the original Greek doesn't quite mean that. If you listen to what Demi Moore says to her bullying instructor in G.I. Jane, then that's the same thing. No wonder poor Richard Egan in 1962's The 300 Spartans looks embarrassed when he says it...
>The man Shakespeare called a 'scurvy whoreson rogue' would probably be called a 'f***ing c***' today.
Well I don't know why Shakespeare couldn't just have said 'flaming clot', then, and be done with it...