1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Latin
  4. >
  5. "Fortasse psittaci ebrii hast…

"Fortasse psittaci ebrii hastas contorquent."

Translation:Perhaps the drunk parrots hurl spears.

September 4, 2019



I'm imagining that these sentences all fit together somehow to tell a story.

  • Bacchus and the parrots drink wine.
  • (a spear gets thrown at Jupiter)
  • Jupiter throws thunderbolts.
  • Bacchus: "Don't throw the thunderbolt!"
  • (Jupiter accuses Bacchus.)
  • Bacchus: "Perhaps the drunk parrots hurl spears."
  • a watching soothsayer: "Perhaps the gods aren't wise."

I can't wait to see the whole story.


please, clintack, write the whole story for us


But why on earth Bacchus drink wine with parrots?


Have you not met Bacchus. Peer pressure and seeing what happens just for the hell of it are kind of his thing.


Humans, parrots, Nymphs, Bacchus has a lot of followers who want to join his drinking group. He doesn't discriminate.


Just dont leave out the weasels in the bed, please


what is the deal with the drunk parrots???!?


I can't escape these drunk parrots


psittaci semper ebrii sunt.


This is duolingo latin described in one sentence.


Inebriated birds and weaponry don't mix.


they do here in duolingo latin mate. oh don't forget the gods


I wouldn't put it past them here though


--Where are the spears?? You, miserable merchant, you are not a soldier; you were supposed to guard them!!

--Sir, let me explain, sir. It all started when some parrots walked into this storage with a case of red wine...


Is there a cultural significance to "drunk parrots"?


It is the A Plot of the Latin courses.

Weasels wearing clothing in Bedrooms is the B Plot.


I think it's just Duolingo's thing. A running joke / repeated use of a phrase to make it familiar.


Another classic Duolingo sentence!


Noted that DuoLingo does not accept "throw" as a translation for "contorquere" ("hurl" and "throw" are synonyms in English; I think "hurl" is more common in Northern English and Scotland, but I'm too lazy to get up from my desk and grab a dialect atlas).


My "The New College" edition Latin-English dictionary describes (including all four parts) "contor-qeo, -quere, -si, -tus" as a transitive verb meaning "to twist, whirl; to throw hard; to twist (words) around." I see no reason why it shouldn't accept throw unless they think "throw" alone doesn't have a strong enough connotation.


You're right, but, as you said, "hurl" is probably better than just throwing. When I hear "contorquent", I really see a rotation in the air. But "to throw" is not wrong, it probably depends the kind of throwing weapons, for many throwing weapons, just throwing them makes them twirl in the air.

It's also possible that twirl/twist in the air was the first meaning of the word, and that throw became later synonym.
Is it a special technique in the art of war, or every time a spear is thrown, "contorquere" is used? It's really possible that they really do the difference between contorquere hastam, and iacere hastam (both are found in Roman literature).

For those who are interested, this is a medieval treatise about the art of war (a 1540 German codex in Latin), with beautiful illustrations:

Atque impetuose cursu citato si hosti occursaris supinum eum consternes contorquendo hastam in hostem*:


-Note that "contorcere" still exists in modern Italian, and means to twist/to contort. (contort = same root, to contort = to roll on oneself)



I don't think hurl and throw are exact synonyms. hurling implies throwing with more force or effort than simply throwing does. I'm not aware of any dialect differences in relation to this.


maybe they want to emphasize they're aimlessly throwing spears with great force, but I'm not sure, since it's always pretty much obvious you have to use tons of force if you want to throw a spear to make it fly far or kill someone


Indeed, even large siege machinery like the ballistae and the onagri would still be thought of as throwing machines, and I know modern reenactors use iacere for their action from documentaries. And since contorquere seems to imply an induced stabilising rotation similar to rifling, which arguably wouldn't happen to a spear or thunderbolt, it's a very odd word choice. I wonder if this does indeed reflect ancient usage, as I wonder with a lot of this course. Not that it matters all that much, I'll be able to correct it with other texts like the de bello gallico


Looking at the Wiktionary page, with a weapon this verb means to swing, brandish, or wield it. The hurling meaning appears to be associated with words and speech. I have reported the Latin as erroneous. Found this in Ovidius: Perfida damnatas Germania proicit hastas.


I disagree, I found several occurrences of "hastam contorquere" and variants, so it can't be erroneous. I think the course is right about spears, and is also right about hurling as the first meaning of the word.

Contorquere gladium (a sword) can also be found. And when it's used, it's often rather to use the sword in someone's body, than to brandish.

Brandish has 2 meanings in English: : to shake or wave (something, such as a weapon) menacingly. (And to ": to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner". )
It's the first meaning here, to "wave" that is the "contorquere" meaning, as it implies a rotating move.

Proiacere/projacere is still another verb, involving a move, with the preposition "pro": pro (from) + iacere/jacere (to throw).

It gave the French projectile, borrowed later in English.


Apparently spears could indeed be thrown with spin, using a throwing strap (armentum)


Where do Latin Duolingo authors find those sentences??? In vino veritas :-D


Ah, those drunken parrots.


Owls hurling spears? Dayum, diz ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ jus got seeriuz.


The drunk parrots are back


Perhaps drunk people come up with these sentences...


Or perhaps not.

[deactivated user]

    First the drunk parrots write songs, now they hurl spears.






    Ebrii = inebriated. wonder if duo accepts it instead of drunk


    "Perhaps"? Drunk parrots certainly hurl spears!


    Drunk parrots were minor Roman gods I guess.


    Somebody: do you hurl spears? A drunk parrot: perhaps


    Timete, valde timete!


    This is crazy.


    Or "perhaps the parrots hurl the drunk's spears"


    I just cannot imagine how drunk parrots hurl spears. First most of the parrots I've come across would be hard pressed to throw dark ( size problem) secondly, wings are not designed to throwing things. Do they also carry shields ? When I studied Latin in school "Galli fossas cum sagittibus hastibusque oppugnant". I think my Latin teacher missed out an awful lot of Roman history


    The past participle is "drunk". "Drunken" is the adjective. "My drunken parrot has drunk another beer." Using "drunk" as an adjective is a very common mistake, even among native speakers of English. I hope the Latin team will help promote English accuracy by making "drunken" the given solution, while still accepting "drunk" as an alternate.


    That's incorrect: both "drunk" and "drunken" are common adjectival forms in English. The OED cites many examples of "drunk" as an adjective, back to 1340.

    Learn Latin in just 5 minutes a day. For free.