Freitag, 22. Mrz 2024, 18:00 - 19:30 iCal

The Politics of Latin in the Digital Age

Federico Petris (Groningen)

Währinger Str. 2–4, 1090 Wien


Moscovia Delenda est, but also Ukrajina Delenda Est! and El Partido Popolar Delenda Est!; together with Bolsonaro out of power #sic semper tyrannis are but few examples of an ongoing phenomenon that sees online political discussions featuring interventions that make use of the Latin language among a variety of other natural languages. In relation to what has been sentenced, in various iterations, as a ‘dead language’, we may ask ourselves ‘why Latin?’. A disinterested answer could dismiss the cases as example of ‘linguistic preference’; a picture of Trump with the hashtag #Fullofshitticus is not deserving of further investigation; and the fact that #Vox Populi Vox Dei trended twice on X (former Twitter) within a single week in late 2022 is just a happy coincidence. In this talk, however, I will ask what happens when we take seriously the social embeddedness of Latin, and when we move past critiques of ‘right’ versus ‘wrong’ uses of Classical languages – and of references to the classical world. In doing so, I will attempt to show that when Latin is the chosen medium in online political discourses, specific political processes are underway.


Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein; Stadt Wien


Katharina-Maria Schön
Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein