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Ancient Romans and the way they spoke has had a big impact on the way we talk today, more than 2,000 years later.
American English borrows many words from Latin, which was the language of ancient Rome, and we also use phrases that refer to moments in Roman history.
Learning just a little bit of Roman history can help us understand those sayings:
'I came, I saw I, conquered”
An expression of strength and power. Military leaders use it to refer to an important victory. The Roman leader Julius Caesar is attributed with first saying this phrase in Latin, which is translated as 'veni, vedi, vici.”
'All roads lead to Rome”
A saying that means there is more than one path to achieving a goal. It also refers to ancient Rome's reputation for impressive engineering and its vast network of roads.
'Rome wasn't built in a day”
Big projects take time. It's a reflection of Rome's long history and its huge size and complexity for its time.
'When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
Used by travelers and people who are trying an unfamiliar activity. It encourages people to adapt to their surroundings and participate in norms from another culture, like visitors to Rome might have done.
'Fiddle while Rome burns”
When someone is too caught up with something unimportant that they ignore the bigger problem. It refers to the Great Fire of 64 A.D., when the unpopular Emperor Nero was blamed for his poor response to the crisis.
'Crossing the Rubicon”
Doing something you can't undo, similar to 'past the point of no return.” It refers to Caesar crossing the Rubicon River in 49 B.C., which set off a devastating war and eventually led to the end of the Roman republic.
This term comes from an Italian word rather than a Latin word, but ancient Roman vandalism has many similarities to modern vandalism. People scratched walls to write their names, love messages, insults and inappropriate jokes.
'E Pluribus Unum”
The motto appearing on money in the United States. It translates to 'out of many, one,” which means the U.S. is one country made up of many different kinds of people. Founders of the country had a great interest in Roman history and the Latin language.