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What are your favorite Latin word games and riddles? I just posted something today at AudioLatinProverbs.com about a medieval riddle dialogue which is a veritable TREASURE TROVE of Latin riddles (and yes, the Latin is available online and there's also a complete English translation online - check out the blog post for more info about that).

There is also the great website called Archimedes' Laboratory by Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie J. Waeber which is full of great Latin word games and riddles.

For sheerly enjoyable Latin, riddles and word games are hard to beat! Are there other riddles and word games you use with your students? Please share! :-)

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Rose Williams noted this wonderful material via the LatinTeach listserv:

They aren't exactly riddles, but in my old LATIN THROUGH THE AGES computer text I had some of the math problems which Fibonacci used when he was trying to convert people from Roman numerals to what he called "Numeri Indorum." (They certainly aren't Arabic numerals, as anyone knows who has tried to fly to Egypt and found Middle Easterners who don't recognize them in all your seats). The most interesting of them is Fibonacci's "rabbit problem," which produced the Fibonacci number sequence. When I get a moment, I will post that lesson on my website.
Rose Williams

I Googled and sure enough found the Latin materials online. from Fibonacci's Liber Abaci. Here is how it begins!

Qvidam posuit unum par cuniculorum in quodam loco, qui erat undique pariete circundatus, ut sciret, quot ex eo paria germinarentur in uno anno...
Here's another contribution submitted via the LatinTeach listserv by Dennis McHenry:

It's funny you should mention this. Just yesterday I found the Hundred Riddles of Symphosius on Google Books. You can download the pdf and even access the text to easily copy and paste selections:
The book includes a translation and notes by Elizabeth Hickman du Bois.

I would also recommend that if you have any institutional access to the Classical Journal (such as through JSTOR) you should browse through B.L. Ullman's old 'Hints for Teachers' columns which include a vast number of puns submitted by readers. You need to wade through them, though, because many rely on English pronunciation of Latin words. Here's a typical example:
Why is a ship that carries baggage like a *brother*? Because it is a frater.
Occasionally we find some more felicitous selections that allow Latin to be Latin, such as this:
If your mother *orders* you to do something, what do you say? iubet.
PUNNING RIDDLES: The Complete Collection (?) as compiled by B. Ullman

Thanks to the great tip from Dennis McHenry via the LatinTeach listserv, I went through the old editions of the Classical Journal and compiled what I think is a complete list of the Punning Riddles which Latin teachers submitted to Ullman's column in 1923-1924. They come from PDF files which did not do very well with optical character recognition on the italics, so I've saved them as image snapshots. If anybody wants to digitize the material, that would be very nifty - but in any case, I think I've got all the contributions that Ullman eventually published included here. If someone who is more familiar with this material notices that I have missed an issue of the journal which contained punning riddles, let me know!

I love how you can get a sense of the world from 75 years ago - here is one of my favorites!
In what did man HOPE to fly? SPES.

And of course we achieved our space hopes, decades after a student dreamed up that pun...

readind your stuff right now. Will give opinion soon.

Ive posted a Latin anagram here somewhere (newbie)

hi Mike, quid est veritas? vir qui adest! :-)

I really like Latin anagrams - thanks for mentioning that! there's even an online anagram creator you can use to look for anagrams IN LATIN - how cool is that? here's a blog post I did about Latin anagrams, including one I made up for Publius Vergilius Maro, using the online generator:


very fun stuff (I'm actually not one to ever spernere lusum!)





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