Posh graffiti in Latin isn't as smart as it seems

Posh graffiti in Latin isn't as smart as it seems
Veni vidi vici?
Image: Shutterstock / Stefano Pellicciari

What’s more creative than using Latin to vandalise luxury homes in Cambridge, the university city? 

A new five-bedroom, riverfront £1.25 million ($1.56 million) development in Chesterton has been daubed with graffiti reading: Locus in Domos Loci Populum. 

Rarely has the protest against gentrification — the homes were built on the site of an old pub, of course — reached such cultural heights. 

However, the pedantic smarties out there have something to say about it. 

Academics pointed out that the sentence is grammatically incorrect, and literally translates to “room in the house” and “local people.” 

Some pointed out that this is exactly what comes out of Google Translate.

Suspicious, isn’t it? It looks that the vandals were not as educated as we first thought.

The graffiti triggered a furious debate among academics. 

Cambridge University Professor of Classics, Mary Beard, told the BBC: “This is a bit hard to translate, but I think what they’re trying to say is that a lovely place has been turned into houses.”

Another professor, Dr Charles Weiss, translated the slogan as “a place for homes equals places for people”, but added that it might be ‘pidgin Latin’. 

(“Romanes eunt domus anyone?)

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An online teachers’ forum, TES, also debated the slogan. 

This commenter said: “Not only are the case endings all wrong, but ‘locus’ is the nominative singular of a noun meaning place and ‘loci’ is its genitive singular or nominative plural, not an adjective meaning ‘local’.”

Another one suggested a possible correct translation: indigendae villae sunt pro indigendis gentibus:

Alea iacta est!

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