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The History of Lorem Ipsum

Stashed in: Confacimus, Words!, Freakonomics

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Cicero was the Ned Stark of his day.

Among his works was the De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (“On the Extremes of Good and Evil”), which includes an excerpt believed to be the source for Lorem Ipsum. He wrote it in 45 BC:

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Which translates to:

Nor is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.

Many more words and fragments of the longer multi-paragraph form of Lorem Ipsum can also be found in this passage of De Finibus. The passage, in its entirety, relates to hedonism, and how sometimes we do unpleasant things to reach pleasurable goals, and sometimes indulgence in pleasure can incur painful consequences. The passage concludes, “The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.”

Cicero also was a supporter of the Republic, and opposed Julius Caesar and the subsequent empire. Cicero’s politics and influence eventually earned him the title of “enemy of the state,” and bought him a beheading. After cutting of his head, his executioners cut his eloquent hands off too, and it is said his tongue was also cut out and stabbed several times with a hairpin.

Cum magno damno!

Grain of salt?

Cum extreme prejudice.

I still can't believe they beheaded him. Sheesh. 

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