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Cato the Cobbler

Everyone knows that in the olden days, people spoke Latin. However, did you know that in the really olden days, they spoke a language called Old Latin. The earliest example of this comes from the Duenos inscription, an artifact that dates back to the 7th century B.C. It consists of a series of continuous letters wrapped around three conjoined pots (pictured above). Since people were a lot tougher back then, they didn't require fancy punctuation marks or space between words to understand a text. Historians believe they just spun the pots like a pinwheel (or like a fidget spinner for our younger clients) to read the inscribed message.

In this case, the Duenos inscription recounts the events in the day of the life a simple cobbler named Cato: he reluctantly gets out of bed, goes to the market to buy a chicken for his wife, heads to his shop to craft several pairs of sandals, and then finishes the day at the local tavern. Of course, if the pots are spun in the opposite direction, then we find out that Cato started his day at the bar, destroyed all the sandals in his shop, went to the market where he sold his wife for a chicken, and then finally stumbled home where he fell asleep. So historical opinions on what type of guy this Cato the cobbler actually was can vary a bit.

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