November 7, 2020

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Where does Lorem Iposum come from?

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Lorem ipsum is latin, slightly jumbled, the remnants of a passage from Cicero’s ‘De finibus bonorum et malorum’ 1.10.32, which begins ‘Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…’ [There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain.]. [de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, written in 45 BC, is a treatise on the theory of ethics very popular in the Renaisance.]

What I find remarkable is that this text has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since some printed in the 1500s took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book; it has survived not only four centuries of letter-by-letter resetting but even the leap into electronic typesetting, essentially unchanged except for an occasional ‘ing’ or ‘y’ thrown in. It’s ironic that when the then-understood Latin was scrambled, it became as incomprehensible as Greek; the phrase ‘it’s Greek to me’ and ‘greeking’ have common semantic roots!

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