Don’t park your bike or chariot here

Spotted this wonderfully-Cambridge sign yesterday:

I’ve never studied Latin, but I think I can make out enough; it says something like ‘Two wheels, that have been left here, will be destroyed’.

Can anyone translate the Greek? I presume it says much the same.

Actually, the first dictionary I looked at listed perimo as ‘to slay, destroy‘, and I rather like the idea that Cambridge streets are kept in order by The Slayer of Bicycles…

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The 3rd Greek word is “Duocycloi”, which is clearly “bicycle”. My Greek vocab runs out there, though!

I always thought that was some (not so) secret Greek society headquarters. That could be that whenever I’ve passed that sign I’ve had a few pints in the Maypole and I’m musing conspiratorially.

You would expect the Greek to say the same as the Latin, but it goes (let me transliterate first):
Enthade lefthentes duokukloi diaftharesontai.
Literally something like:
“Here caught bicycles will be destroyed.”
Which in English idiom might read: Bicycles found here will be destroyed.
There may be an intended pun with the second word, as it sounds close to “left”, thus making the thing a mock Greek sentence. But the idea of the “Destroyer” stands and is a good one… what can befall to bicycles in the Duchy of Cambridge!
I love this sign too and I took a picture years ago for friends and students in Classics.

Thanks for your excellent blog and resources. Lovely pictures for Cambridge lovers.

[…] if you like this post, you might enjoy this one from 14 years […]

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