I heard this on a podcast the other day to mean that the conversation had gotten stuck. I looked it up and it seems to be a reference to the textbook Ecce Rómání, in which a cart gets stuck in a ditch for a while, apparently—given how many references there are to it online—to the amusement of decades' worth of Latin students. However, I couldn't find any references to it in any authentic Roman/Latin texts.

I'm wondering: is this an actual Latin saying/metaphor that the Romans or other Latin speakers used at any time in history? Or has it just become a thing because so many people learned Latin from Ecce Rómání?


I can't really prove a negative, but Cassell's "Latin Dictionary" has quotes and references from ancient sources for almost every entry. Neither raeda nor fossa contains a reference to this saying, despite having several other references.

I would go out on a limb and say that this was not a catch phrase for the ancients.

  • 3
    To support this, L&S don't mention such a phrase under either word, and searching PHI for in fossa yields nothing relevant either. – TKR Jun 19 '16 at 2:50
  • Thanks, @JoelDerfner! Also, thanks to @TKR for the additional lack of references. – coralvanda Jun 19 '16 at 7:37

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