How Cicero’s scrambled text became the web’s most popular piece of content

lorem ipsum

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec vel mi a ante tempus scelerisque quis a felis. Ut nec egestas velit. Aenean convallis dui eget justo vestibulum pulvinar. Fusce commodo bibendum tortor, sit amet rhoncus leo vehicula ut. Donec sapien urna, mollis eu magna id, dictum faucibus ex. Fusce consectetur pretium facilisis. Sed vel lectus rutrum, tincidunt mi fringilla, maximus libero.

Doesn’t mean anything but you have seen this text on many websites. You literally cannot be on a web without running into lorem ipsum. Lorem ipsum, also known as dummy text is what web designers use to fill up website content in the process of development.

It has been used since the 1500s for typesetting when a printer accidentally scrambled the text to make a dummy book. Lorem ipsum has not only survived five centuries, it has transcended to electronic text and become widely adopted by web designers.

Most people assume that Lorem ipsum is randomly generated text, but this text is not random in any way. Lorem has deep roots in classical Latin literature from 45BC, making it well over 2000 years old.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) written by Marcus Tullius Cicero in 45 BC.

This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32 of the book. The book was developed within about one and a half months is unarguably one of Cicero’s most extensive philosophical works.

Cicero is widely credited with transforming Latin from a modest utilitarian language into a versatile literary medium capable of expressing abstract and complicated thoughts with clarity.

In defense of web designers worldwide, Lorem ipsum is used because it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English although its latin.

The passage that generated Lorem ipsum loosely translates to “”On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain.

“These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. 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.”


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