Re: RARA-AVIS: Rara Avis and Juvenal

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 25 Jul 2005

Jim is right of course.

The early origin of this latin expression comes from Juvenal : Rara avis in terris (- a rare bird on earth...). in his major work: The Satires
(around 115 AD). I suppose Hammett knew the latin expression that became more common as
"Rara avis"...

Of course, our list refers to Hammett's novel only.


>Re your question below:
>>Can someone clue me into what a RARA AVIS is?
>>I see plenty of definitions everywhere, but I guess
>>I'm missing the
>It's a reference to a line from the most famous of
>hard-boiled crime novels, THE MALTESE FALCON, in which
>Casper Gutman refers to the titular statuette as a
>"rara avis" or "rare bird."

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