Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Sunday, 6 April 2008 22:11 UK

Berlusconi boasts of 'good' Latin

Silvio Berlusconi at election rally in Palermo - 6/4/2008
Mr Berlusconi says he still has a good ear for Latin

Italian opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi claims he speaks Latin well enough to engage Roman dictator Julius Caesar in lunchtime conversation.

The 71-year-old former prime minister was responding to a question from Italian radio about which historical figure he would most like to meet.

"My Latin is good enough that I believe I could even have a lunch with Julius Caesar," he said in an interview.

He is running for a third term as prime minister in 13-14 April polls.

In a lengthy radio interview, he said he had been a very good student of Latin at school and had been often chosen to speak with "illustrious guests, including cardinals".

Apart from Julius Caesar, one of the most powerful leaders of ancient Rome, Mr Berlusconi also said he admired Winston Churchill, Britain's World War II leader.

Mr Berlusconi, Italy's richest man, runs a business empire that spans media, advertising, food and construction.

He also owns Italy's most successful football club, admits he has had cosmetic surgery, and has fought off repeated corruption allegations.

A trial for alleged fraud is set to resume after the legislative elections.

Berlusconi spurns coalition bid
04 Feb 08 |  Europe
Profile: Silvio Berlusconi
01 Feb 08 |  Europe

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