I am puzzling over:

caveat veneti et antuerpiae exemplo tiri et tu lundina

This was written in the margin of a sixteenth-century commentary on Isaiah at chapter 23, which is on Tyre.

My translation is:

Beware, O Venice and Antwerp of the example of Tyre, and thou, too, O London.

Can Veneti and Antuerpiae be vocatives?

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! I was writing an answer, but then became puzzled too. Veneti can be the vocative of both the Venetic and Venetians (but then the verb should be caveant). In oder to be a vocative, in turn, antuerpiae should refer to the city, not the people. Antwerp is spelled antuerpia, the demonyn seems to be antuerpiensis. I don't know whether antuerpiae is also a valid spelling, but it could be a plural as well–yet also a locative, genitive, etc. The word to also puzzles me. Is the marginal note XVI century? Can we know how fluent in Latin the writer was/where was he from?
    – Rafael
    Aug 26, 2020 at 19:42
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    The "to" that you mention is probably "tu". I corrected the typo. The marginal note is XVI century. I don't know how fluent in Latin the writer was, but the commentary that he was reading was in Latin. The writer was a Scot, but possibly living in London.
    – user558840
    Aug 26, 2020 at 19:54
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    Do you have a photo of the actual text? That could help think of alternative readings; with just the transcription it's hard to tell whether the first word could be caveas instead, for example. Something seems to be a little awry, and it's hard to guess what.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 26, 2020 at 19:59
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    Do you have a link to the article? Perhaps there are transcription errors. Perhaps there was a short stroke above the a in caveat, which would indicate an n.
    – Cerberus
    Aug 26, 2020 at 21:09
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    @user558840: Sci-Hub won't let me see the article. Perhaps you might consider posting the relevant passage and some text around it in the question; more context may help.
    – Cerberus
    Aug 27, 2020 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


It strikes as not only possible, but likely. I don't see a reason to disregard Antwerpiae as a possible nominative/vocative (the name of the city in Flemish is Antwerpen, which even to a native speaker today sounds similar to a plural and plural forms for city names are, of course, as old/common as anything, e.g. the obviously analogy with Athenae).

  • Welcome to the site! The Orbis Latinus only seems to give singular Latin names for Antwerp: columbia.edu/acis/ets/Graesse/orblata.html But it is nevertheless possible that the author treated it as plural, especially when adjacent to Veneti, which is clearly plural.
    – Cerberus
    Jan 31, 2021 at 18:06
  • Many thanks. Since you alone have dignified your comment with the title 'Answer' I shall award you the prize. Who dares, wins!
    – user558840
    Feb 1, 2021 at 15:37

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