I wanted to make a kind of western-style WANTED-poster in Latin, and I got a few questions about it. My questions:

  • how did the romans say WANTED on a poster?

    • I was doubting between the words voluit (own translation) and quis (translation via translation site)
  • How did the Romans call their currency?

    • I know there were different coins like as and denarius, but for example like we say: it costs $7, did they have a sign to express their coin?
  • How did they say something like Dead or Alive?

    • I ended up with a translation like Mortuus an vivus and a translation site ended up with Mortuus sive vivus. Is one of those translations correct or not? If no, what should be the correct translation?

Every answer is appreciated, even if it's only an answer on one of the questions.

  • 3
    I would suggest splitting this into two questions: (1) translating "wanted dead or alive" and (2) money symbols.
    – brianpck
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 18:53
  • Maybe "referre honoro" or "return for a reward". "Referre honoro si vivus sive mortuus erit". Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


Question 1

I wouldn't go with "wanted" per se, but fugitīvus (literally "runaway"). This comes from fugiō "to flee" and referred to rebellious slaves and military deserters. Presumably this "wanted" person is evading pursuit in a similar manner.

Tom Cotton has also suggested captandus (or captanda for a woman), literally something like "needs to be captured". This is closer to the English meaning and sounds more elegant in Latin.

Question 2

They did indeed! The Romans used different symbols for the different values of currency, like our £ versus $ versus ¢. The relationships between them fluctuated over time, but for most of the Classical period the dēnārius was the most common coin, and also the largest to have its symbol in Unicode: 𐆖.

𐆚 - as
𐆙 - dupondius
𐆘 - sēstertius
𐆗 - quīnārius
𐆖 - dēnārius

(If those Unicode symbols don't show up, here's an image.)

image version of the above

The pattern here is fairly simple: the Roman numeral with a line through it. So 𐆖 was originally worth X (that is, ten) assēs.

Question 3

There are a few different "or"s in Latin: primarily aut, vel, and -ve. More info on them is available here.

In this case, it sounds like you don't care whether they're dead or alive, either one is perfectly acceptable. So I'd use X vel Y, or the even weaker enclitic form, X-ve Y-ve.


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