If I were to say "this man is 40 years old" in Latin, I would say hic vir 40 annos natus est. That is, I would use the participle natus instead of any adjective meaning "old", and it is my impression that this is idiomatic. (Please correct me if I am wrong!)

But how do I say "this wine is 40 years old"? Should I use a translation of "old", the participle natum, some other participle, or yet something else? I could say hoc vinum 40 annos abhinc factum est or something similar, but that feels like a circumlocution and unnecessarily heavy.

  • Annos habere came to my mind, but I'm not sure it is old enough.
    – Rafael
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 20:57

3 Answers 3


I have found three ways of referring to the age of wine, the first of which is the most common and simplest:

An adjective such as anniculus, bimus etc.

quadrimum Sabina, o Thaliarche, merum diota

fetch the four-year old wine from the Sabine jar, o Thaliarchus

Horace, Odes, 1.9

ponite turaque bimi cum patera meri

set down incense and a bowl with two-year old wine

Horace, Odes, 1.20

See also: Horace, Satires, 2.8.47 (quinquennis); Varro, On Agriculture, LXV (anniculus)

Stored for x years

genera ... quae quanto pluris annos condita habuerunt

[there are] types [of wine] ... which the more years they have been stored

Varro, On Agriculture, LXV

This sense of condo is also used for preserving and pickling.

Pressed during the time of x

Using premo + an ablative absolute:

tu vina Torquato move consule pressa meo

you, bring out the wines pressed when my Torquatus was consul

Horace, Epodes, 13.6

See also Horace, Epistles, 1.5.4

Bonus: wine that is older than x years

est mihi nonum superantis annum / plenus Albani cadus

I have a jar full of Alban wine that is more than nine years [old]

Horace, Odes, 4.11


There is a direct quote for this situation in the Satyricon, where Petronius just uses annus in the genitive plural:

Statim allatae sunt amphorae vitreae diligenter gypsatae, quarum in cervicibus pittacia erant affixa cum hoc titulo: FALERNVM OPIMIANVM ANNORVM CENTVM. Dum titulos perlegimus, complosit Trimalchio manus et: "Eheu, inquit, ergo diutius vivit vinum quam homuncio. (Petr. Satyr. XXXIV)

The labels on the amphorae remind me of this joke:

XKCD 363

  • Genitive of quality, I'd say.
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 15:37

I believe that there's no difference between specifying the ages of people, and those of anything else.

The verb I would choose here is conficio:

Hoc vinum est XL annos confectum.

  • Thanks! It makes sense to always use a participle of a verb describing creation, whatever it may mean for the entity in question.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 20:47

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