I am giving a presentation on women in Rome, and one of my chosen women is named Servilia, the mother of Brutus.

I was curious how to pronounce her name, as I know Romans used the letter 'v' to signify a 'u' type sound (as in Julius) as well as to signify a 'v' type sound (as in victory).

Any ideas on this?

Thank you all very much!

  • 6
    Do you want to know how she would have pronounced it, or how English-speakers pronounce it nowadays? The two are quite different.
    – Draconis
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


The name Servilia would be pronounced Sair-wee-lee-ah, with the stress on the third to last syllable, in Classical Latin. However, in Anglicized versions of Latin names, you see a few changes. In this case, the above would become Sihr-vih-lee-yah. Please see this Wikipedia article on more general pronunciation of Latin, and this one on the pronunciation of Latin words in English.

The reason I used the method I did for pronunciation is that the traditional IPA method can be confusing to those who are not familiar with it. Dictionary.com does a similar thing for all of its definitions, so there is a basis for this method, at the minimum.

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