I want to translate the sentence "Manchester City gets the first place" to Latin, in a sports headline kind of context.

I roughly did it as "Manchester Urbe primum positionem tenet".

The Urbe part is just a joke, but is "primum positionem tenet" right?

NOTE: May look as homework but it's not.


2 Answers 2


Nearly correct, but positio is feminine, so it should be primam positionem tenet.

I feel that it's all a bit fancy, or even too indirect for a footballing context. I wouldn't say 'gets first place' : after all, it's not a race. You could try Partes Urbis Mancuniae vincit, literally '[the team] of the City [of] Manchester wins'. To show that MC leads the Premiership, Partes Urbis Mancuniae primarium cursum ducit.

  • Thanks for pointing me at positio gender, totally missed that. But what you propose reads too much as if the team just won the last match, not that it's now in the first place in league - probably I should have added the "in league" part.
    – Rodia
    Dec 9, 2017 at 16:07
  • 1
    Then you want not vincit but primarium cursum ducit. I'll modify the answer accordingly.
    – Tom Cotton
    Dec 9, 2017 at 16:12
  • Thanks again, and excuse my ignorance but, does primarium cursum mean "Premier League"? I hope so, this made me laugh so much :)
    – Rodia
    Dec 9, 2017 at 16:40
  • 1
    @Rodia In a word, yes.
    – Tom Cotton
    Dec 9, 2017 at 17:01
  • Is Mancuniae right? I figure that Mancunium might be feminine, but wouldn't it still decline like any other 2nd-declension noun? Also, wouldn't it be better to use an adjective: Urbis Mancuniensis?
    – Ben Kovitz
    Dec 9, 2017 at 18:38

If you mean that Manchester City just moved into first place:

Urbs Mancunium locum primum capit.

Background: Manchester was founded by the ancient Romans in 79 A.D. They called it Mamucium or sometimes Mancunium. The latter seems to have won out. Vicipædia gives Mancunium Urbs for the name of the football team, but I think Urbs Mancunium follows Latin custom a little better (also used by Vicipædia here).

I didn't find clear-cut precedent for a Latin expression for "first place" in a contest or race, but I did find some where locus primus indicates the most prestigious position, so it seems right. Positionem primam is probably fine, too, as is tenet. Tenet is probably better if you just mean that Manchester City is in first place, not that they just got there.

If this is very big news and you want to go all-out Roman, either on stone or newsprint, you could make the headline:


If in doubt, you should take Tom Cotton's suggestion over mine. I'm just a little past the beginner stage and getting this from dictionaries and searches. Tom's got a genuine feel for the language from extensive use.

  • This is very useful too, thank you. Taking note of adjective place in Positionem primam, sounds way better than what I was using.
    – Rodia
    Dec 9, 2017 at 19:43
  • pace Wikipedia, "urbs mancunii" strikes me as much more idiomatic than "mancunium urbs"
    – sgf
    Dec 9, 2017 at 22:31

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