I just saw a Quora post stating the Romanian spelling "cvorum", "cvintuplu", "cvartet" proves the Romans pronounced qu as kv. I tried to back up the contrary claim with Latin-to-Greek transliterations, but the only name I could think of was Quintilianus, whose modern Greek name is Koïntilianós (typing from mobile, pardon my romanization), which I cannot be sure to trace back to Ancient Greek as opposed to being borrowed from a modern language. I used similar comparisons with Italian words and the fact /w/ changed to v (supported by onomatopoeic vagire and vagitus, and Greek Oualeérios for Valerius) to demolish that claim, but I'm still wondering: what was Quintilian called in AG? And more in general, what transliterations of Roman names with Qu into AG do we know of?

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    The three Romanian examples are modern loans from French. They tell us nothing about ancient Roman pronunciation.
    – fdb
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 15:20
  • @fdb From French? I'm surprised to see cv in French loans, since qu is just k in French... I expected them to be loans from German or a Slavic language. Any idea how that cv came to be?
    – MickG
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 15:22
  • 1
    French quartette is pronounced with /kw/. Quorum is /kw/ or /k/. Quintuple is now mainly /k/, but older dictionaries give /kw/ or /kɥ/. But of course, the Romanian words could also be from Russian.
    – fdb
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 15:41
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    @fdb For the record, Romanian Wiktionary gives <<Din italiană quartetto, franceză quartette>> (din meaning from), and a variant form "cuartet". Also, <<Din franceză quintuple>>. And <<Din latină cvorum>>, um, that makes me lose my trust :).
    – MickG
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 15:48
  • Justifiably.....
    – fdb
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


For a Classical example, threre's this dedicatory inscription from the sanctuary in Olympia, from the second century BCE (perhaps 143 or 142):

Δάμων Νικάνδρος Μακεδὼν ἀπὸ
Θεσσαλονίκης Κόιντον Καεκέλιον
Κοΐντου Μέτελλον
, στρατηγὸν ὓπατον
Ῥωμαίων, Διὶ Ὀλυμπίῳ,
ἀρετῆς ἕνεκεν καὶ εὐνοίας ἧς ἔχων διατε-
λεῖ εἴς τε αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν πατρίδα καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς
Μακεδόνας καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους Ἕλληνας.

Damon, son of Nikanor, a Macedonian from Thessalonika, (dedicated the statue) of Quintus Caecilius Metellus, son of Quintus, consul of the Romans, to Olympian Zeus, because of his excellence and the kindness that he always showed toward him, his country, the rest of the Macedonians, and the other Greeks.

(Text from M. Guarducci, L'epigrafia greca dalle origini al tardo impero [Rome, 1987], p 59–60)

  • Wouldn't Νικάνδρος be romanized as something like "son of Nicander"?
    – Draconis
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 3:13

Luke 2:2 Greek genitive, Latin ablative absolutes.

αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου / Κυρείνου (h)

2 haec descriptio prima facta est praeside Syriae Cyrino

King James Bible: Purple Letter Edition

1And it came to pass, in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be registered {taxed}. 2(And this registration {taxing} was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

NET Bible

The Census and the Birth of Jesus

1Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. 2This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

  • 1
    Similar pattern: Aquila > Ἀκύλας
    – b a
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 0:16

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