I have read the thread on Domus optima, but I am looking for the idiom: how did Romans title their houses (vs. describe them)?

In English, I would title our place "House of the Large Cups" because that's what everyone remembers about it: we have huge coffee/tea mugs. If a Roman was to do the same, how would they bestow a fatuous sobriquet so they could put it on invitations as a private joke with their friends?


The first thing I thought of was Horace, Epode 9.33:

capaciores adfer huc, puer, scyphos
Fetch roomier goblets here, boy

Capaciores is the comparative degree of the adjective capax, which has, as one of its definitions, '(of containers, places, etc.) Able to hold a lot, capacious, roomy.'

A scyphus (Greek σκύφος) was a large, two-handles drinking vessel, deeper than a cylix (κύλιξ).

Even though the scyphi that Horace mentions had two handles instead of the single handle that modern mugs have, if you want something that has literary resonance, you you could say domus capaciorum scyphorum, 'the house of the roomier goblets.'


If you wanted an ostentatious and overly-grandiose name, domus is a nice word for "house", and ingēns, -tis means something like "impossibly or excessively large". (It's also a more poetic word than magnus or longus.)

For "cup", a straightforward word is calix, whence "chalice". But I would go with a Greek loan, dīnus (from δεῖνος~δῖνος). In Greek it was a common word for a round cup to drink out of, but it was also a technical term in Democritus's atomic theory, meaning something like "the rotation of the universe". In the Clouds, Aristophanes uses this pun over and over, with Socrates studying cups to understand physics and knocking over statues of the gods to put huge cups in their place.

Putting it all together grammatically, I would say Domus Dīnōrum Ingentium, or Domus Calicum Ingentium. (The lines over some of the letters can be included or left off, whichever you like; they represent a difference in sound that disappeared in later Latin.)

  • Isn't poculum the most common generic word for "cup"? – brianpck Jan 14 at 14:51

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