There was a Greek play translated to Latin wherein a term was translated then to English as "trumped up charges".

Might somebody know the play and more particularly the term itself?

  • 2
    Do you have any additional context? Like the subject of the play or something else? Latin calumnia in Roman law means a false accusation
    – Rafael
    May 17 '16 at 2:40
  • No. I am afraid I don't
    – d'alar'cop
    May 17 '16 at 2:43
  • Guy! Calumnae was the word I was looking for.
    – d'alar'cop
    May 17 '16 at 3:09
  • Just posted it as an answer. Happy to help
    – Rafael
    May 17 '16 at 6:52

With the little information you give, all that can be said is calumnia (pl. calumniae) is Latin (specifically, Roman law) for false accusation.

Hope it helps


I agree that calumnia is a good translation for a "trumped-up charge." Here is one example from Cicero:

condemnati erant Fabricii: nec elabi alio accusatore poterat Albius nec sine ignominia calumniae relinquere accusationem Cluentius (Cic. Pro Cluentio, XXXI)

the Fabricii had been condemned; Albius could not possibly escape if there were any other prosecutor, nor could Cluentius abandon the prosecution without rendering himself liable to the imputation of having trumped up a false accusation. (trans. C. D. Yonge)

Here are a few other possible phrases that abound in Latin's wide judicial vocabulary:

commenticius -a -um

ille quo modo crimen commenticium confirmaret non inveniebat. (Cic. S. Rosc. 15.42)

He did not find a way to support his trumped-up charge.

This can also be used as a verb:

Commenta mater est esse ex alio viro
Nescio quo puerum natum (Ter. Ad. 4.5)

The mother has trumped up a tale, that there is a child by some other man, I know not who (trans. Henry Thomas Riley)

mendacium compositum

Ne tu istic hodie malo tuo compositis mendaciis
advenisti, audaciai columen, consutis dolis. (Pl. Am. I.1)

Assuredly, at your peril have you come here this day, with your trumped-up lies, your patched-up knaveries, you essence of effrontery. (trans. Henry Riley)


oportuit autem, Perseu, si proditor ego patris regnique eram, si cum Romanis, si cum aliis inimicis patris inieram consilia, non expectatam fabulam esse noctis huius, sed proditionis [meae] ante me accusatum. (Liv. 40 12)

*But, Perseus, if I were a traitor to my father and the realm, if I were scheming with the Romans or with any of my father's enemies, you ought not to have waited for this trumped-up story of last night's doings, you ought to have accused me of treachery before this. (trans. Canon Roberts)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.