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Questions tagged [classical-latin]

Questions concerning Latin of the classical era, approximately 75 BCE to 300 CE

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Can 'non' with gerundive mean both lack of obligation and negative obligation?

If a gerundive is used with non, can it mean both lack of obligation and negative obligation? For example, can non loquendum est mean both "it is not necessary to speak" and "it is necessary not to ...
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Are there Roman accounts of Easter?

Now that it is Easter time, I wonder whether the Romans wrote about Easter. I am looking for non-Christian accounts in Latin describing the events of Jesus's death and subsequent resurrection. I ...
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Switches Between Direct & Indirect Speech in Suetonius-Supplemental

Suetonius, Caius (Caligula) 58: concerns the assassination of Emperor Caius (Caligula) on January 21st., AD 41. At this point, the assassins have struck the first blows and Caius, still alive, ...
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Present Participles: can “respicienti” be part of an ablative absolute in this sentence?

Suetonius, Caius (Caligula) 58: ...alii Sabinum summota per conscios centuriones turba signum more militiae petisse et Caio "lovem" dante Chaeream exclamasse: "accipe ratum" respicientique maxillam ...
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Switches between Direct & Indirect Speech in Suetonius

Suetonius, Caius (Caligula) 58: alii [tradunt] Sabinum summota per conscios centuriones turba signum more militiae petisse et Gaio 'Iouem' dante Chaeream exclamasse: 'accipe ratum!' ...
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How things change in Latin

After having provided an answer to Draconis’ question ( Did Latin have any ergative verbs? ), I was wondering about the (very subtle?) meaning differences involved in triads like {aperit/se aperit/...
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How often were names ending in -um used in real life?

There seem to be a number of examples of personal names ending in -um in the works of Plautus (apparently, they also show up in Terence1). In a discussion on Wiktionary, I found an interesting comment ...
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Quality of final ĕ ĭ ŏ

Evidence from the Romance languages provides fairly good evidence for distinct qualities, [ɛ] vs. [eː], for ĕ and ē in stressed syllables when followed by a consonant. Likewise for ŏ and ō as [ɔ] vs. [...
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How do we know how -iī and -iit perfects were stressed?

The question Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules? has an answer by Joel Derfner saying that the first-person singular perfect forms dormiī, audiī, veniī (for dormīvī, audīvī, venīvī) have ...
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Understanding “audieritis” in Psalm 94

Consider the following excerpt from Psalm 94 in the Vulgate. Hódie, si vocem eius audiéritis, nolíte obduráre corda vestra, sicut in exacerbatióne secúndum diem tentatiónis in desérto: ubi ...
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Self-teaching: Good resource for learning subjunctive

I am self-teaching Latin and have no instructors to whom I can ask questions. I am at a loss for learning subjunctive (mostly its uses and translating into English) and would like a resource that ...
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Expressing outrage

I'm looking for a way to express in Latin "she broke a blood-vessel in a fit of passion". It's an English idiom, not to be taken literally, but used to express a burst of outrage or anger. I need ...
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How to do indefinite person with verbs

In English you can conjugate like so: I eat You eat He/she/it eats We eat You all eat They eat But you can also conjugate with a variety of “indefinite” pronouns: One eats Everyone ...
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Meaning of “SEVERA INDEOVI VAS” from 3rd Century slab

Can someone explain the meaning of the words "SEVERA INDEOVI VAS" on this slab: According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depiction_of_Jesus, the above image is of an "Incised sarcophagus slab with ...
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Etymology of ambulance

For a while I have been curious about the etymology of the English word 'ambulance' since it seems to be derived from the Latin word 'ambulare' (to walk). This seems a strange origin for the word. ...
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When were neuter nouns used in the vocative?

It seems that neuter nouns have vocative forms that are identical to their nominative/accusative forms. Most neuter nouns don't have a meaning that seems to me to fit easily with the use of the ...
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Verbal Adjective of Necessity vs. Possibility

Greek distinguishes between verbal adjectives ending in -τέος and verbal adjectives ending in -τός. The latter (according to Smyth) express either possibility or the perfect passive participle (e.g. '...
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Pay for one's mistake's. Evil brings sorrow

Pay for one's mistake's. Evil brings sorrow. How to say these two phrases in Latin language? Thank you.
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Gradient Descent and Backpropagation in Latin

I came across this and was wondering if other terminology in artificial intelligence can be translated to Latin. Considering how deeply entwined the field is with science and philosophy, it is only ...
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Which Latin verb was closer to the current meaning of English “solve”?

Nowadays the English verb solve means: Find an answer to, explanation for, or means of effectively dealing with (a problem or mystery). The etymology of the word indicates that it comes: from ...
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Why did “cattus” replace Latin “feles”?

The word for cat is now, in almost every European language, derived from Latin cattus, as stated in Etymonline. It also says that the word was [...] in general use on the continent by c. 700, ...
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aret = aridus est?

Is there any semantic or aspectual difference between aret and aridus est (cf. rubet/ruber est; calet/calidus est, candet/candidus est, i.a.)? Ager aret. (Col. 2.8.5) Ager aridus erat. (...
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Subject-verb agreement when the subject is a dominant participle construction

My question is whether constructions similar to the following English one can exist in Latin, i.e., constructions where (i) the subject is formed by a plural noun plus an obligatory/"dominant" ...
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How complex a motion event can be in Classical Latin

How natural would you judge the translation of the following English sentence into Latin? He still wandered on, out of the little high valley, over its edge, and down the slopes beyond. '...
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On the (typical?) ambiguity of “Porta clausa est”

It is often said that Porta clausa est can have two readings depending on the categorial nature of the participle: verbal (cf. clauditur/clausa est) or adjectival (cf. clausa est/clausa fuit), which ...
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Why can’t we wipe the slate clean in Latin?

After reading Luchonachos’ previous post, whose Latin text contains an adjectival resultative predicate (claudus effectus est ‘he became lame’), the following question came to my mind: Why is it the ...
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Quo mortuo nuntiato (Cicero) // Ab urbe condita nuntiata (?)

Given my description below on nested/double predicative participle constructions (e.g., quo mortuo nuntiato) and given the well-known parallelism between so-called “dominant” participle constructions (...
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Minimal pair [y] – [y:] in Latin

Are there minimal pairs distinguished only by length of [y] in Latin? Was the short variant of /y/ pronounced like [ʏ]?
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Are there Classical Latin words whose meanings are unknown to us?

Are there any attested Classical Latin words whose meanings are unknown to us? Given the intensive study of the Classical Latin corpus and the many methods of getting at the meanings of words (...
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“Explaining oneself” in Classical Latin

How should I say in Classical Latin the following phrases? "Explain yourself!" "I didn't explain myself well", "I didn't make myself / wasn't clear" I've been thinking of the verbs explico and ...
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Origin of “lunatĭcus”

In Spanish we have the word lunático with the following meaning: One who suffers from madness, not continuous, but at intervals. This word comes from Latin lunatĭcus. According to Lewis & ...
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What was the standard ancient term for a thermopolium?

This page on thermopolia reports a quotation from Mary Beard, classics professor at Cambridge University: “The best way to escape a diet of bread, cheese and fruit, eaten in small lodginggs over a ...
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Was there any difference between “grātĭa” and “făvor”?

The Lewis & Short dictionary defines gratia as: grātĭa, ae, f. gratus; lit., favor, both that in which one stands with others and that which one shows to others. I. Favor which one finds ...
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Did the Romans really speak of “mare nostrum”?

I have heard a number of times that the Romans called the Mediterranean Sea mare nostrum, "our sea". But was this really the Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea in any significant way? I have three ...
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The use of participle in “Ceres a generendo”

I'm trying to read this sentence, where Cicero finds Roman Gods in relevance to the Latin verbs: Saturnus quia se saturat annis, Mavors quia magna vertit, Minerva quia minuit aut quia minatur, ...
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Why did the Ro­mans per­ceive dark­ness, ᴛᴇ­ɴᴇ­ʙʀᴀᴇ, as a plu­ral count noun?

Why did the Ro­mans per­ceive dark­ness, te­ne­brae, as a plu­ral count noun? [Per­se­us cor­pus-search ref­er­ence] Or per­haps the bet­ter ques­tion is: what spe­cial nu­ance is con­veyed by the ...
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Did the “-ālis” and “-āris” suffixes have the same meaning in Latin?

In Spanish we have two suffixes -al and -ar with the same meaning: "after a noun it indicates an abundance of the original word". So from naranjo ('orange tree') we have naranjal ('a group of orange ...
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Is there a verb for people of the same sex marrying in latin?

As far as I know there are two words in Latin that indicate two people marrying nubere This means to veil oneself for marriage. It thus has to be said by a female member and it is implied that this ...
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how to interpret the diminutive-suffixed adj. **lacteolus**

I read the following content in the Oxford Latin Dictionary: lacteolus = lacteus+ -olus, where -olus is a diminutive suffix. The ‘normal’ form lacteus and the diminutive form lacteolus share ...
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What did the Romans think about female leadership?

Women seem to be absent from leading roles in Roman politics. However, the Romans were in interaction with other nations with female leaders, both historically (e.g. Cleopatra of Egypt) and mythically ...
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Is it idiomatic to say “Intellego” to assure the speaker you're understanding?

In other words, when an English speaking person would say "I see" meaning "I understand what you're saying", is it natural in classical Latin to say Intellego, as in, maybe even more than once? If not,...
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Why would the prae­po­si­tion “per” ᴇᴠᴇʀ take an ab­la­tive in­stead of an ac­cu­sa­tive com­ple­ment?

ᴘᴇʀ + ᴀʙʟ.: Bar­bar­ism, solœ­­cism, or di­a­chron­ic evo­lu­tion? Lewis and Short clear­ly state that per is a prae­po­si­tion whose nor­mal com­ple­ment is in the ac­cusative. With­out hav­ing dol­...
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Express “female strength” in Latin

I am trying to find a name for a company related to a feminist movement. I put in "female strength" and it came back Vi Femina. Is this correct? I checked a different site and put in that Vi Femina ...
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what does “less correctly” mean in the Lewis & Short?

1. L&S: caenum (less correctly coenum) L&S: cena (not coena, caena) It seems “coenum” and “coena” both are medieval spellings which were straight borrowed from Greek. So both of them should ...
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Are there Latin angry oaths like the English “damn it!” or “for God's sake!”?

Nowadays (I guess) every language has both vulgar and non-vulgar ways to express anger, frustration and/or exasperation , in response to some nuisance. Looking e.g. at Catullus, it seems unlikely that ...
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When and how was “bombax!” used?

I found the exclamation bombax! in Plautus' Pseudolus (Pl. Ps. 1.3.131), where note 19 specifies it is a Greek loanword (βομβάξ in fact) used as an interjection of contempt. This agrees with what is ...
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Most used word for “quince” in classical Latin

A typical Spanish dessert is the quince jelly (Spanish: carne/dulce de membrillo), which is also known as codoñate in areas of Catalan influence. Now, the Spanish word for quince is membrillo, which ...
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How can you tell whether prefixed ‘in-’ is the preposition ‘in’ or Indo-European ‘in-’?

Background The verb īnsum has the prefix in-. Prefixing in/in- to words, changes their meaning to ‘in’, ‘on’ et sim., or ‘un-’, ‘non’ et sim. (ɔ:¹ negation).² However, according to Wiktionary, the ...
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When I went to translate “Fraternity Officer” into Latin with a free online dictionary, and I came up with this

The translation the dictionary gave me was "Fraternitas Militaris, which I am not sure is correct. Can someone inform me if I am getting poor information and, what the correct translation would be?" I ...
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Is this a correct Latin Translation for my businesses motto?

It is supposed to read as "Be Professional, Be Firm, Be Sociable, Be Capable" which I got to be Lorem potest, stabiles estote, et Sociable, possit. Is this correct?