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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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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?
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Was the name “Sasan/Sassan” often spelled with a double S in Latin or Greek?

A question on ELU (“Sassanian” vs. “Sasanian”) brought up the fact that the name of Sāsān has often been spelled in English with a double S in the middle: "Sassan". (The same goes for related words ...
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Does this translation make sense?

I am in charge of a professional chiropractic fraternity, and I would like to have coins made with the Latin version of "sincere fellowship in chiropractic medicine" on the coin. This is the best I ...
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Need translation Please of: Promissary of the future

Dear Translation Helpers, Could you please help me translate "Promissary of the Future" into true Latin? I have looked the words up, but they don't seem to make sense as the syntax is different and I ...
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Is the palatalization of “d” between “a”, “i” or “o” and “ie” or “iu” only a Medieval Latin phenomenon?

In Italian and the other Romance languages, the palatalization especially concerns "c" and "g" before "e" or "i". But some words in Italian (or early Italian in the case of meriggio) show the same for ...
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Requests with 'posse'

In English and many other languages, asking "can you close the window?" is not an inquiry on the ability to close the window but rather a request to do so. Can the (classical) Latin posse be used the ...
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What is a “monster” in Latin?

English "monster" comes from Latin monstrum "divine omen, supernatural occurrence", from moneō "warn". Later this shifted to the meaning it has in English, a horrifying or evil creature. But before ...
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Is there support for claiming -gn- was pronounced as /ŋ/ in classical Latin?

According to what I have learned, -gn- was commonly pronounced /ŋn/, e.g. [ˈmaŋ.nʊs] (magnus). However, this excerpt from Encyclopædia Britannica had me wondering: The sound represented by ng (...
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Are there attestations of Greco-Latin contact languages from antiquity?

When speakers of different languages meet they often develop some contact language or pidgin containing elements of both languages. Surely speakers of Greek and Latin met in the antiquity at several ...
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A classical Latin phrase for “all or nothing”

Is there a saying in classical Latin similar to "all or nothing"? I am aware of aut Caesar aut nihil, and that would be fine if it was classical. In most cases the era of origin is irrelevant, but I ...
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future passive imperative of a verb + fuit (perfect active indicative of 'sum') =?

Just to give you some language background from my side, I have not learned the Latin language at all, and my mother tongue is neither English nor any other Indo-European language. I am reading ancient ...
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How would I talk about supernatural “possession”?

Many stories, both ancient and modern, concern "possession": a supernatural entity of some sort takes over a human or animal body and controls it. Is there a Classical Latin word for this phenomenon? ...
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What is the equivalent of “Making someone feel he is indebted” in Greek?

There is a behavior that can arise when one does a favor for another person and after proceeds to put that person in a position they owe them something. Not to conflate in the "debt" or "indebtedness"...
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The idiom “poenas dare” is translated passively. Why?

I'm new to Latin. I've been learning for about a month. I'm wondering if anyone can explain why "poenas dare" is often translated as "to pay the penalties" instead of "to give the penalties". I feel ...
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How do you call your aunt's or uncle's spouse?

In Latin, a paternal aunt is an 'amita', a paternal uncle is a 'patruus', a maternal aunt is a 'matertera' and a maternal uncle is an 'avunculus'. However, how do you call each of these people's ...
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Is “que” or “et” better for a “God and Family” tattoo?

Hi I’m planning to have a tattoo and I would like to have a translation in Latin of “God and Family”. Which one is appropriate, "deo et familia" or "deo familiaque"?
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Is there a difference between prose stress and metric stress?

According to an earlier question, we do not know how stress was realized on classical Latin. It may have been dynamic (stressed syllables are louder), tonal (stress changes pitch), or a combination, ...
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How did dogs and wolves compare in the Roman mind?

The Romans knew both dogs and wolves. But how similar and how dissimilar did they think they were, as indicated by their literature? I am looking for an understanding about Roman views on dogs and ...
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What is “sense of humour” in Latin?

What would be a good classical Latin translation of "sense of humour"? I can find words for "humour", but I am not sure how to go about "sense of". Would one of the humour words be adequate on its own ...
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Are the pronoun-looking forms of quire attested?

The verb quire is conjugated like ire, and there are some forms that look like an interrogative or relative pronoun. Those forms are quīs and quī. Are these attested in classical ...
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What is “legendary” in Latin?

The English word "legendary" obviously comes from Latin, from the gerundive legendus, "that which is to be read". (Less clumsy wording ideas are welcome!) I might base a translation of the noun "...
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Ablative considered as an accusative

In my Latin-Italian dictionary I found this expression: arva sanguineo gyro scribo that is translated as: I draw a blood circle on the ground. But, gyro is an ablative. Why is it considered as ...
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Can I use abesse with hinc, inde, and others?

Is it idiomatic in classical Latin to combine the verb abesse with hinc, inde, or other such pronouns meaning "from somewhere"? This is surely an at least intelligible way to say "to be away from here/...
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Is 'hoc' ever pronounced short?

I have learned that the neuter nominative and accusative hoc is actually pronounced as if it were hocc. But was it exclusively hocc? Was it ever pronounced as the hoc that it looks like in the ...
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How would you say “Free Spirit” in Latin?

While I believe there may have not been a term of "Free Spirit" in Latin, if we were to translate it and retain its English meaning using Latin words, what would it be?
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Coincidental similarities between Latin and other ancient languages?

There are cases where a word in another language means something else in another one. I do not mean cognates or loan words having close but not identical meanings, but two words in different languages ...
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A quote for a relieving loss of a loved one

Is there a poem or other passage of classical Latin about the following sentiment? I prefer poetry, but good hits in prose are also welcome. It need not — and indeed should not — be the ...
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Spelling aquaeductus together

The word aquaeductus can also be spelled aquae ductus or ductus aquae, possibly with the plural aquarum (see Lewis and Short). Spelling it separately in either order makes sense, as the aqueduct is a ...
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Latin translation for “Forwards, into a standardized world”

I'm currently doing a project for which I'd love to use some Latin phrases as mottos. One of these would be "Forwards, into a standardized world". Using some dictionaries and wild guesswork, the best ...
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Which verb do insects fly with?

Having read a question (and answer) about flies flying, I started to wonder whether flies would really fly with the verb volare. I had always somehow imagined that volare referred to more elegant and ...
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-ne as an Indication of Fear in a Question

I was recently taking a sort of multiple choice quiz on just general Latin knowledge, and I came upon one question that threw me for a loop, so to speak. The question asked which of the options best ...