Questions tagged [classical-latin]

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

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2
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0answers
12 views

When did “virgo” gain its sexual meaning?

The primary meaning I associate with virgo, virginis is "young woman", perhaps a bit older than a puella but not yet a mulier. However, the descendants of this word (in English and the Romance ...
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2answers
62 views

Did the Romans ever use 'decimatio' in a generalized sense?

Decimātiō was a Roman term for a military punishment where a group was reduced by a tenth. But in modern English, decimation is used generically to mean 'greatly reduced or damaged', often in ...
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2answers
598 views

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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3answers
146 views

How was “gnosco” pronounced?

I've heard it said before that Classical Latin /gn/ between vowels (as in magnus) was probably realized as [ŋn] (as in "hangnail"). This is supported by Romance descendants and the spelling of certain ...
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1answer
46 views

Which word best translates spark as in a spark of energy?

Any latin, my tags aren't a mistake. The more variations the better thanks
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1answer
64 views

Latin expression for “carrying something on one's back”

In Spanish, the word cuesta is nowadays used as slope. Nonetheless, the etymology of the word indicates that it comes fom Latin costa, ae meaning "a side" but also "a rib". In fact, an old meaning for ...
21
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1answer
2k views

How do we know how gn was pronounced in Classical Latin?

As far as I am aware, the classical pronunciation of -gn- (as in magnus) is not [gn] but [ŋn]. How do we know that this is in fact how -gn- was pronounced?
5
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1answer
113 views

Is it better to memorize verb's 1st person perfect tense?

Is it necessary to memorize verb's perfect form like paro, parare, paravi? Or can I predict a verb's perfect forms if I remember the rules by which perfect stems are formed. Like, the suffix -v/iv or ...
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3answers
3k views

Historicity doubted by Romans

The Roman historians seem happy to mix history with myth with no discussion on the reliability of one's sources — or even a mention of the sources in the first place. I would like to imagine ...
2
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1answer
50 views

What is “password” in classical Latin?

The concept of passwords predates computers: To gain access to, say, some heavily guarded premises, one may need to be able to say a secret phrase to the guards. I would imagine this concept was not ...
7
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1answer
82 views

What is the difference between conjunctive present and perfect with ne?

I have seen both present and perfect forms of the conjunctive for negative orders or requests, for example ne canas and ne cecineris. What is the difference? Is one more an order and the other more a ...
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2answers
117 views

Are there attested prohibition signs?

Are there preserved inscriptions or other such texts from ancient Rome that contain a prohibition? I would prefer original signs that have survived, but mentions in the literature are also interesting....
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270 views

How would Marcus Aurelius have pronounced his Latin?

It is my understanding that Julius Caesar, Cicero, Octavian (Augustus) would have pronounced Latin in a manner that is decidedly Classical, characterised by: "v" as /w/ "c" and "g" always hard (i.e., ...
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5answers
738 views

How did Latin sound?

Does anybody know how normal Latin dialog sounded — not the oratory or ecclesiastical versions? Are there any audio files that you recommend?
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2answers
78 views

Can “ave, vire” be used colloquially as “hey, bro”?

There's a Spanish webcomic called ¡Eh, tío!, an expression that can be translated into English as hey, man or maybe as hey, bro. The webcomic had some time ago a story arc set in an alternate universe ...
6
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1answer
112 views

When did the classical period of Latin end?

When did the classical period of Latin end? I found that it is different in various books. Wikipedia: 75 BC–AD 3rd century Oxford Latin Dictionary: ? BC–AD 200 Lewis and Short: unknown Allen and ...
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1answer
78 views

To What Extent Was Classical Latin Affected by Classical Greek?

To what extent was Classical Latin influenced by Classical Greek in areas such as pronunciation, grammar, literature, etc.? I would appreciate a quick overview of the list of influences Greek had on ...
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2answers
106 views

How did the Romans call the days of the week?

As a prequel to this other question, as suggested by Joonas Ilmavirta I would like to know how did the Romans call the days of the week (if they had names at all) in the different systems they had. ...
3
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49 views

Did the Romans abbreviate the days of the week?

In current Spanish when we have to abbreviate the days of the week using only one character, in most places (but not everywhere) to tell apart martes (Tuesday) from miércoles (Wednesday) we use 'M' ...
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2answers
758 views

Do we know how 'ng' was pronounced in classical Latin?

How was 'ng' pronounced in classical Latin and how do we know? I believe metric considerations strongly indicate that it was not a short consonant (/ŋ/ or other), but I can still think of two ...
23
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1answer
2k views

What are the classical names of the letters of the Latin alphabet?

When I refer to letters in Latin, I (sadly) use the English names for them. If I knew the Latin names, I could apply Classical Latin pronunciation rules to say them properly. So, how was each ...
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2answers
59 views

“ferro se petentem”

Valete, I have this sentence (written by Ulpianus in Digest 9.2.5) : Sed et si quemcumque alium ferro se petentem quis occiderit But if someone (quis) killed anyone else (quemcumque alium) when ...
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6answers
14k views

How did the Romans wish good birthday?

I know how to wish a happy birthday in Latin: Bonum diem natalem! (There are other options as well.) It just occurred to me that I do not recall coming across any ancient birthday congratulations. Do ...
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1answer
240 views

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum – Lucretius

I saw this quote in someone's forum sig file (signature): "Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum." - Lucretius Curious, I consulted Google Translate, which my professional translator brother cautions ...
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1answer
66 views

Branches of Roman military in Latin

The military force of a country is often divided in branches such as an army, a navy, and an air force. There are many other branches out there, but the point is that I am looking for a division of ...
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3answers
903 views

When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

It's well established that the consonantal u (or v) was pronounced as [w] in Classical Latin (i.e., w as in wine). Of course, Romance languages developed voiced fricatives out of this u-consonant, ...
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1answer
41 views

Understanding a sacrifice in Horace's carmen 1.5

In Carmina 1, poem 5, Horace writes about an untrustworthy and seducing lady. He ends the poem in: (...) Me tabula sacer votiva paries indicat uvida suspendisse potenti vestimenta maris deo. ...
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2answers
165 views

Translating “God knows how much/long” and similar

Consider these examples: Mr. Johnson has been the janitor for God knows how long. Right behind this park is the new bridge that cost God knows how much. You can replace "God knows how" with "...
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4answers
218 views

What exactly was a pastillus?

The English word "pastille" (and related words in other languages) obviously derives from the Latin pastillus. I know pastillus had a similar purpose to today's pastille, and, if I remember what I ...
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0answers
50 views

I need help translating two sentences into Latin [closed]

Phrase 1 : Life is in the doing. Phrase 2 : The wood belongs to the families who have their roots in it.
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2answers
303 views

“ne paelici suspectaretur” (Tacitus)

Tacitus, Annales 4.3: pellit domo Seianus uxorem Apicatam, ex qua tres liberos genuerat, ne paelici suspectaretur. The translation on Perseus (Church and Brodribb) gives: Sejanus, to avert his ...
6
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2answers
260 views

“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 ...
2
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1answer
120 views

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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2answers
2k views

How do I know where to place macrons?

How do I use macrons? I understand what they do and how they do it, I just don't understand how you know when and where to place them.
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0answers
47 views

Are there specific exceptions to the rule of lengthening a vowel before “ns” or “nf”?

A while ago, I wrote an answer summarizing my understanding of the rule that a vowel is long in Classical Latin before ns or nf. As far as I know, this rule applied very regularly. But I'm not sure ...
4
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1answer
151 views

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. [...
12
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1answer
723 views

Were voiceless stops (p, t, c, qu) aspirated in Classical Latin?

In English, the voiceless stops/plosives (p, t, k, "hard" c) are aspirated, particularly when beginning a word. That is, speakers release a burst of air when saying pop, tea, kaluha, or coffee (put ...
4
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1answer
37 views

Grammatical analysis of comparative parts (i.e. “tam … quam”, etc.)

I have the following sentence from Seneca, epistula 1, §2: "Cum placuerit fieri, toto illum pectore admitte; tam audaciter cum illo loquere quam tecum." However, I'm not sure what the "tam audaciter ...
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1answer
58 views

looking for a pair of texts in a Greek/Latin comedy

I'm looking for any pair of texts (Ancient Greek, Latin), meeting the following criteria: Both texts may be very brief. The Latin text should be a translation very close to the Greek text. The Greek ...
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7answers
11k views

How do you say “please” in Classical Latin?

I'm wondering how to say "please" in Classical Latin like "please" as in "can I PLEASE have that?" or "PLEASE go away" or something like that.
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3answers
69 views

Keep on dreaming

My niece is turning 18 and I want to get her a bracelet with something in Latin engraved. Im looking for something in the lines of "keep on dreaming". Can anyone help?
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2answers
337 views

Longest Text in Latin

What are the longest texts, say top 5, transmitted via manuscript from the Classical/Early Medieval period?
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3answers
216 views

“Fīliolō me auctum scito, salva Terentia”; what is “me” role in this phrase?

Is "Fīliolō me" the ablative of the phrase or "me" refers to "me auctum" in the accusative? If is in the ablative, how does it translates?
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5answers
3k views

Why is there no future perfect subjunctive in Latin?

Why is there no future perfect subjunctive verb form in classical Latin? I can't think of a time it would be used, but I can think of an English translation: "if subject were to have verbed, then ...
10
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2answers
207 views

-NL- and -LL- in Classical Latin

I just stumbled upon an old meta question about the name of our chat room, and a comment gave me the impression that the classical spelling would be conloquium rather than colloquium. (Let me ignore ...
5
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2answers
118 views

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 ...
8
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2answers
185 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
51 views

Latin original for “Would you have a great empire?” saying, by Publilius Syrus

Can someone provide the original Latin translation for Publilius Syrus's famous axiom, "Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself." I have searched online and not been able to find it in Latin....
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1answer
101 views

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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2answers
347 views

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 ...