Questions tagged [classical-latin]

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

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54
votes
5answers
3k views

Are “-que” and “et” equivalent?

I was taught that one can use the '-que' suffix to string together multiple words, in a similar way to putting 'et' between them. Are these two equivalent? Did one have a connotation in classical (...
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 ...
40
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4answers
9k views

What punctuation was used in Classical Latin?

Many Classical Latin textbooks typeset their texts with (small and capital letters and) a broad selection of punctuation, like period ., comma ,, colon :, semicolon ;, exclamation mark !, question ...
14
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2answers
559 views

What is the difference between -us and -io?

One can derive nouns from verbs by attaching -us or -io to the perfect participle stem. For example, movere gives rise to motus (fourth declension) and motio. The meanings of these derived words are ...
10
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1answer
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Were 'th' and 'ch' aspirated in classical Latin?

I have been taught that 'th' and 'ch' were pronounced just like 't' and 'c' in classical Latin, with no aspiration. The answer to this earlier question confirms that 't' and 'c' had indeed little or ...
17
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4answers
359 views

Did the Romans derive verbs from names?

I know the Romans did derive verbs from nouns (laudare, finire, lucere…), but did they ever derive verbs from names? The Greeks did, for example forming homerizein (ὁμηρίζ&...
19
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1answer
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Are there examples of passive imperative forms of non-deponent verbs in ancient literature?

Imperative forms and deponent verbs are quite common ancient Latin literature, and imperative forms of deponent verbs also occur. But are there examples of passive imperative forms of non-deponent ...
17
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3answers
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Non-typographical evidence of V being pronounced as [w]

According to a consensus of Latin scholars, the letter V in ancient Latin was pronounced as [w]. This seems to make sense, because there was no distinguishing between V and U, so the letter V could ...
33
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2answers
479 views

What gender should a predicate adjective be to agree with a series of things with different genders?

I'd like the translate the following sentence into Latin: Pompeii, Rome, and Herculaneum are visited by the boys. However, since these three cities have different genders, I'm struggling to choose ...
11
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2answers
3k views

What are the Latin names for modern countries?

With the Olympics starting this week, I got interested in all the countries of the world. Naturally, I would like to know the Latin names for modern countries. I have only been able to find a few ...
12
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2answers
709 views

The lowest form of humor

Many Ancient Greek jokes are preserved in the Philogelos, ranging from wordplay to stereotypical foreigners to utter nonsense. And certain epigrams from Lucillius and Argentarius contain excellent/...
8
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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.
32
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3answers
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How do we know how the Romans pronounced Latin?

A quick Google Search says plenty of things about Roman Latin pronunciation, and since it's an edu domain I'm inclined to believe it. However, the closest to citing a source it gets is saying "we know ...
25
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2answers
5k views

What's the difference between vel, aut, -ve, et cetera?

So I see "vel", "aut", and "-ve" being used (mostly) interchangeably in the Latin I read. Is there any idiomatic difference, or can they be used interchangeably? For example, is it valid Latin (and ...
11
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1answer
476 views

Was elision specific to verse in classical Latin?

The rigid poetic meters used by ancient poets strongly indicate that elision is done (almost) every time one word ends in a vowel and the next one begins with another — with the usual exceptions ...
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?
10
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3answers
300 views

Comparison of participles

Participles behave much like adjectives. Do they also have comparative and superlative forms? They are easy enough to form: ferentior, dicturissimus. More precisely, are any comparatives or ...
7
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2answers
408 views

How was “VV” pronounced?

Most instances of vv in Latin seem to fall into three categories: It's in the combination qvu or ngvu, as in eqvus, pronounced /u/ It's actually vu, a consonant followed by a vowel, as in parvus It's ...
4
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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 ...
3
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0answers
85 views

Is active periphrastic conjugation compulsory in consecutio temporum?

There is a rule which I have learned to know and love by the name consecutio temporum, and it governs the tense of a conjunctive predicate in (many) subordinate clauses. All three Latin Grammars I ...
3
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1answer
74 views

Stem for derivatives like figura, statura and cultura

I learned in a recent question that derived nouns like figura, statura and cultura do not always look like the future participle but are actually formed from a different stem. Examples of differences: ...
27
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7answers
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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.
19
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2answers
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How do you say “yes” and “no” in Classical Latin?

I'm wondering how the Romans would have said "yes" as in "yes please" or "no" as in "no thank you". I don't know if they would have said it exactly like that, but what would they have said if they had ...
17
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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, ...
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 ...
9
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1answer
235 views

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 ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Where to find ancient mathematics in Latin?

I am a professional mathematician and an avid Latinist, and I would like to be able to read and write mathematics in Latin. I prefer classical style, so I would like to read some ancient mathematical ...
11
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2answers
424 views

Is -um (instead of -ōrum) a typical genitive plural ending outside of poetry?

I understand that Vergil often uses the -um genitive plural ending for some second declension nouns, instead of -ōrum. For example: huc delecta virum sortiti corpora furtim (Aeneid, Book II, line ...
8
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1answer
164 views

Which mora of a stressed long vowel or diphthong bears the emphasis?

When a stress falls on a long vowel or a diphthong as in, for example: dīcō (IPA /ˈdiː.koː/) coepiō (IPA: /ˈkoe̯.pi.oː/) should I think that the emphasis: falls on the first mora, falls on the ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Did the Romans have a “question mark”?

Were questions in written classical Latin ever indicated by anything other than the meanings of the words1 and the context? That is, was there a "question mark"? Here a "question mark" can mean some ...
5
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1answer
166 views

Plura or pluria?

Before answering this recent question about the US motto, I had to check whether the neuter version of plures is plura or pluria. I had recalled right: plura appears to be indeed the sole form used in ...
4
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2answers
170 views

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 ...
14
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1answer
702 views

Examples of the use of Claudian letters (Ⅎ, Ↄ, Ⱶ)

Emperor Claudius introduced three additional letters to the Latin alphabet: Ⅎ, Ↄ, and Ⱶ. What are some examples of the words in which these letters were used?
13
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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 ...
12
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5answers
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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 ...
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 ...
12
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2answers
618 views

How do the verbs do and δίδωμι come from *deh₃-?

I was a little surprised to find that the PIE root of do and δίδωμι is *deh₃-, not *do-. How did we get the "o" vowel sound from eh₃? I don't actually know how to pronounce h₃, but I'm assuming that *...
12
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1answer
130 views

Can a verbum deponens go along with an accusativus?

In Plinius I encountered: "Confitentes iterum ac tertio interrogavi supplicium minatus" Is supplicium some sort of accusativus belonging to minatus, which comes from deponens minor? If a form is ...
8
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2answers
288 views

Are vowels long before “gn”?

Allen and Greenough, §10d, provide a general rule: A vowel before ns, nf, gn, is long: as in cōnstāns, īnferō, māgnus [emphasis modified] This seems to agree with Priscian: 'gnus' quoque vel '...
7
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2answers
2k views

What are the names of the fingers in classical Latin?

What are the names of the five fingers in classical Latin? Some fingers may have several names, some may have none; I place no restrictions on the numbers of translations. Googling gives some answers, ...
6
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1answer
116 views

Synizesis in perfect tense 'ui'

Can synizesis happen when the perfect stem ends in 'u' and the ending starts with a short 'i'? For example, can the 'ui' in fuisti be synizesized1 into a diphthong? In my understanding the two vowels ...
6
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1answer
173 views

Why is “paeniteo” considered more correct than “poeniteo”?

Through answers to another question, I came across Lewis & Short's definition of paeniteo, which begins: paenĭtĕo (less correctly poen- ) L&S say that it comes from the Greek ποινή, which ...
6
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1answer
114 views

Words that unexpectedly but consistently scan long

I learned from TKR's answer to this question about neuter endings that the neuter pronoun hoc is pronounced like hocc, causing it to be scanned long despite having a short vowel. I had never heard of ...
12
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3answers
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Which verbs have reduplicated perfect stems?

Certain verbs, such as curro, have reduplicated perfect stems (such as cucurri). Other verbs, such as facio, fero had a reduplicated perfect stem in Old Latin (as seen on the Praeneste fibula) which ...
11
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1answer
189 views

Can you place “et” inside a prepositional phrase?

I became curious about this question as I was translating a passage written by a textbook author. The passage begins, Poeta Ovidius fabulam de dea Latona et de femina Niobe narrat. (Latin via Ovid)...
11
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1answer
2k views

Roman uses of diacritical marks

In what circumstances did Romans use diacritical marks, like macrons, in their writing? In particular how common was it to use diacritics in naming letters?
9
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1answer
1k views

What is the difference between Spiritus and Anima?

Both spiritus and anima seem to have the definition of soul, but it is mentioned on numerous sites that they are different from one another. What is the difference?
9
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3answers
250 views

Can the ablative take a non-human agent or a human instrument?

In the study notes for chapter 6 of Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, I read about the ablative of agent and the ablative of instrument or means: In the passive, as we have seen, the personal agent ...
8
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1answer
193 views

Variations on the diminutive: -olus and -ulus

The usual Latin diminutive suffix is -ulus (or -ula or -ulum). However, it sometimes appears as -olus, like in filiolus, aculeolus, petiolus, and bestiola. (And perhaps Venezuela, Venetiola, is a ...
8
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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?