Questions tagged [classical-latin]

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

29 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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8
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269 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., ...
6
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486 views

What is the word for “reason” and what resonance does it have in Roman culture?

I find it interesting that the French expression avoir raison shares an etymology with the English words "reason" and "rational". In a post-truth political era, it is refreshing that the French ...
6
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0answers
70 views

How common was synizesis in classical poetry?

In synizesis two vowels that would normally be pronounced separately are pronounced as one without any change in spelling. This happens sometimes in Latin poetry and it can be recognized from the ...
5
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0answers
113 views

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 ...
5
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0answers
75 views

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 ...
5
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0answers
113 views

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, ...
5
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0answers
41 views

damnatio memoriae

The Wikipedia article on the subject notes that the term damnatio memoriae, referring to the relegation of a person's name to oblivion, as if they never existed, is a neo-Latin expression first ...
4
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0answers
129 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
45 views

An idiom for “on the road”

I spend much of my time travelling, and that brings all kinds of challenges. For example, it can be hard to follow my preferred diet and I don't have access to my books. How could I express such ...
4
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0answers
107 views

GalliJa? Was “i” between consonant and vowel pronounced “ij”?

How was consonant + i + vowel pronounced in Classical Latin - for example, in the words Gallia and diurnus? I googled a bit and found videos sounding for me like [gallija], [gallia] and even [gallja],...
4
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84 views

How was Latin taught in Western Europe in the 17th century?

Just like that, how exactly was Latin taught in Western Europe? Which method was used? Which pronunciation?
4
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125 views

Are causal relative clauses stylistically preferred to causal clauses?

In Latin a relative clause can be causal and the causal nature can be emphasized with quippe, ut, utpote or praesertim. A causal relative clause can always be replaced with a causal clause, but not ...
4
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290 views

Counterpoint to: De mortuis nil nisi bene [dicendum]

There's an old, and I guess relatively famous, aphorism "De mortuis nil nisi bene dicendum" ("Of the dead speak nothing but good"). I'm wondering if there are any classical Latin counterpoints or ...
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' ...
3
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146 views

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/...
3
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45 views

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 ...
3
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60 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
46 views

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. '...
3
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0answers
110 views

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 (...
3
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75 views

Did the ancient Romans have a myth about returning to Rome?

There is a modern myth (or perhaps rather folklore, superstition or something else) that if one throws a coin in Fontana di Trevi, faith will make them come back to Rome. Was there anything similar in ...
3
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78 views

Did the Romans give names to instances of natural disasters?

It is common to name storms. For example, a hurricane called Harvey is now over Texas. On the other hand, ancient people named deities related to various places and natural phenomena. There might be a ...
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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0answers
39 views

Development of the figurative meaning of derivare

If I understand correctly, derivare means literally "to lead water from a river" (from rivus). L&S gives examples of this literal meaning, but it also lists figurative uses. Only the figurative ...
2
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2answers
57 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 ...
2
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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 ...
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" ...
2
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0answers
103 views

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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38 views

Did the Romans distinguish derivation and loan?

I learned from this question that the Romans used the same verb mutuari both for loaning words from Greek and deriving new words within Latin. Are there any examples in classical literature that make ...
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73 views

What is the relation between -men and -mentum?

When answering this question about incrementum, I recalled the similarity of the suffixes -mentum and -men. If the linked Wiktionary pages are to be trusted, they are etymologically related, both ...