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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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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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1answer
149 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 ...
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1answer
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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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0answers
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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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0answers
447 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 ...
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0answers
69 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 ...
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0answers
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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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0answers
106 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, ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
83 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?
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0answers
65 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. [...
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0answers
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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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0answers
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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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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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],...
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0answers
47 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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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
273 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 ...
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0answers
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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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0answers
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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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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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0answers
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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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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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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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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
38 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 ...
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0answers
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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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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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0answers
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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 ...