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Questions tagged [history]

For questions related to history. Bear in mind that questions about only history are off-topic; there should be a connection to Latin.

9
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1answer
107 views

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 ...
7
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0answers
100 views

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 ...
11
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0answers
49 views

Dating the penult rule

When did initial-syllable stress give way to the penult rule? W.S. Allen suggests that the former persisted "until around Plautus's time", and provides metrical evidence from Plautus and Terence that ...
9
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3answers
134 views

Did the Romans 'tip' for good service?

I need to refer in Latin to the modern practice of 'tipping' in return for good service. I am well aware of words and phrases for 'reward', which are essentially correct for my purpose, but I should ...
3
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1answer
40 views

Did Scipio Africanus prevent a betrayal of Rome?

According to Wikipedia: On hearing that Lucius Caecilius Metellus and other young nobles were planning to go overseas to serve some king, Scipio [Africanus] stormed into the meeting, and at sword-...
7
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1answer
108 views

Why didn't Byzantine emperors after Justinian II have a Latin name?

Justinian II had the Latin name Flavius Iustinianus Augustus and was the last Byzantine emperor from the Heraclian Dynasty, but his successor Philippikos Bardanes did not have a Latin name. Why didn't ...
4
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0answers
40 views

Did Alexander the Great change the meaning of “Hellenes”?

The Hellenistic era was launched by Alexander the Great, and his death is usually defined as the starting point. The Greek word Hellenes (Ἕλληνες) was in use before, during, and after the Hellenistic ...
5
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0answers
43 views

Who produced and sold ancient Roman literature?

A number of books were written in the Roman antiquity, and I would like to understand how they came to be. This question does not concern Latin language directly, but a technical aspect related to its ...
5
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0answers
71 views

What form of Greek was studied by ancient Romans?

Greek is not a single language, but it had various dialects and evolved significantly over time. What form of Greek did the Romans who spoke classical Latin study? Was it contemporary for the purpose ...
5
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1answer
101 views

Has any Latin literature survived through the Arabs?

Some pieces of Greek literature have survived only through the Arabs. But is there any classical Latin literature that has survived the same way? This could mean translations from Latin to Arabic and ...
5
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1answer
58 views

How has literature helped archaeology?

Is there a good example case where extant ancient literature has helped understand archaeological findings? This could mean, for example, a Roman author mentioning a tool and its use, which has helped ...
5
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0answers
83 views

Does the phrase “orbis terrarum” reflect Ancient Roman knowledge that the Earth is a sphere?

Does the phrase orbis terrarum reflect Ancient Roman knowledge that the Earth is a sphere? Some kinds of evidence that might suggest an answer: Did people say orbis terrarum for the world before they ...
7
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2answers
105 views

Did the ancients write that their sculpture is painted?

I have the impression that for a long time scholars thought that ancient Greek and Roman sculpture was unpainted, and marble statues would be wholly white, but the modern consensus is that sculpture ...
11
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1answer
180 views

Did the Romans ever distinguish long vowels in writing?

In most modern writing of Latin, long vowels are distinguished from short vowels by using macrons (e.g, āēīōū). As far as I know, however, ancient authors rarely, if ever, distinguished long vowels ...
4
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0answers
42 views

Why was the period between Domitian and Commodus so happy and prosperous?

In my introduction to Meditations, Edward Gibbon is quoted as saying that the period between the death of Domitian and the accession of Commodus was the happiest and most prosperous in human history. ...
5
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2answers
62 views

What surviving sources describe the civil war between Caesar and Pompeius?

The famous Civil War is best known from Caesar's own account of it. But we also have Lucan's epic Pharsalia, and a fairly thorough account in Cassius Dio's histories. Livy's account, and likely many ...
3
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0answers
17 views

Are there meaningful differences in meaning and usability between 'calculare' and 'computare'?

Is there any meaningful difference, from the point of view of classical philology (not from the point of view of contemporary usages and dictionaries which more or less seem to consider them synonyms) ...
3
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0answers
65 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 ...
5
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1answer
181 views

How do we know that the correspondence of Seneca and St. Paul was a forgery?

There is ancient but discredited tradition that St. Paul and Seneca the Younger corresponded. Here is the Latin text along with an English translation. (Or this better side-by-side edition.) St. ...
6
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1answer
81 views

Contradictory interpretations of a charter by King Robert the Bruce circa 1314 in medieval Latin

The Charter can be found in Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum Vol 1, Appendix i, #71. It reads: "Carta Malcolmi Comitis de Levenax. Robertus etc. Cum concessimus Malcolmo comiti de Levenax ...
4
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0answers
37 views

The simultaneity of democracy in Athens and Rome

A period of tyranny came to an end in Athens in 510 BC when the tyrant Hippias was expelled. The last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown in 509 BC and the Roman Republic was born....
3
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1answer
54 views

Aeneis instead of “Augusteis”

I've heard that Augustus originally wanted an "Augusteis" from Vergil. I know that in the end Augustus really liked the Aeneis, but is there any known reason why exactly Vergil decided to write an "...
8
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1answer
264 views

Did Boethius write in Classical, Late, or Medieval Latin?

Did Boethius write in Classical, Late, or Medieval Latin? His style does not appear medieval in the Peter of Spain sense of Medieval Latin; however, it does not appear to be classical in the ...
5
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1answer
93 views

How was Trajan's comic called?

Trajan's column contains a famous spiral relief. The relief is organized into panels — there are no lines for panel boundaries, but the composition makes the panel structure quite clear. The ...
23
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4answers
3k views

Why does Latin have five different noun declensions?

Do they originate in particular dialects or languages that influenced Latin? Is the question even answerable? With any degree of certainty? Just curious.
18
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1answer
1k views

A story of a king who wanted to simplify Latin grammar

I vaguely remember reading a story years ago, and it was something like this: A king in medieval Europe knew some Latin but made mistakes. I think there was something like him writing plurals ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Why doesn't Latin have words for “Yes” and “No”?

I mean, it seems like pretty elementary words that can occur in different type of situations. Why wouldn't they exist ?
12
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1answer
278 views

When did the ligature for 'et' switch to the character '&'?

Firstly, I hope this question is within the scope of this exchange. I know that the character '&' predates its English name "ampersand". I have read that the name 'ampersand' had "entered common ...
5
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0answers
77 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?
12
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1answer
3k views

When and how much did Romans speak Greek?

Here are a few historical facts that most amateur ancient historians are aware of: The Romans began speaking Latin. After the conquest of Alexander the Great, Greek became a "lingua franca" in the ...
4
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1answer
348 views

Ergo, ex nihilo aliquid et ex nihilo nihil fit

I want to say, "Ergo, something comes from nothing and nothing comes from nothing." Is it correct to translate this as: "Ergo, ex nihilo aliquid et ex nihilo nihil fit"? I'm aware that "ex nihilo ...
5
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1answer
46 views

Eleatic arguments (argumenta Eleatica)?

I want to know how to say "Eleatic arguments" as well as how to say "Eleatistic arguments". Right now, all I can come up with for the former is "argumenta Eleatica", and I have no clue about the ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Out of nothing comes something (Ex quidem nihil fit?)

If "ex nihilo nihil fit" means "out of nothing comes nothing" then how would one say "out of nothing comes something"? The best I can come up with is "ex quidem nihil fit." Is that translation correct?...
8
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1answer
243 views

Modus Barbara, Modus Celarent, et Modus Darii: (Modi Barbara, Celarent, et Darii)?

Modus Barbara, Modus Celarent, and Modus Darii are names of valid syllogisms in the medieval taxonomy of valid syllogisms. I'm wondering how to say: "Moduses Barbara, Celarent, and Darii." As far as I'...
2
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1answer
59 views

Is it correct to say, “Additionem in prima, secunda, et tertia syllogismi”?

Is it correct to say, "Additionem in prima, secunda, et tertia syllogismi"? I'm trying my very best to say, "The addition of the first, second, and third syllogisms."
8
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1answer
132 views

'Conclusio sequitur ex premissis' or 'sequitur conclusio ex premissis'?

I'd like to know how best to translate "the conclusion follows from the premises". 'Conclusio sequitur ex premissis', 'sequitur conclusio ex premissis', or something else entirely?
8
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1answer
62 views

Translation of Samuel Garth's Harveian oration

On this website there is an excerpt from Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets, quoting Samuel Garth (who was later to become personal physician to King George I) in his address to the Royal College of ...
11
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2answers
310 views

What does a moderator do?

Classical Latin has the word moderator, which refers to someone who manages, rules, governs, directs, or moderates. I assume it does not refer to all kinds of managers, governors and such. I also ...
6
votes
2answers
169 views

When did Latin mottoes first appear?

Latin mottos have been popular in Europe for centuries, but I have never seen anything comparable to a motto from the Roman era. When did first Latin mottos appear? (Examples of individual early ...
9
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1answer
281 views

Translation of a passage related to the crusades

I am a historian, and I came across a text from Bauldric of Dol, a medieval historian. This text is about the crusades. I have been unable to translate the following passage. Could someone here help ...
10
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2answers
691 views

How do we know that Kalendae is the first day of a month?

I have been told that Kalendae is the first day of a month. However, the Latin dates — which was discussed in this other question — alone do not make this obvious. Dates are expressed by ...
19
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1answer
396 views

Why did scientists abandon Latin in their publications?

Whereas the Latin language was used by almost every scientist until the 18th century, this is a fact that since then the use of Latin in scientific publication has fastly decreased: the best example ...
14
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2answers
1k views

What is the first text considered Italian instead of Latin?

What is the earliest text that is considered to be written in Italian (or a predecessor thereof), and what distinguishes it from Latin? I would like to understand the first signs of Latin evolving ...
8
votes
2answers
213 views

Independence in classical Latin

Next year is the centennial of the independence of Finland, and I would like to learn how to speak of independence of countries in Latin. It seems to me that the Latin words independens and ...
6
votes
1answer
613 views

Inscriptions in statues along Via dei Fori Imperiali

I am interested in a couple of statues in Rome. They are on the north side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, between Via Cavour and Piazza Venezia. If my memory serves me well, they are of key figures in ...
7
votes
3answers
147 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 ...
6
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1answer
105 views

Are there historical characters in Aeneis?

Are any of the characters in the main timeline of Aeneis (or Aeneid) historical, that is, known or strongly believed to have really existed? I want to exclude prophecies of later eras in Roman history....
10
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1answer
141 views

Mediaeval Latin adopted the Greek word 'grapheus' as '-gravius' (which led to Dutch/German 'graaf/Graf', “count”); where and when did this happen?

Philippa (2003–2009) says about the Dutch word graaf, "count", that it came from Greek grapheus "writer/scribe", through Mediaeval Latin -gravius, "royal administrative official, overseer". Now I ...
6
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1answer
193 views

Where and when does the “Delphinum natare doces” proverb originate from?

The first occurrence of "Delphinum natare doces" I could find is in Erasmus' Adagia, after year 1500. Due to the nature of this book, the proverb itself must be much older than that. Where and when ...
10
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1answer
417 views

Does any historical Latin-based sign language exist?

Historically, has there ever been a "Latin Sign Language"? Perhaps the Romans developed one, or maybe the Catholic Church did so at some point? Perhaps suggesting "no," Wikipedia's list doesn't seem ...