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.

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10
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0answers
94 views

the kiskis and kankan debate: primary sources

There's a very famous story about how in the middle of the sixteenth century the Sorbonne University filed a legal claim to the Parlement de Paris re: the correct pronunciation of qu- in Latin, viz. ...
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1answer
83 views

How the Latin Hexameter was adopted and developed from the Greek?

In Wikipedia I stumbled upon quite surprising sentence: The hexameter came into Latin as an adaptation from Greek long after the practice of singing the epics had faded. Consequentially, the ...
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1answer
199 views

Maria mater Domini

The phrase "Maria mater Domini" appears in Pseudo-Papias Fragment X (A fragment attributed by J.B. Lightfoot to Papias of Lombardy, 1040s–1060s, author of the Elementarium Doctrinae ...
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What is the etymology of the Scythian word "hezios" meaning "covered"?

Pliny the Elder claimed, in the 6th book in the 19th chapter of "Naturalis Historia", that the name "Caucasus" comes from Scythian "kroi hezios" meaning "snow-...
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When did "si" become the standard word for "yes" in the Italian peninsula?

I am aware that classical Latin did not have words for "yes" and "no" in the same sense that English does. I know that they could express the idea of "yes" by either ...
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92 views

How did Jerome pronounce the Latin language?

Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) lived between the 4th and 5th centuries. He translated the Bible into Latin as the Vulgate (Biblia Vulgata). How would he have pronounced the Latin language? In ...
8
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1answer
220 views

What are some notable works never translated from Latin?

I guess most, if not all, of classical-period works that have survived, were translated. But I'm certain many of the medieval era works were never published in a language other than their Latin ...
36
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3answers
7k views

Could all soldiers in the Roman army actually speak Latin?

I am under the impression that men for the legions of the Roman Empire were conscripted across the empire, and so Latin could not have possibly been the first language to every soldier. But could all ...
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1answer
165 views

What was the latin command to plunder?

After the Gallic Wars, there existed a commanders order to plunder the cities of the vanquished. What was that Latin command?
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81 views

Did Romulus and Remus have other names?

Throughout Classical times, Romans would often have several names: one person might be identified by praenomen, nomen gentilicum, cognomen, agnomen, signum, and patronymic, all together. Were Roman ...
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1answer
140 views

What did the Romans think about new technology?

Are there any attested texts where a Roman comments on some new technology? The modern world sees a constant flux of them, but technological advancement was slower in antiquity and I do not recall ...
6
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1answer
132 views

Is there an etymological connection between "comitia" and "comes"?

In the Roman Republic, the word comitia was used for the various popular assemblies (e.g. comitia centuriata). I can't find any clear indication online as to its etymological roots. I was wondering ...
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147 views

What is "Lux Belli"?

In a certain old text dealing with the Spanish conquest of the Americas, I found the following phrase: El restituirle el derecho, y acciones de Patron, que le tiene quitado, y el Titulo de ...
6
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1answer
329 views

What did bishop Rémi say to Clovis?

When Clovis, the first king of Franks, stepped into the church where we was to be baptized, he was allegedly told by Rémi, bishop of Reims Depona colla, Sicamber. We were taught at school (in ...
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1answer
546 views

Meaning of "Spiritus Libertatis"

Another question from the frequent latin expressions in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Here a character is complaining about evil followers from Spiritus Libertatis. I saw that this could ...
9
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1answer
201 views

Which ancient Latin works survived into the Middle Ages or later but are now lost?

While reading Saint Aldhelm's 'Riddles' I saw a reference to Lucan's Orpheus, a Latin poem written in the first century AD. The seventh century writer Aldhelm had a copy of Orpheus, but it is now lost ...
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2k views

Origin of the Latin Language?

Latin is an Italic language which originated in the Italian peninsula, and was originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome located along the Mediterranean Sea. Similar to most European languages, ...
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84 views

How did the Romans salute the Republic?

Are there any known phrases that were used by Romans to celebrate or cheer for the Republic? Something like Ave Res Publica ? Or maybe they'd cheer for something else, like for the Senate or for the ...
8
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1answer
219 views

Extra initial Aeneid lines in 1662 M. de Marolles version

I have a 1662 version of the Aeneid, with Latin and French on facing pages, with the French having been translated by M. de Marolles, Abbé de Villeloin, [additional book info continues: À Paris, Chez ...
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3answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
64 views

Written evidence of a ten-month calendar

There is speculation that prior to the republic Roman calendar there was an earlier calendar instated by Romulus and consisting of ten months. I do not want to discuss here whether Romulus existed and ...
5
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1answer
117 views

Are there Roman accounts of Easter?

Now that it is Easter time, I wonder whether the Romans wrote about Easter. I am looking for non-Christian accounts in Latin describing the events of Jesus's death and subsequent resurrection. I ...
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1answer
2k views

Etymology of ambulance

For a while I have been curious about the etymology of the English word 'ambulance' since it seems to be derived from the Latin word 'ambulare' (to walk). This seems a strange origin for the word. ...
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1answer
148 views

Did the Romans mention any excavations?

The Romans wrote about history and recognized monuments from past eras both at home and abroad. But it occurs to me that I have never heard of them digging anything up — I fail to recall ...
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1answer
268 views

What was the standard ancient term for a thermopolium?

This page on thermopolia reports a quotation from Mary Beard, classics professor at Cambridge University: “The best way to escape a diet of bread, cheese and fruit, eaten in small lodginggs over a ...
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1answer
690 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 ...
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1answer
271 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 ...
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1answer
246 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 ...
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213 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 ...
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1answer
122 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-...
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1answer
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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 ...
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118 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 ...
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54 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 ...
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1answer
177 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 ...
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1answer
209 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
64 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 ...
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470 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 ...
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3answers
220 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 ...
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1answer
515 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 ...
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197 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. ...
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2answers
83 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 ...
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26 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) ...
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90 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 ...
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1answer
749 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. ...
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1answer
101 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 ...
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1answer
107 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....
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1answer
75 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 "...
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1answer
323 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 ...
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1answer
138 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 ...
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5k 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.