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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.

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9 votes
1 answer
214 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which modern language out of French, Italian, and Spanish is most similar to classical latin?

Since Spanish, Italian and French languages are all Romance Languages, which one of them is the most similar one to Classical Latin? I found this Diagram of the Romance Languages on Wikipedia.
2 votes
0 answers
75 views

Check my Latin: Note on Ovid’s use of the name Appias. (A fountain, a nymph, and a bunch of lawyers.)

Ovid uses the words Appias or Appiades on three occasions (Ars Amatoria 1.79-88 and 3.447-452; Remedia Amoris 659-660) to refer jokingly to the legal business conducted in the Forum of Julius Caesar. ...
5 votes
1 answer
186 views

Novo v. Novus v. Novum for demonym

What would be the correct or most appropriate demonym for someone who was from New Spain? I have seen “Nova Hispania” used for New Spain in some 17century maps but wikipedia also uses “Viceregnum ...
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Both 'masculus' and 'vir' mean man/male: what's the difference?

In Latin, masculus means male. Noun masculus m (genitive masculī); second declension a male (of humans or other animals) In Latin, vir also means male. Noun vir m (genitive virī); second ...
6 votes
3 answers
363 views

What other numeral systems were used in Classical Rome?

In a recent question, I asked what the symbol was used for a thousand in Classical Latin, because I had heard somewhere that it was not 'M' which is what we are currently taught is the symbol (Short ...
3 votes
0 answers
127 views

Autistic/schizoid in latin?

What did the Romans—ordinary people or historians like Herodianus and Plinius—call the people who today are considered, in the modern sense, "autistic", or "schizoid". In fact, how ...
8 votes
0 answers
679 views

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 ...
14 votes
1 answer
4k views

What was the symbol used for 'one thousand' in Ancient Rome?

I saw an episode of QI (Quite Interesting, a British 'quiz' show that just sort of presents trivia). I don't know the episode or when it was produced (I've searched for it on youtube but haven't found ...
7 votes
2 answers
553 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 ...
7 votes
0 answers
121 views

Roman awareness of the Italic branch

I've recently learned the Romans and Greeks were aware of their linguistic connection (aeolism). However, I couldn't find anything pertaining to their more obvious relationship with the Sabellic ...
1 vote
0 answers
62 views

Possibility of Vulgar Latin or Old Romanian origins of "Akoldo" and "Dir" in medieval Primary Chronicles of Kievan Rus

The names "Akoldo" (that's how he was called for the first time, and later he is mentioned as Askold) and "Dir" are mentioned as the first Varangian rulers of Kiev in the medieval ...
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

"Semitic languages" in Classical Latin

The term semiticus is attested in Rudimenta linguae Hebraicae (C. H. Vosen, 1883) but I am more interested in Classical Latin. In English, the expression "Syro-Arabian languages" is ...
4 votes
1 answer
222 views

On a Quote from St. Gregory and the Contextual Meaning of the Word `Operator'

Contained in St. Alphonsus Liguori's Dignity and Duties of the Priest or Selva, one finds the following passage in the section on "Sanctity Necessary for the Priest": But St. Bernard says, ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are the cases in Latin always six?

In a book about linguistics I've read this sentence: Each word has up to six different such 'cases', and each case has distinct endings for singular and plural. Now I'm pretty sure that when I ...
3 votes
2 answers
382 views

Is the word "pitikkus" (meaning small) attested in Vulgar (or other) Latin?

Being interested in the obscure etymology of popular Romanian word "pitic" (n.m. "dwarf", adj. "of small stature") I have oddly concentrated only on a possible Greek-...
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did the ancient Romans write on clay tablets?

I know that the most common writing media for the Latin language were papyrus, stone, wax and wood tablets. But, are there any clay tablets preserved to this day that are written in Latin? All I can ...
4 votes
1 answer
102 views

Philip III of France in Latin

Philip III of France is called "the Bold" ("le Hardi" in French). The Latin Wikipedia page translates: "Philippus Animosus" but I can't find any historical source using ...
23 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
10 votes
2 answers
928 views

Why is Latin more different and hard to learn for a Romance-language speaker than the other Romance languages?

I am a native Romanian and I can master more or less only English, French and Italian - while Spanish and Bulgarian are transparent to me: but German is not - nor Latin! It seems to me obvious that ...
6 votes
1 answer
368 views

Is the ancient word Greek πῐ́θηκος / píthēkos ("monkey") attested with the meaning "dwarf" more than once?

I am interested in the obscure etymology of popular Romanian word "pitic" (n.m. "dwarf", adj. "of small stature"). It might have a connection with the Latin line that led ...
11 votes
1 answer
553 views

What are some examples of famous brands in the ancient Roman world?

In the Wikipedia article about brands, they give a few different examples of brands that existed in antiquity. A couple examples are given for ancient Rome, such as Umbricius Scaurus, a manufacturer ...
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did the ancient inhabitants of Rome who spoke Latin refer to themselves as Latins?

In Ancient Rome (8th century BC to 5th century AD), did the inhabitants use the terms Roman and Latin synonymously to describe themselves as a people?
2 votes
1 answer
131 views

Meaning of old Greek neighborhoods' names

I was curious about the meaning/origins/etymology of the names of some of the well-known historic neighborhoods of central Athens. I can assume that due to their age, there's a connection to classical ...
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

Are tone indicators attested in Latin?

In English it's possible to use emojis or "tags" (/j, /hj, /s, etc.) to indicate that a sentence is a joke, sarcastic, etc. In the long history of the Latin language, was there anything ...
10 votes
0 answers
182 views

Did the Romans walk their dogs?

Here is a mosaic from Pompeii showing a Roman dog in a leash: (Image from Wikipedia.) Other similar pictures of mosaics are easy to find online, so I am confident that dog leashes were a well known ...
11 votes
1 answer
4k views

Origin and actual quote of the proverb "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion"

While searching for the Latin quote of the proverb "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion", I was a bit surprised because the form that I know of that proverb was "It's not enough for ...
3 votes
2 answers
427 views

The classical Latin speakers called Vulgar Latin sermo vulgaris, sermo vulgi, and sermo plebeius, but what did plebeians call their language?

The elite and the educated, the classical latin speakers, called Vulgar Latin sermo vulgaris, sermo vulgi, and sermo plebeius, but what did plebeians and the other non elite Ancient Romans call Vulgar ...
8 votes
1 answer
245 views

Who assigned numbers to the declensions and conjugations, and why?

Why are the declensions in the order they are? If someone was learning Latin 2000 years ago, would they have used the same numbers? Would they have believed that some god assigned the numbers to the ...
3 votes
0 answers
165 views

Unde orta est sententia "Simplex sigillum veri"?

A little googling reveals that Simplex sigillum veri—"Simplicity is the seal of truth" or "The simple is the mark of the true"—is best known as the motto of Dutch physician ...
-4 votes
1 answer
137 views

is there a pronunciation lineage of latin from the dawn of time?

what I mean is that are there people today who learnt the language personally from people who learnt the language personally etc all the way back to whenever we first detect latin in history? the rest ...
5 votes
1 answer
163 views

What is the event referred to in this passage from Hermann von dem Busche's Vallum Humanitatis?

In Hermann von dem Busche's Vallum Humanitatis, a spirited defense of renaissance humanism against scholastics at the University of Cologne, I have come across a puzzling passage. Ecce tibi, quam ...
16 votes
4 answers
14k 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 ?
13 votes
0 answers
186 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. ...
6 votes
1 answer
1k 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. ...
17 votes
1 answer
680 views

Did ancient Romans develop cryptography for Latin?

Did the Romans ever develop any form of cryptography, where either words were replaced with other words or letters were replaced with other letters? Do we have any remaining examples, and if so have ...
5 votes
1 answer
147 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....
4 votes
1 answer
136 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 ...
37 votes
5 answers
2k views

Accusative equals nominative for neuter words – how universal is this and why?

The first mnemonic for Latin case ending I learnt was that for neuter words, the accusative form is always identical to the nominative form. This applies even to exotic word endings like animal or id, ...
21 votes
3 answers
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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
151 views

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-...
10 votes
1 answer
252 views

Quando "a fortiori" ortum est?

Quando vocabulum a fortiori (sive a fortiore) ortum est ut nomen artis legis logicæve? In quo opere scripto primum apparuit? Volo intellegere eius rationem originis verificareque verbum elisum "...
7 votes
1 answer
227 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 ...
8 votes
0 answers
166 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 votes
1 answer
353 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 ...
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

"All the more so"

How, in classical Latin, did one say "all the more so" or otherwise indicate that a proposition harder than you're trying to prove has just been proven, so your proposition must be at least ...
4 votes
1 answer
185 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?
22 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
38 votes
3 answers
8k 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
259 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?