Questions tagged [passage-request]

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18
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
54 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
194 views

What is the origin of “Wonder begets wisdom?”

Socrates famously said, "Wonder begets wisdom." Where is this passage from and what is the full text translation? There seems to be some great missing context...
4
votes
0answers
45 views

Is Hades ever associated with iron?

Traditionally, the Greek and Roman god of the dead is associated with gold and silver, since he controls everything under the earth: he has epithets like Plūtōn "the [god] of riches" and Dīs Pater "...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Branches of Roman military in Latin

The military force of a country is often divided in branches such as an army, a navy, and an air force. There are many other branches out there, but the point is that I am looking for a division of ...
10
votes
1answer
117 views

Do any Latin authors mention other Italic languages?

By the power of modern linguistics, quite a lot is known about the early history of Latin: for quite a while it coexisted with close relatives like Oscan, Umbrian, and Faliscan, as well as the ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

A poem about looking back without regret

There's an adage I've heard about grief: look back and be happy about the time you had, rather than regret what might have been. The Roman lyricists seem to have poems for every possible aspect of ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Latin original for “Would you have a great empire?” saying, by Publilius Syrus

Can someone provide the original Latin translation for Publilius Syrus's famous axiom, "Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself." I have searched online and not been able to find it in Latin....
5
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Do the Romans write about “converting” foreign gods?

I've heard stories of Roman legions preparing for a battle by praying to the enemies' gods, offering them worship back in Rome if they'll switch sides and help the Romans win. This was one of the ways ...
3
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
121 views

Did the Greeks or Romans have future fiction?

Did the Greeks or Romans have any literature describing events in the future? The modern era has produced a number of books and movies concerning a future society with flying cars or other ...
5
votes
1answer
54 views

Do we ever see “in saeculo saeculorum”?

Recently, luchonacho asked about the phrase in saecula saeculōrum: literally, "into the lifetimes of the lifetimes". It's kind of a weird phrase, for multiple reasons. However, I'd always thought the ...
4
votes
0answers
58 views

Roman adage: The best death

There is a very famous quotation from one of the Roman authors to the effect that the best death is the one for which you can choose the time, and the second best is the one that comes unexpected. For ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Are there Classical attestations of specifically “Etruscan” deities?

As the Roman Empire expanded, the state religion incorporated new deities and practices from all over the world: Bacchus, for example, was borrowed from the Greeks, while Isis came from Egypt, and ...
7
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
39 views

Seeking a Classical quote for an epigraph

I'm editing a short piece of writing set in early Imperial Rome, and seeking a Classical quotation to use as an epigraph. The piece involves a woman whose arms and legs are twisted from birth, ...
6
votes
2answers
241 views

A classical Latin phrase for “all or nothing”

Is there a saying in classical Latin similar to "all or nothing"? I am aware of aut Caesar aut nihil, and that would be fine if it was classical. In most cases the era of origin is irrelevant, but I ...
5
votes
2answers
118 views

How did dogs and wolves compare in the Roman mind?

The Romans knew both dogs and wolves. But how similar and how dissimilar did they think they were, as indicated by their literature? I am looking for an understanding about Roman views on dogs and ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

Coincidental similarities between Latin and other ancient languages?

There are cases where a word in another language means something else in another one. I do not mean cognates or loan words having close but not identical meanings, but two words in different languages ...
5
votes
1answer
60 views

A quote for a relieving loss of a loved one

Is there a poem or other passage of classical Latin about the following sentiment? I prefer poetry, but good hits in prose are also welcome. It need not — and indeed should not — be the ...
5
votes
2answers
71 views

Which verb do insects fly with?

Having read a question (and answer) about flies flying, I started to wonder whether flies would really fly with the verb volare. I had always somehow imagined that volare referred to more elegant and ...
8
votes
1answer
97 views

Garden path sentences in classical Latin

A garden path sentence is a sentence that leads the reader astray and forces them to reanalyze. The obvious first interpretation when one starts reading is a red herring and it comes clear that the ...
7
votes
1answer
84 views

When was a pair of Greek and Roman gods first identified?

There is a canonical correspondence between some Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, for example Ares and Mars. However, these two were originally different deities: Ares represented rage in war and ...
7
votes
2answers
126 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
81 views

Ancient accounts of traffic

Are there accounts of traffic in the ancient world written in Latin? By traffic I mean the behaviour of various vehicles1 on roads and in intersections, not masses of pedestrians. If there are ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Ancient plagiarism

I have no doubt that plagiarism existed in the Greek and Roman antiquity: some authors must have copied material more or less directly from others without attribution. (The moral requirement to cite ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

A representative work of Ovid

I am considering reading some Ovid(ius), possibly with some colleagues. I don't want too much due to time limitations; perhaps something on the order of a single book of Metamorphoses should be ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How to break up in classical Latin?

Are there any attested breakup letters, notes, or similar in classical Latin? A great number of relationships must have started and ended in classical antiquity, but I don't recall seeing any passages ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

What is the earliest Latin crossword puzzle?

I think it is safe to assume that there have been crossword puzzles in Latin, and I think I have seen some in textbooks as well. But what was the earliest Latin crossword puzzle? I do not mean word ...
8
votes
1answer
72 views

What was the first name of Christmas?

What was the first Latin word or expression used for Christmas, the Christian event in the honor of Jesus' birth? I know what to call Christmas in Latin, but it occurred to me that there is no ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Are there classical examples of the imperative patere?

I wanted to see how the imperative patĕre of pati is used and I made a corpus search. However, most of the results seem to be polluted with the infinitive patēre, and I'm having hard time ...
3
votes
0answers
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 ...
4
votes
0answers
47 views

Comparing citizens and subjects

There is a difference between a citizen and a subject. Roughly, a citizen holds some power in the state (through voting or otherwise), whereas a subject is subordinate to their leader and has no say. (...
15
votes
4answers
293 views

Where did the Romans think Latin comes from?

Did the Romans have a theory for the origin of their language? I assume there were several ideas, and it would be great to see a summary of them. No need to go very deep on any individual theory; a ...
3
votes
3answers
80 views

Is there a more emphatic version of posse?

If I want to say "I can" in Latin, I will usually use posse. But what if I want something stronger and more emphatic, like "I am capable of", "I am able to", or similar? I am not aware of a Latin ...
4
votes
0answers
59 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....
6
votes
0answers
37 views

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

A common phrase for mistrust towards a given gift is looking a gift horse in the mouth. As explained in Wiktionary (linked above), the saying goes back to the New Testament via St. Jerome's Latin ...
5
votes
1answer
26 views

Source of quote attributed to Suidas

"Sophocles is wise, Euripides is wiser than Sophocles; but Socrates is the wisest of all men." I've come across this quote in various places on the internet, including many scholarly books, and it is ...
6
votes
3answers
13k views

How to curse someone in Latin?

Suppose I want to curse someone — I want to ask some gods or spirits to do evil upon a particular person. (No, I'm not angry at any user of this site.) How do I do this in Latin? I am not ...
8
votes
2answers
771 views

Hushing with a finger gesture

I was reading Dante's Divine Comedy, and this verse caught my attention (Hell 25.45 with my translation): mi puosi 'l dito su dal mento al naso I put my finger up from my chin to my nose This is ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

What is Eura called in Latin?

What is the name of the municipality (small city) Eura in Latin? The name in Finnish and Swedish is Eura and it would be reasonable that the Latin name is the same. However, I haven't managed to find ...
6
votes
1answer
183 views

Were mushrooms vegetables to Romans?

Mushrooms are taxonomically clearly distinct from plants and animals (and other kingdoms), but in "cuisine taxonomy" they are typically included plants. The word "vegetables" in a restaurant's menu ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

An idiom for disclosing a secret

I am looking for a Latin idiom for disclosing a secret. In English one can spill the beans, but I am not aware of a similar idiom in Latin. Is any idiom or colorful expression for this attested in ...
6
votes
1answer
251 views

Origin of the following phrase: Ambulatoria enim est voluntas hominum usque ad vitae supremum exitum

I can't find where this text comes from: Ambulatoria enim est voluntas hominum usque ad vitae supremum exitum. I can't find the author on the internet. What is the source of this phrase?
5
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
119 views

Latin quote about a million doggerel verses

I distinctly remember from a class at some point a disparaging remark by a Latin poet about other less accomplished poets who churned out "a million hexameters a year", obviously implying terrible ...
18
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
229 views

What errors did the Greeks typically make in Latin?

Suppose a person born and educated in Greece comes to ancient Rome. They have learned Latin and can converse fluently, but not at a native level. What kinds of wrong pronunciation, vocabulary, or ...