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Looking for quote from Seneca Moral Letters

Hopefully I'm not doing much violence to the text/intention or mixing various passages, but in Seneca's Moral Letters (100% there and 95% in a letter number < 100) there is a passage where he says (...
d_e's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
898 views

"Inter canem et lupum" in a Latin text?

A search for infra horam vespertinam, inter canem et lupum finds lots of blog posts (and dictionaries!) citing this Latin proverb as the ancestor of French entre chien et loup. (Meaning the evening, ...
Simon Branch's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
77 views

Usage of impersonal passive

Finding nice impersonal passive example from Seneca (Moral Letters 30): ubi plurimis locis laxari coepit [navis?] et cedere, succurri non potest navigio dehiscenti, made me ask two things: Could we ...
d_e's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
231 views

encrypt / to hide a message in Latin

What was the verb(s) the Romans used when the hide/encrypt a message in another text (and also the antonym "to decipher")? After consulting Döderlein's Hand-book of Latin Synonymes (Celare), ...
d_e's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
108 views

Stacking many infinitives

Consider the sentence: Dixit se velle posse audere venire. ("He said that he wants to be able to dare to come.") This has a stack of four infinitives. In theory we might be able to stack as ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
243 views

Did the Romans have an idiom or saying similar to "one thing leads to another"?

Did any writers of antiquity use a saying or phrase that has an equivalent meaning to "one thing leads to another" in English? I'm looking for the more general meaning in that one action ...
Adam's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
137 views

What are some quotations of Romans longing for the "good 'ole days"?

In Wheelock's Latin there is an edited excerpt of Livy from Ab Urbe Conditā: Populus Rōmānus magnōs animōs et paucās culpās habēbat. Dē officiīs nostrīs cōgitābāmus et glōriam bellī semper laudābāmus....
Adam's user avatar
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10 votes
0 answers
183 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
382 views

What adjectives did the Romans use to describe skin color?

The Romans surely met peoples of different skin color in their interactions between Gauls and Africans and many others. I assume that there were clear color differences back then and that the Romans ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
95 views

How the 'conflict' between heart/feelings and the "head" was described in the classical period

It sometimes happens to us, living beings of this age that we are, that we experience some kind of inner conflict; a conflict between what seems to our intellect or reason(*) and the feeling or "...
d_e's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
978 views

Did the Romans use 'animus' and 'anima' together?

The words animus and anima are pretty close to each other, and their difference has been explored on this site before. In order to understand their nuances in classical Latin I would like to see an ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
361 views

Roman wedding congratulations

How did the Romans congratulate a couple on their wedding day? The concepts of wedding and marriage were not quite what they are now back then, but I assume that celebrations and congratulations were ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did Plato describe man as "a being in search of meaning"?

I happened upon this Quora question, in which the quote "man, a being in search of meaning" is ascribed to Plato. Did Plato write this and if so, where? Obviously there are other Platonic ...
TKR's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
96 views

How was the Concept of Price-Wage Inflation Expressed in the Roman World?

Inflation bedevils capitalist economies. Despite the power of Rome, the low-wage slave-economy, and a single currency (quite an achievement), the Roman World suffered from inflation. This happened ...
tony's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did the Romans congratulate a new father?

One of our users recently became a father and of course congratulations are in order. How did the Romans do that? More specifically, are there any attested congratulations to a new father in the ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" correctly attributed to Seneca (the younger)?

The quote is a fairly well know lyric in the 1998 song Closing Time by Semisonic. In the Wikipedia entry for the song, it claims "The song ends with a quote attributed to Roman Stoic philosopher ...
Nick Gall's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
527 views

Numbering of persons

It is conventional to number the three persons of Latin and Greek and many other languages so that the first person is the speaker, the second one is the listener, and the third one is anyone else. ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
134 views

Is there a pre-Christian Roman story of "coming to faith"?

Is there a story in the Roman literature of someone previously not believing in the traditional Roman gods or a specific deity within their pantheon but later, after a vision or another experience, ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
316 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
253 views

Is the Abrahamic god ever named in Classical-era Latin or Greek?

As far as I'm aware, the Septuagint, New Testament, and Vulgata never directly transcribe the Tetragrammaton (יהוה) into Greek or Latin: they substitute in words like κύριος/dominus "lord" or θεός/...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
249 views

finding a Latin quote

I am reading the book "6/5" by Alexandre Laumonier, in French about high-frequency trading in electronic financial markets (bear with me). Near the end of "5", he says Pour autant, comme l'écrivit ...
Robert Almgren's user avatar
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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
121 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
3k 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...
Matthew's user avatar
  • 211
4 votes
0 answers
152 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 "...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.6k
3 votes
1 answer
167 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
268 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.6k
2 votes
1 answer
160 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.6k
2 votes
1 answer
353 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....
Clark's user avatar
  • 21
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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
186 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.6k
3 votes
1 answer
193 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
336 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
571 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.6k
7 votes
1 answer
132 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 ...
fdb's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
104 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.6k
7 votes
1 answer
392 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
59 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, ...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
392 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
7 votes
6 answers
316 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
472 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
125 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
255 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
167 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
289 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
106 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
158 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
145 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar