Questions tagged [passage-request]

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22
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
20
votes
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 ...
16
votes
1answer
422 views

What was a language for the Romans?

Defining "language" is not easy, and for many not even necessary. There are many aspects to this, and I'm interested in something more specific: distinguishing a language from a dialect. Where did ...
16
votes
4answers
494 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Where to find an online Latin text corpus and what can I do with it?

Suppose I want to search for a certain word, expression or structure in the Latin literature. What online tools can I use for such purposes? Where can I find a large collection of Latin texts in ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Descriptive example of Cicero's style

Cicero has produced quite a lot of Latin prose in what is considered excellent style. I would like to find ways to demonstrate briefly what Cicero's style is all about. If you had to demonstrate ...
11
votes
1answer
473 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
308 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
211 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
137 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
799 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
197 views

Good travel literature written in medieval Latin?

I like reading medieval travel literature and I want to translate a short text (one chapter or two) from medieval Latin into English to improve my translation skills. Unfortunately, most medieval ...
8
votes
1answer
277 views

Ancient guides or descriptions of punctuation

We had a question about punctuation in classical Latin and it received some great answers. It left me with one question, though: Are there ancient guides or descriptions of punctuation? I am not ...
8
votes
1answer
115 views

Descriptions of aurora borealis

I saw a nice show of aurora borealis (or northern lights) last night, during the last two hours of 2016. Such shows are more common up north, and should be a rare occurrence in the Mediterranean. This ...
8
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
521 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
175 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/...
7
votes
1answer
734 views

“Memento quod es homo”

In the essay "Of Empire", Francis Bacon wrote: All precepts concerning kings are in effect comprehended in those two remembrances: Memento quod es homo and Memento quod es Deus or vice Dei—the one ...
7
votes
1answer
91 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
266 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
91 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
0answers
387 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
80 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
29k 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
310 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?
6
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
990 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
242 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
121 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
1answer
268 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 in plants. The word "vegetables" in ...
6
votes
0answers
63 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
329 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
238 views

Classical example of homesickness

My dictionary translates "homesickness" as nostalgia or desiderium loci natalis, but the dictionary gives no source or era information. Both of these are understandable, but I haven't found classical ...
5
votes
2answers
227 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
88 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
248 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
135 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
116 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
1answer
27 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
236 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
0answers
47 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Good examples of common gender nouns

Some Latin nouns are common gender: their grammatical gender varies depending whether they refer to a male or a female (human or other animal). This is mentioned in many Latin grammars (including ...
4
votes
1answer
129 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 ...