Questions tagged [passage-request]

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20
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
328 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
1k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
394 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
134 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
2answers
123 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
275 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
786 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
169 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
242 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
103 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
119 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
1answer
79 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
398 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
1answer
594 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
2answers
146 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
87 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
210 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
85 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
20k 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
2answers
150 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/...
6
votes
1answer
269 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
518 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
82 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
115 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
186 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
114 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
199 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
187 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
164 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
77 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
117 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
112 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
107 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
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
113 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
41 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
2k 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
122 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
109 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
967 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
2answers
158 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
61 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
0answers
53 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 "...