Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

The tag has no usage guidance.

5
votes
0answers
46 views

How do you call your aunt's or uncle's spouse?

In Latin, a paternal aunt is an 'amita', a paternal uncle is a 'patruus', a maternal aunt is a 'matertera' and a maternal uncle is an 'avunculus'. However, how do you call each of these people's ...
4
votes
1answer
58 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
74 views

Did the Romans have a color of mourning?

In today's western culture the color black is associated with mourning. Did the Romans have a mourning color? I am interested in a color that was physically present in time of mourning, for example in ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Did the Romans have an expression for a national day?

Did the Romans have any kind of a national day, or did the Romans have a name for the national day of some other nation? Such days go by various names in different countries (e.g. independence day or ...
4
votes
0answers
37 views

Why was the period between Domitian and Commodus so happy and prosperous?

In my introduction to Meditations, Edward Gibbon is quoted as saying that the period between the death of Domitian and the accession of Commodus was the happiest and most prosperous in human history. ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Was the Roman concept of “imperium” influenced by Plato?

Early on in The Republic, Socrates contends with Thrasymachus's argument that "justice is the interest of the stronger". Socrates gives some analogies, such as the relationship that doctors have with ...
3
votes
0answers
52 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
201 views

Hypocorism/diminutive name forms in Roman antiquity/Latin?

I'd originally asked this on SE:H, but it was suggested that here would be more appropriate. Triggered by recently reading about the history of English names with Anglo-Saxon roots and the ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

What is an entrepreneur?

I am looking for a Latin word for "entrepreneur" or "self-employed" or something in that direction. My question is two-fold: Was there a word in classical Latin for someone who owns their own ...
3
votes
0answers
60 views

Did the Romans give names to instances of natural disasters?

It is common to name storms. For example, a hurricane called Harvey is now over Texas. On the other hand, ancient people named deities related to various places and natural phenomena. There might be a ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

Are there attested prohibition signs?

Are there preserved inscriptions or other such texts from ancient Rome that contain a prohibition? I would prefer original signs that have survived, but mentions in the literature are also interesting....
8
votes
2answers
751 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
1answer
1k views

What verb is wine made with?

Which verb did the Romans use for making wine? I can imagine saying vinum facio/conficio/primo and maybe some other options as well. Different verbs might emphasize different aspects or steps of ...
6
votes
1answer
123 views

Did the Romans have children's books?

In the same vein as our other "Did the Romans have..." questions, I would like to know: Did the Romans have any children's books? I am especially interested in preserved examples, but a second-hand ...
10
votes
1answer
230 views

Do Roman numerals stand for something?

This may be an incredibly obvious question, but if so it's not immediately clear to me and probably deserves a question here. Two Roman numerals seem to have an obvious parallel to an existing word: ...
3
votes
1answer
310 views

Does “matrimonium” ever refer to a polygamous or homosexual relationship?

Matrimonium is the standard term in Roman legal parlance for "matrimony", along with the related term nuptiae, "wedding." My question is simply stated: In Roman classical antiquity, either by legal ...
8
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
136 views

Did the Romans have a selection game?

If there are three people and only two candies — and in other similar dire situations — people sometimes choose to play some kind of game to select who is left without something or who ...
9
votes
1answer
169 views

What did a *cellarius* do?

Inspired by this question A good word for waiter or waitress I'd like to know what duties a cellarius had in antique times. The German word for waiter, Kellner, is a loan from cellarius, but it ...
11
votes
1answer
308 views

What is the largest online Latin speaking community?

I noticed that many online places where Latin could be spoken are dead (unlike the language itself). Where can I practice Latin online? Is there any chat or forum that is really active?
8
votes
1answer
129 views

Did the Romans have a Valentine's day?

The ancient Romans had many festivals, but did any of them celebrate friendship or love? Wikipedia mentions similarity to Lupercalia, but I consider love to be very different from fertility. I'm ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Does liberi only refer to free children?

This issue came up in an answer and comments to this earlier question about comparing liberi and filii, and I think it's important enough to be treated in a separate question. Also, the answer to this ...
10
votes
1answer
182 views

How did the Romans call their currency?

I wanted to make a kind of western-style WANTED-poster in Latin, and I got a few questions about it. My questions: how did the romans say WANTED on a poster? I was doubting between the words ...
10
votes
2answers
130 views

Is *Numidius* an Ancient Roman name?

Is Numidius an Ancient Roman name (probably a nomen gentilis) or is it spurious and caused by corruption of other names? What I have found so far: The name Ummidius (that is clearly and unmistakably ...
33
votes
1answer
5k views

Did the Romans use any swear words?

I was reading the book Lingua Latina, Per Se Illustrata by Hans H. Ørberg, and I often saw scenes in which persons were angry. In the book, the writer doesn't use any swear words or anything to that ...
8
votes
2answers
971 views

How did the Romans wish happy holidays?

The Roman year included many festive occasions. In today's world it is customary to wish merry Christmas, happy Easter, and other such things. Did the Romans do the same during their own festivals, ...
11
votes
1answer
958 views

Why did Roman children call their father 'tata' instead of 'pappa'?

I was reading a text from Hans H. Øberg, and I saw in the text the following sentences: Noli dicere 'tatam' et 'mammam', Iuliola! Ea nomina a te audire nolumus. Ita loquuntur parvuli infantes, nec ...
9
votes
1answer
199 views

Was the middle finger obscene in Ancient Rome?

I was recently reading a work where I became (re)acquainted with the fact that the middle finger can be referred to as the digitus impudicus -- the "shameful finger" -- in Latin. My question is ...
10
votes
1answer
545 views

Term for the water/wine ratio chooser?

What's the Latin word for the person at cena who decided whether more or less water was added to the wine to keep the party going steadily?
16
votes
1answer
412 views

How did Roman babies talk?

Following a chat discussion, I want to know if we have any written record or general indication of how Latin was spoken by young children. Most languages that I know have several distinct ...
16
votes
1answer
451 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
532 views

Did the Romans use dictionaries to check what words mean?

Did Romans or other ancient users of Latin have lists of difficult words with explanations in Latin? I mean dictionaries composed entirely in Latin, not dictionaries between Latin and another language....
12
votes
1answer
157 views

How would a servus publicus be named - using the nominative or the genitive?

I was reading this encyclopedia entry on Roman naming, and it discusses the naming of Roman slaves. Originally, slave's name was the name of his master + "puer". During the age of the Roman Republic, ...
12
votes
2answers
176 views

Why would avoiding olive oil be a negative thing?

In Horace's Odes 1.8, Horace criticizes his ex's new boyfriend by saying, among other things, that: ...olivum sanguine viperino cautius vitat... which, roughly, means He avoids olive oil more ...