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10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a Latin euphemism for going to the toilet?

In some situations it might be considered vulgar or lower style to say "I have to go to the toilet". In English there are many ways around this: you can call the toilet something finer (bathroom, ...
8
votes
1answer
97 views

Does “quidam Ciceronis” indicate respect for the person?

In Augustine's Confessions, book 3, chapter 4, he writes: et usitato iam discendi ordine perveneram in librum cuiusdam Ciceronis (source) Henry Chadwick translates the bolded phrase as "a certain ...
11
votes
3answers
567 views

What era of Latin does Vox Populi come from?

I noticed there is a Vox Populi badge. Which era of Latin does Vox Populi come from? I only know a very little bit of classical (I'm starting the second unit of the Cambridge course), and from that, ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is there no word meaning firearm in contemporary Latin?

I noticed that there is no word meaning firearm according to this site.Why is this? I've tried synonyms such as gun and pistol but none work. Has no one gotten around to making one?
10
votes
2answers
148 views

How is Hyginus's Latin problematic?

Theoi.com avers that The poor quality of [Hyginus's] works lead most to believe they are either wrongly attributed to this distinguished scholar or are a later abridgement of his works composed by ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is llama lama or glama?

I went to a zoo today, and I noticed that the scientific name of llama is Lama glama. It seems to me that both lama and glama are latinized versions of "llama". Why were two different versions of the ...
11
votes
1answer
212 views

Can the use of articles be traced back to Late/Vulgar Latin?

The Romance articles developed from Latin ille. Was ille already used in a way that resembles articles more than demonstratives in very late or Vulgar Latin? Or did it this use only emerge after Latin ...
19
votes
2answers
942 views

Are there any complete Latin inscriptions written in boustrophedon?

The Wikipedia entry for Lapis Niger mentions that the inscription was written in boustrophedon, alternating reading direction between every line. This inscription is far from complete. Are there Latin ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

What underlying semantic notions explain the meaning of 'toward' for the prefix 'in-'?

[ Etymonline :]  [...] invitare "invite, treat, entertain," originally "be pleasant toward," from in- "toward" (see in- (2)).   [...] I am conjecturing that entry by an object in a target ...
8
votes
1answer
76 views

How does 'versus' metaphorise plowing in Ancient Rome?

[ Etymonline :] from Latin versus "a line, row, line of verse, line of writing," from PIE root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). The metaphor is of plowing, of "turning" from one line to ...
15
votes
1answer
366 views

Addressing a superior in Latin

Apologies if this is too basic, and feel free to delete, but I am curious to know how Romans would address a person of higher status - not a slave his/her master/mistress - but, for instance, a wage-...
11
votes
1answer
199 views

Did the Romans drop the x from “maxilla”?

C.M. Weimer quotes Cicero's Orator, 153, in this answer: How was the name of your ancestor changed from Axilla to Ala except from a desire to avoid a harsh-sounding letter? The same letter is ...
13
votes
1answer
648 views

Was elision specific to verse in classical Latin?

The rigid poetic meters used by ancient poets strongly indicate that elision is done (almost) every time one word ends in a vowel and the next one begins with another — with the usual exceptions ...
12
votes
1answer
637 views

When did *discere* come to mean “to teach”?

In Anselm's Cur Deus Homo, 1.9.12, he writes: Verbum autem quod positum est, didicit, duobus modis intelligi potest. Aut enim didicit dictum est pro: alios fecit discere, aut quia, quod per ...
9
votes
3answers
416 views

How can I tell if -ere is getting substituted for -erunt?

There's an alternate form of the third person plural perfect active indicative. Instead of, say, habuerunt, a poet might write habuere, to make the word fit with the meter, but that looks like the ...
16
votes
3answers
802 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....
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the phrase “Above all the hunt” translated into Latin?

I'm designing a sigil for my special forces team in a sci-fi book I'm writing, and without making this a 10,000 word post with backstory, the phrase on the sigil is "Above all, the hunt". Google and ...
10
votes
1answer
214 views

meaning of “non omnínó”

Omnínó is defined in Lewis Elementary as altogether, wholly, entirely, utterly, at all [with numerals] in all, altogether, only, but, just by all means, indeed, doubtless, yes, certainly,...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

Why does Parthenope refer to Naples?

Vergil's tomb bears the inscription: Mantua me genuit; Calabri rapuere; tenet nunc Parthenope; cecini Pascua, rura, duces. Why does "Parthenope" refer to Naples?
12
votes
2answers
426 views

General principles for translating non-Latin names into Latin

I am engaged in several translation projects on the side which often involve translating names that do not have a Roman equivalent. Certain names obviously come from or have obvious equivalents in ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What did Romans call their language?

I was taught that Latinus is an adjective related to the area of Latium. Latin would be called lingua Latina, "the language of Latium", never merely Latina. There is a single-word expression referring ...
13
votes
1answer
927 views

“All the more so”

How, in classical Latin, did one say "all the more so" or otherwise indicate that a proposition harder than you're trying to prove has just been proven, so your proposition must be at least ...
14
votes
1answer
328 views

How was perpendicularity expressed in classical Latin?

In today's mathematics, two lines are said to be normal to each other if they are at a right angle (perpendicular) to each other. I want to know how this can be expressed in classical Latin. Closely ...
9
votes
1answer
167 views

Why are *De Bello Africo* and *Hispaniensi* not believed to have been written by Julius Caesar or Hirtius?

De Bello Africo and De Bello Hispaniensi are the two final entries in the series of military commentaries initiated by Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico. However, according to Wikipedia, neither ...
20
votes
2answers
662 views

Is there a way to make a sentence ironic in Latin?

Is there a way (spoken or written) to make a phrase sound ironic in Latin? For example "good for you" would be "tibi bonum est"? Could there be intonation or another word to make it sound ironic?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

“Miserando atque eligendo”

There seem to be two schools of thought about the meaning of the motto on Pope Francis's coat of arms: miserando atque eligendo These words are taken from the 21st homily of the Venerable Bede, ...
8
votes
3answers
578 views

Pyramus et Thisbe: did their parents forbid what they could not? Ovid, Metamorphoses IV.61

The Latin Library has the following punctuation for lines 60–62 of book IV of Ovid's Metamorphoses, describing how Pyramus and Thisbe fell in love but were forbidden from marrying by their parents: ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Do we know how 'ng' was pronounced in classical Latin?

How was 'ng' pronounced in classical Latin and how do we know? I believe metric considerations strongly indicate that it was not a short consonant (/ŋ/ or other), but I can still think of two ...
16
votes
1answer
196 views

Quare dicitur “poeta” et non “pœeta”?

"Why is it "poeta" and not "poeeta" in Latin?" This question occurs in the Harvard University Catalogue of 1872-73, but I haven't been able to find the answer. The reason I would expect "pœeta" is ...
13
votes
1answer
506 views

Beaver and Pollux?

Castor and Pollux are famous mythological twins. Castor is also the genus of beavers. This makes me wonder two things: Are these two Castors related in any way? Was this double meaning observed in ...
13
votes
2answers
612 views

Where did pluralis-ut-singularis come from in Latin?

Anyone who reads Cicero's letters cannot fail to notice that he quite frequently uses nos and noster to mean ego and meus. Earlier I heard a paper where nos in Lucretius' proem was meant singularly (...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

What underlying semantic notions connect 'luctor' to the PIE root *leug ‎(“bend, twist”)?

[ Wiktionary :] From Proto-Indo-European *lugsos, from *leug ‎(“bend, twist”). Cognates include Ancient Greek λύγος ‎(lúgos), Lithuanian lugnas, and Old Norse lykna. Etymonline does not expose the ...
15
votes
3answers
558 views

Was the plural future imperative ever used?

In Latin today, we ran across the word "esto", which our teacher told us is the future singular imperative of "sum, esse". When I half-jokingly asked what the plural was, he thought for a few seconds ...
6
votes
1answer
142 views

Who are Maecenas' atavi?

The first verse of the first ode in the first book of odes by Horatius is Maecenas atavis edite regibus You Maecenas, who descend from great-great-great-grandfathers that were kings Who are ...
5
votes
1answer
63 views

“Ne . . . quidem” in Noctes Atticæ

In the preface to Noctes Atticæ, Gellius writes Nos vero, ut captus noster est, incuriose et inmeditate ac prope etiam subrustice ex ipso loco ac tempore hibernarum vigiliarum Atticas Noctes ...
9
votes
1answer
267 views

When can *quis* be used as an adjective interrogative pronoun?

The interrogative pronouns quis and quī have me rather confused. I understand that quis is generally substantive, while quī is generally adjective. But Allen and Greenough (§148) indicate that quis ...
9
votes
2answers
221 views

Why does a future passive participle have a sense of necessity?

Let me use an example to clarify: Puer librum legendum habet Very, very literally, this would be: The boy has a book going to be read This has the sense of happening in the future and ...
13
votes
2answers
221 views

Why were some medieval maps made in Latin?

Documents in Medieval Latin states that (page 18) Large numbers of maps, from small areas such as the English counties to world maps, were published from the early 16th century onwards. Many ...
11
votes
3answers
341 views

Is “victa serpente” an ablative absolute?

I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, and there's this sentence: Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus, viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo “quid” que “tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus ...
10
votes
3answers
133 views

Vivitne metaphora “de” in “demonstro”?

I found the following inscription above a sundial outside the York Minster: LVCEM DEMONSTRAT VMBRA This seems extraordinarily poetic to me, for many reasons. One reason is the reversal of prosaic ...
10
votes
2answers
121 views

Ambiguitas casus genitivi?

The first sentence of the introduction to the Systema Naturæ by Linnaeus is: Homo mundi intraturus theatrum quæritur Quis sit. How do you tell what noun goes with mundi? Grammatically, two ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Where to find ancient mathematics in Latin?

I am a professional mathematician and an avid Latinist, and I would like to be able to read and write mathematics in Latin. I prefer classical style, so I would like to read some ancient mathematical ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is there no future perfect subjunctive in Latin?

Why is there no future perfect subjunctive verb form in classical Latin? I can't think of a time it would be used, but I can think of an English translation: "if subject were to have verbed, then ...
9
votes
3answers
330 views

Can the ablative take a non-human agent or a human instrument?

In the study notes for chapter 6 of Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, I read about the ablative of agent and the ablative of instrument or means: In the passive, as we have seen, the personal agent ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the Latin word for “jade”?

I'm trying to write a short thing about a jade statuette that my family has had for roughly forever, but when I looked up "jade", I found... nothing. Well, I found plenty of results, but there was ...
9
votes
2answers
131 views

Does “comperendinare” really mean “to adjourn for three days” (or similar) and if yes, how do we know this?

According to my (German) Latin dictionary (Stowasser), comperendinō means to summon for the third-next day of court (für den drittnächsten Gerichtstag vorladen). It always struck me as bizarre that a ...
15
votes
1answer
105 views

“qua dabatur liberum aeris spatium” in a letter of Erasmus

Erasmus's letter 1756 (readable in its entirety here) describes an explosion of gunpowder in a castle at Basel. I'm having trouble understanding a five-word phrase in the letter. This is the passage: ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

What underlying semantic notions connect 'sī' to the PIE root *se (to Own, Possess)?

Preface: Wiktionnaire's etymology supports U Texas's below, but Wiktionary's assigns sī to a different PIE root: *só. I am conjecturing that Wiktionary is incorrect. [70% down the page] sī conj if ...
13
votes
1answer
332 views

Can masculine 1st-decl. nouns be feminine? (e.g. “Nauta perita”?)

Certain nouns, including agricola, nauta, athleta, pirata, and others, are classified in textbooks as masculine. But are these always masculine, even when referring to a female, as in "Haec femina est ...
11
votes
1answer
238 views

Why do some 2nd decl. “-er” adjectives and nouns drop the “e” in the stem?

Is there any rule explaining why certain second-declension nouns and adjectives with a nominative -er ending drop the e when declined (e.g. ager, liber, pulcher), and why others keep it (e.g. puer, ...

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