30 votes
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Abbreviations used by Romans in their inscriptions

This is a list of three names of freedmen (former slaves that were released by their master). Roman male names for free citizens in classical time usually consisted of three parts (known as tria ...
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19 votes
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Are there any complete Latin inscriptions written in boustrophedon?

Since this is not exactly my area of expertise, I will quote Rex Wallace (Wallace 2011). He argues that the earliest Latin inscriptions were written from right to left and from left to right (p. 22). ...
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  • 11.2k
16 votes

Marsupial blackletter difficulty

The word is reservaculum, "something used to keep things in", from reservo "keep (back)". I believe this word is used to describe the pouch of marsupials in similar texts from that period. Praesumably,...
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  • 18.7k
13 votes

What is the name of the separator dots between the words?

It is called the interpunct. Empty space to separate words as we do now is not a universal phenomenon. Just as well the Romans might ask why we leave space between words instead of putting a dot in ...
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13 votes
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How do we know that Kalendae is the first day of a month?

In classical times the seven-day week was unknown; obviously, there could be no named days of the week to use as reference points. Months at least were of specified lengths, but the actual date was ...
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  • 17.5k
12 votes

Are there any complete Latin inscriptions written in boustrophedon?

We do in fact have a couple. The best little collection of Old Latin inscriptions is found in Warmington's old Loeb, Remains of Old Latin IV: Archaic Inscriptions. It's a tiny bit out of date, but ...
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  • 41.1k
12 votes
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Saints: sanctus or divus?

Superb question! Divus is a term used to refer to Roman deities or highly esteemed individuals (e.g. emperors). L&S give some classic Latin quotes, and you can also see books about Divus ...
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12 votes

Meaning of "SEVERA INDEOVI VAS" from 3rd Century slab

This inscription does not use spacing to separate words. (Word division was often not marked consistently, or not marked at all in Roman inscriptions.) The second and third lines actually say "IN DEO ...
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  • 21.7k
11 votes
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How to translate this plaque about John Duns Scotus?

Here is a literal translation: John Duns Scotus, OFM, who in his Oxford lectures represented that famous line of David, "the Lord is my light," is commemorated by this stone placed by his brothers ...
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  • 36.7k
11 votes
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What is this letter?

I'd guess it's the symbol for 6, originally digamma, but later taking on an S-like shape. (It's a bit hard to make out, but I think the last two cells contain ΙΑ and ΙΒ, indicating a series of 1 to ...
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  • 4,558
9 votes
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What does 'ANGLORUM REGIS QUI COR LEONIS DICTUS' mean?

"Here is interred the heart of Richard, King of the English, called Lionheart. Died in the year 1199."
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9 votes
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Are there any instances of long oblique cases of Iuppiter?

Varro mentions the possibility: De Lingua Latina 9.75.4ff. obliquos non habere ut in hoc Diespiter Diespitri Diespitrem, Maspiter Maspitri Maspitrem. ad haec respondeo et priora habere nominandi ...
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  • 41.1k
9 votes
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Is filius necessarily a biological descendant?

Short answer: no. At least since Post-Classical Latin, and quite possibly from earlier. One may or may not believe the quote attributed to Julius Caesar when he calls Brutus fili mi despite the fact ...
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  • 10.6k
9 votes

Meaning of "SEVERA INDEOVI VAS" from 3rd Century slab

Sumelic is right. I just want to add a few things. First, the expression in Deo vivas and related (e.g. vivatis in Christo, "may you live in Christ") seem to be of common use among Christians of the ...
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9 votes

Understanding the spelling deviation from the scripture in the title of a sundial nearby a Catholic church in Moscow

It's hard to tell for sure from the image, but couldn't that just be the stroke of an A, with the rest faded or somehow gone missing? There is a word Umbri, but it has to do with the ancient people by ...
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  • 41.1k
8 votes
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Inscriptions in statues along Via dei Fori Imperiali

The Via dei Fori Imperiali was built at the initiative of Mussolini. At the time it caused some controversy about the care for archaeological and sacred Catholic sites, as well as the displacement of ...
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  • 10.6k
8 votes
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What does D.D.P. mean in this inscription? (see image)

According to Sandys's Latin Epigraphy: An Introduction to the Study of Latin Inscriptions, "D.D.P." stands for: decreto decurionum publice The last "P" is sometimes replaced with "P.P." or "PEC ...
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  • 36.7k
8 votes
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Understanding a reference to Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum

I haven't completely figured out the book's layout, but it appears that it contains both volumes IX and X. In any case, the numbering starts over at index #160 (pg. 4), and the entry you're looking ...
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8 votes

Translation of Scottish 16th century church stained glass

The heraldry makes play on ACRE (plough and barley brew) and HACKER (with the bladed instrument above the plough and the halberd). Such visual puns are called Canting Heraldry as the Heraldry Society ...
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  • 8,457
8 votes
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What do "KAL." and "A.S." stand for in this inscription?

The source of the image states that the person died the 17th of September. The inscription says instead that he died the 15th of October. What is KAL. to do with it? Is some sort of calendar ...
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8 votes

Marsupial blackletter difficulty

I can answer the second part, at least. That's a tilde ĩ, not a macron ī, and it's one of the most common scribal abbreviations, representing a following N or M. So anĩal, tẽpore, oblatũ = animal, ...
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  • 52.7k
8 votes

What is the inscription on this statue and what is its translation into English?

I think the inscription says: Tu Bethlehem parvulus es in millibus It is an adaptation of Micah 5:2 and can be translated (by comparison to the original verse) as: You Bethlehem are small among the ...
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7 votes

Are there any instances of long oblique cases of Iuppiter?

I have searched the entire Loeb Classical Library, Bibliotheca Teubneriana Latina and Keil's Corpus Grammaticorum Latinorum. Believe me, this is quite representative. No, such forms are not attested ...
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  • 11.2k
7 votes
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(Greek) Stylized Alpha

It is just the way they write alpha. In the first one, for example: αναπαυσον την ψυχην αυτου μετα των αγιων ....
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  • 15.9k
7 votes
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Abbreviation "D. O. M." on tombstones

A Google search gives results for both Domino and Deo Optimo Maximo. However the former offers results for both, suggesting it is a variation of the latter. Deo Optimo Maximo, in turn, has its own ...
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  • 10.6k
7 votes
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What dialect are the Antikythera Mechanism inscriptions in?

While Freeth's 2006 paper (with the good transcriptions) isn't freely available, his 2012 paper (analyzing the text in more detail) is! From here: The inscriptions are engraved in skilfully ...
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  • 52.7k
7 votes

Can anyone translate this old headstone from Germany?

This headstone is in Latin. Your transcription is quite good, but the text includes several abbreviations, which I've filled in below with brackets: D[EO] O[PTIMO] M[AXIMO] MORTALIT[ATIS] SUAE MEMOR ...
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  • 36.7k
7 votes
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In memoriam: why not "in memoria"?

As L&S put it, in their classic textwall style (entry for in, II.C.2): Of the object or end in view, regarded also as the motive of action or effect: “non te in me illiberalem, sed me in se ...
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  • 52.7k
7 votes
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What does this damaged inscription in a church say?

With some help from this description, which contains a few errors, here's what I think it says: Templum hoc r[e]novatum est [l]ateribus denuo et integre regnante serenissimo do[mi]no do[mi]no ...
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  • 36.7k

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