45 votes
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Did the Romans use any swear words?

Yes, they used swear words all the time! There's actually a whole book on the subject, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary by J. N. Adams. Cinaedus (a pejorative term for a 'bottom'), mentula (male genitalia),...
cmw's user avatar
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19 votes

Why is suus in the accusative feminine singular in this sentence?

This is a really common stumbling block for those approaching Latin from the background of a language like English, so it merits a careful step-by-step explanation. I'll break my response into two ...
brianpck's user avatar
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17 votes
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Why "impressa" in Æneid IV.659–60?

Virgil is imitating a Greek construction here, or rather two Greek constructions: the middle voice and the accusative of respect. Greek had a "middle" voice, which in most tenses was formally ...
TKR's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why Is This Noun in the Singular?

It is because cunae, -arum, f, is the word for a single crib. The singular cuna is never used. This is similar to how castra is a single camp. Such a word is called a plurale tantum (plural: pluralia ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
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Why is this a correct sentence: "Iūlius nōn sōlus, sed cum magnā familiā habitat"?

Although it's possible that the verb est has been omitted here, as Adam says, I find it more likely that the sentence really is equivalent to Iūlius nōn sōlus habitat, sed cum Aemiliā et cum magnā ...
cnread's user avatar
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12 votes
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What is the quantity of the "a" in "maxime"?

On the one hand, we have MAX(IMO), A with an apex in CIL VI 2080 17 However, as De Angelis and Chilà 2015 put it, "the interpretation of the vowel of maximus as long is anything but certain" (p. ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
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12 votes

What does "Non procul abest" mean?

Here is one way to make sense of this: Think of esse as "to be" and abesse as "to be away". Then non procul est is "he is not far" and non procul abest is "he is not ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes

Why is nominative instead of ablative absolute used in 'Ibi egressi Trojani'?

Egressi Trojani is in the nominative because it's the subject of agerent. The structure of the sentence is a bit unusual, but it's clearer when you move the cum to its vanilla position before the ...
Cairnarvon's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why is 'cum' followed by the dative in this sentence?

It's actually the ablative, not the dative. It's an i-stem, and Latin allows some i-stems to have an ablative singular in ī. I've copied the relevant section from Allen and Greenough below: The ...
cmw's user avatar
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11 votes
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"Ignis solis propinqui"

It's agreeing with sōlis, gen. sg. m.
TKR's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why are some of these names ending in -a and some in -ae?

The the word ancilla and the names Syra and Aemilia are declined (rather than conjugated) according to the first declension, as shown in the following chart from Allen and Greenough's Latin Grammar: ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
11 votes
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Is the 'i' in 'videt' long or short?

The i in videt is short. The length of a vowel in classical Latin pronunciation is defined by its duration—its "quantity"—as opposed to its "quality", i.e. the nature of the sound: ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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What form is 'numerārī'?

You are correct, this is a passive infinitive: "to be counted". The passive versions of amāre, habēre, currere, and audīre are amārī, habērī, currī, and audīrī.
Draconis's user avatar
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Differences between cano and canto

According to Döderlein's Hand-book of Latin Synonymes (also here), canere is the more general term for music (and thus may be used for singing), whereas cantare usually is used more specifically to ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
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Questions from LLpsI: Relative pronoun in independent sentence

It should be remembered that this type of punctuation and capitalization is merely modern convention. In this paragraph, I imagine Orberg chose to capitalize the qui as a convenience of breaking up ...
cmw's user avatar
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What does "ensem sufferre" mean?

The verb that is intended here is almost certainly tollo, tollere, which shares third and fourth principal parts with sufferre*. Although sufferre can, according to Lewis & Short, mean 'hold up,' ...
cnread's user avatar
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11 votes

Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, chapter 6, weird sentence with passive voice

Simply put, timentur doesn't mean "are frightened," but instead "are feared." The verb in English to frighten (the Latin terreo, terrere) is to cause something to fear, whereas ...
cmw's user avatar
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"quae haec mihi dōna dedistī"

Quae in that sentence is feminine nominative singular: Now help me, O Venus, who gave me these gifts! The verb is in the second person because it refers to the second person. The syntactic structure ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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Why is accusative pronoun "te" used in this construction?

These two sentences involve different analyses, which can be shown by using the following test: replacement of the infinitive (clause) by the neuter pronoun hoc. In the first example the infinitival ...
Mitomino's user avatar
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Why "quod" and not "quo" is used here?

A relative pronoun agrees with its antecedent in gender and number. Its case is determined by its role in the relative clause. In this case, quod agrees with ferrum in gender (neuter) and number (...
brianpck's user avatar
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Translation of "...quae parvas aves capit et est."

Indeed, it means [he] eats; it is a contracted form. It's not very common, nor extremely rare. Lewis & Short even call it "very frequent", which I think is an exaggeration: The contr. forms es, ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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Why is Italiae used rather than Italis in the phrase "In hortis Italiae"?

Graecus, -a, -um is an adjective “Greek”, put in the ablative plural Graecis to agree with the ablative plural noun oppidis: “In (the) Greek towns.” Italia is a noun “Italy”; Italiae is the genitive ...
Asteroides's user avatar
10 votes

Questions from LLpsI: Relative pronoun in independent sentence

As you suspected, qui is a relative pronoun which refers to Medus. However, differently from English, in Latin it can sometimes show up in an independent clause, referring to something that preceded. ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
10 votes

LLPSI: "Mārcus Quīntum ad terram cadere uidet."

This is called an accusative with infinitive construction, or accusativum cum infinitivo in Latin. We actually have them in English as well, though it's unclear how much of that is borrowed from Latin:...
Draconis's user avatar
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What is the difference between "in umerīs" and "in umerōs"?

In + ablative means "in/on something" while doing the verb. In + accusative means "into/onto something", i.e. the verb involves moving/transferring something else into/onto the ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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Quid iuvat deōs precāri ut rēs āmissae tibi reddantur?

Quid iuvat? is a bit of a set phrase meaning 'what's the point?', 'what good does it do?' or, more literally, 'what does it help?'. The matter in question being deos precari 'to pray to the gods' (...
consistebat's user avatar
10 votes
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Domino notus erat: Agent ablative without a preposition?

Domino is dative, not ablative. English has the same idiom: 'known to the master.'
cnread's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why is the imperfect tense used here instead of the present tense?

Sometimes, the imperfect (and perhaps even the perfect) indicative can be used for a subjunctive. It can then express an irrealis, like here: "it would be better that I died than to live without ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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9 votes
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Why is "quī" used immediately following a plural accusative noun?

The case of a relative pronoun indicates its role inside the subordinate clause, not the main clause. Since the servōs in the main clause are the subject of pārent in the subordinate clause, a ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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9 votes
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Difference between filiī and liberī

Filius, i means "son" Liberi (masc. plur.) means "children" and more precisely children of free people, i.e. not slaves. This family has 2 sons but 3 children. There probably is a daughter around ...
thiebo's user avatar
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