Questions tagged [old-latin]

Questions regarding the oldest forms of Latin, preceding Classical Latin (before 75 BC)

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9
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2answers
1k views

When can “qui” mean “how”?

From brianpck's comment on another answer: "qui" quite often means "how" in Plautus This took me by surprise, since I'd never seen that use before. In what contexts can quī mean "how"? And where ...
6
votes
1answer
97 views

When/where was <FH> used for /f/?

It's generally accepted that the oldest Latin inscription is on the Praenestine Fibula: MANIOS MED FHE FHAKED NUMASIOI The verb here seems to be an old reduplicated perfect of faciō, equivalent to ...
3
votes
0answers
55 views

When did the infinitive in -ier fall out of use?

At one point, the Latin passive infinitive was formed with a suffix -(r)ier, as in agier "to be driven", amārier "to be loved". Allen and Greenough call this an "ancient form[…] found chiefly in ...
7
votes
2answers
244 views

Was the old ablative pronoun “med” or “mēd”?

In Classical times, the first singular ablative pronoun ("from me") was mē, with a long ē. However, the older form seems to have been med, with a final -d. Do we know whether this earlier form was ...
5
votes
1answer
183 views

Where did the Latin language get its infinitive verb endings from?

Some time ago, a user in the Spanish language site asked if the Spanish verb endings -ar, -er and -ir had a special meaning. I then answered that the endings do not have any meaning by themselves, at ...
13
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2answers
777 views

When and how was “bombax!” used?

I found the exclamation bombax! in Plautus' Pseudolus (Pl. Ps. 1.3.131), where note 19 specifies it is a Greek loanword (βομβάξ in fact) used as an interjection of contempt. This agrees with what is ...
16
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1answer
158 views

Dating the penult rule

When did initial-syllable stress give way to the penult rule? W.S. Allen suggests that the former persisted "until around Plautus's time", and provides metrical evidence from Plautus and Terence that ...
5
votes
1answer
119 views

Plural in 4th declension

I know that virtually all masculine and feminine nouns in Latin have an e or i in the nominative plural and that the genitive singular is often similar. This is quite widespread in Indo-European ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

When did the infinitive of purpose arise?

In Classical Latin, purpose would normally be expressed with ut, or ad with a gerund, or a supine with a verb of motion, or numerous other ways. However, in later and vulgar Latin (most notably the ...
6
votes
2answers
110 views

What are the most important scholarly resources for Latin and Greek historical linguistics?

When it comes to historical linguistics (history, prehistory, Indo-European studies, etymology) of Latin and Greek, what are the most important resources? The resources can be historical grammars, ...
8
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2answers
325 views

Mediterranean Sea name in Old Latin

It is well known that the Romans referred to the Mediterranean Sea as mare nostrum, especially after the Punic Wars when they had claimed Iberia, Northern Africa, Sicily, etc. But what did they ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

Origin of supine form?

Where did the supine form originate? It seems strange that for there to be a verbal noun with only accusative and ablative forms. This, at least to me, suggests that there was once other forms, ...
7
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2answers
122 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....
4
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1answer
99 views

What do we know about the Saturnian for sure?

Some of old Latin poetry was written in Saturnian metre. I am under the impression that use and proper understanding of this poetic form were lost by the classical era, and we do not have a full ...
19
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3answers
1k views

What is the most common classical Latin word that we don't understand?

I assume that we do not know the meaning of every single word attested in classical and older Latin (literature, inscriptions, and other material). If this assumption is false, it makes this question ...
6
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2answers
234 views

How did mille get so weird?

The word mille is weird. In singular it is — or can be considered — an indeclinable adjective, and the main word is declined according to the grammatical role. In plural it is a declinable ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Old vs Classical latins

In my research I found something about an old latin and that that is where the locative case comes from. So I clicked on the old latin page, and surprise, it's just an older version of latin. So is ...
29
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4answers
2k views

Rhotacism: why?

I know Ancient Latin was subjected to a phenomenon called "rhotacism", which changed some s into r. However, I can't help but ask myself why it happened. Why did rhotacism happen? Did it influence ...