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{ Category Archives } Latin


So I found out that talk page editing on the dictionary‘s been broken, possibly for quite a while now. I should have realized the spambots were being mighty quiet. It should be working again now; and now that it’s back in operation Iustinus noticed my entry for ‘brew‘ only had a phrasal translation—the Romans weren’t […]

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All right, so my bugbear for the week has been anointment.  In particular, unguere (or ungere), a Latin word meaning “to anoint”. My problem is that “anoint” is one of those 1913ese words that doesn’t correspond well to anything we talk about today. In its historical or ceremonial context—where you might anoint someone king, say—the […]

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The plural of “ibis”.

The matter of this plural is something I happened to fall into by accident this week. I was working on this out of Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.50: Vomitione canes, purgatione autem alvos ibes Ægyptiæ curant. Dogs treat their stomachs by vomiting, while the ibises of Egypt do it by purging the bowel. I went […]

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So I was transcribing some out of Lexicon Universale for Vicifons the other day.  Usually I don’t pay much attention to what I’m copying, but this entry in particular had me looking for a bit: IBNALACH, Saracenorum Rex, Hispaniam obtinuit, A. C. 777. Ibnalach, King of the Saracens, acquired Spain in 777 A. D. Now, near as […]

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Quae dantur, ut a domino.

Cicero, Ad Atticum 11.20: Sed et alia timenda sunt ab aliis Quintisque, et ab hoc ipso quæ dantur, ut a domino, rursus in eiusdem sunt potestate. But there are also other things to be feared from, among others, the Quinti, and the things given by [Caesar] himself, as by a master, are back in his […]

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Measure and proportion.

Vitruvius, De Architectura 1.2: Uti in hominis corpore e cubito, pede, palmo, digito ceterisque particulis symmetros est eurythmiæ qualitas, sic est in operum perfectionibus. As in the body of man the eurhythmy is of a symmetrical sort, from the forearm, the foot, the palm, the finger, and all the other small parts, so it is […]

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Foster-children of fresh water.

Cicero, Ad Atticum 15.16a: Equidem etiam pluvias metuo, si Prognostica nostra vera sunt; ranae enim ῥητορεύουσιν. I’m actually also worried it may rain, if our Prognostics is correct, as the frogs are making their speeches. The Prognostics (Διοσημεῖα), considered part of the Φαινόμενα of Aratus Solensis, was translated into Latin by Cicero in his youth. […]

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Pliny, Naturalis Historia 21.54: Tribulo proprietas, quod et fructum spinosum habet. The caltrop has the distinctive property that it even has a spiny fruit. There are a few plants called tribulus ‘caltrop’, in both English and Latin.  The one that today has Tribulus as its scientific name, the puncturevine, is probably not the one being referred to, […]

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What eye can't stand…

Cicero, Ad Atticum 10.8: Pati poterunt oculi me cum Gabinio sententiam dicere, et quidem illum rogari prius? Will my eyes be able to stand the sight of myself giving my opinion alongside Gabinius—or even his being asked it first? It looks clumsy, probably for the ‘eyes standing the sight of,’ which is probably a bit […]

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Numero Platonis obscurius.

Cicero, Ad Atticum 7.13: Ænigma […] plane non intellexi; est enim numero Platonis obscurius. I didn’t quite understand your riddle; it’s more obscure than Plato’s number. I’m not sure if ‘obscure’ is the best word to describe a riddle. “Plato’s number,” or the nuptial number, is given as either 6³ or 60⁴, both of which […]

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