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Roscenhoil / rôzănhoilă.

Roesan Ibran: roscenhoil (рошшъњөјл). /ˌrɔç.çəˈɲœjl/
Paysan Ibran: rôzănhoilă. /ˌrɔ.çəˈɲɔj.lə/
fem. The nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos. [Vulgar Latin rusciniola.]

The Latin for nightingale is luscinia, as can be seen from the binomen, but Ibran, like French, Spanish, and some other Romance languages, does not use this form directly. The Vulgar Latin underlying forms like French rossignol and Spanish ruiseñor is a diminutive that for some reason has changed its initial L into an R; Ibran does likewise.

I rather like this word, though the Roesan Cyrillization of it is hideous; a good example, I think, of why Cyrillization is unpopular.

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Bonus et quietus et bonus.

Caesar, in Cicero’s Ad Atticum 10.8b:

Postremo quid viro bono et quieto et bono civi magis convenit quam abesse a civilibus controversiis?

Finally, what is more appropriate for a good man, a good and quiet citizen, than to absent himself from civil quarrels?

Caesar is trying to convince Cicero here not to get involved in some affair or other, in what Cicero describes as a nasty letter (odiosae litterae).

I don’t really like the repetition of “good … good” here, but it’s there to match the original bono … bono. Though looking at it now I see there’s a rather handsome sort of antimetabolic chiasmus in viro bono et quieto et bono civi that I hadn’t seen before. Not sure how I could render that in English.

Given the context I translated abesse as “to absent oneself from” rather than “to be absent from”. This may or may not be entirely justified.

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Virtue is goodness.

Laozi, Dàodéjīng 49:



Those who are good I treat with goodness;
Those who are not good I also treat with goodness —
Virtue is goodness.

Those who are faithful I treat with faithfulness;
Those who are not faithful I also treat with faithfulness —
Virtue is faithfulness.

All right, I can’t really translate Chinese. But I heard this while I was going through a Librivox edition of Tao Te Ching, and it connected with similar statements I had floating about in my head at the time.

The translation I heard (Goddard’s) didn’t seem all that clean here, so I went and hunted down an original to see if I could tidy it up a bit. The idea I get is that if Teh is goodness, then one following Teh needs to show goodness, whether undergoing goodness or badness; likewise, if Teh is trust, then the one following Teh needs to show trust, whether he’s given trustworthiness or untrustworthiness. To do otherwise would be to stop following Teh.

The doctrine surely has an extreme flavor, but it’s not exclusively Chinese; even Christianity (in its best forms) teaches us to love our enemies and repeatedly forgive those who wrong us.

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hirve. (í n. A hero. [Âdlantki *hirvé, from Kirumb *hírós, from Greek ἥρως hērōs.]

A couple more words left to fill out this line:

[It] despatched many brave souls of heroes.

I think that, culturally, hirve might have at least one more meaning in Atlantic. The Greek ἥρως was originally a sort of demigod, or one of the people of the fourth Age of Man, and these myths—if indeed they are myths in Nother—would have some effect on how similar sorts of people might be described. The ἥρως, I mean, might be identified with some specific race of people, perhaps still extant, when borrowed into Kirumb, and that identification might persist to the current day. I still have a lot of the syncretism of Nother to work out, though.

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Needlefish in Pliny.

Acus sive belone unus piscium dehiscente propter multitudinem utero parit.

The pipefish (acus, or belone) is the one fish that gives birth by its womb splitting open, due to its great number [of young].

The name belone has been observed to refer to both a toothed fish and a toothless one. The toothed fish, namely the garfish, still bears the name Belone belone in taxonomy today.

The family of the garfish are referred to generally as needlefish, which name directly corresponds to the Latin acus and the Greek βελόνη. However, that fish does not appear to be the one referred to here. The other, toothless fish called belone is identified with the greater pipefish (Syngnathus acus).

Pliny reports that the wound caused by the splitting womb grows back together after the birth (a partu coalescit vulnus) suggesting to us that perhaps a natural opening is meant, not merely one caused by injury to the animal.

Now, the pipefish is related to the seahorse and, as with the seahorse, the males carry the eggs till the young have hatched. This pipefish has a pouch in which the developing young are carried and which, apparently, has here been taken for the creature’s womb.

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Ablatives for ambiguity

Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 7.9:

Accusativi geminatione facta amphibolia solvitur ablativo, ut illud “Lachetem audivi percussisse Demean” fiat “a Lachete percussum Demean”. Sed ablativo ipsi, ut in primo diximus, inest naturalis amphibolia: “cælo decurrit aperto”: utrum per apertum cælum an cum apertum esset.

Ambiguity created by doubling an accusative is resolved with an ablative, so that Lachetem audivi percussisse Demean [‘Demea Laches struck, I heard’] may become a Lachete percussum Demean [‘…Demea was struck by Laches’]. But in the ablative itself there is an innate ambiguity, as whether cælo decurrit aperto [‘clear the sky he descended’] means he descended ”through” a clear sky or ”while” it was clear.

Most fun part of this was seeing if I could transfer the Latin ambiguities to the English gloss.

For Laches and Demea, while we may not have a direct parallel (as only pronouns have anything like an accusative) the unusual word order of ‘Demea Laches struck’ suggests a construction of the sort seen in poetry that might be read either way—is the object inverted, or the verb?

A similar trick almost works for ‘caelo decurrit aperto’ but I don’t think it works as well—the temporal reading would be much more likely to be written with a comma.

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About 24,800 results for ‘manure into gold’

Cato the Elder, De Agri Cultura:

Stercus unde facias: stramenta, lupinum, paleas, fabalia, acus, frondem iligneam, querneam.

You can make manure from straw, lupin, chaff, beanstalks, husks, and boughs of oak and holm-oak.

The short glosses of palea and acus both tend to be ‘chaff.’ Here, however, they are distinguished. Pliny describes the difference:

Acus vocatur, cum per se pisitur spica tantum, aurificum ad usus, si vero in area teritur cum stipula, palea, in maiore terrarum parte ad pabula iumentorum.

It’s called acus when just the spike is crushed by itself, for the use of goldsmiths; and palea if it’s ground on the threshing-floor along with the straw, as used for feeding beasts of burden in most of the world.

Acus is the rarer term and appears to be specifically for chaff from the husks of grain alone, while palea is the general term and includes straw chaff.

The mention of goldsmiths refers to the Roman practice, related by Pliny and Macrobius, of considering chaff (palea) the best material—or, indeed, the only appropriate material—to start a fire hot enough to melt gold.

The Romans weren’t the only people to use chaff in goldsmithing: the Egyptians, likewise, were said by Agatharchides to use this sort of chaff in refining gold. They heated the gold with salt, barley husks, and lead and/or tin to purify it.[1]

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Trentish word of the moment.

ningoh. (ˈniŋo) prep. Around; about; in the neighborhood of.

For Trentish, I picked up a random phrasebook off Google Books to mine for sample sentences. This example is … not particularly illustrative of the phrasal diversity I’m hoping for, but we’ll move along as we move along.

Ningohgrlr kwrlusyixr?
/niŋokʌlʌ kʷʌlusjixʌ/

Is it around here?


around [here]


around [somewhere else]
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Some Drake roots.

The other day I was working on some roots for Drake. I had, from somewhere, picked up the idea that these could be freestanding words on their own, but looking at existing vocabulary, bare roots don’t seem to become words—some derivation for the sake of nominalization and verbalization will be necessary, and I’ll have to work on that later.

  • Proto-Afro-Asiatic *bǐn- > PD *mÉ™n- > D mon- “to build” — miine “house” from the last Drake post is also from this root; compare Hebrew בנה bana “build”
  • PAA *bâr- > PD *bär- > D É£er- “blood; well up”
  • PAA *bir- > PD *bÉ™r- > D É£or- “lightning; to sparkle”
  • PAA *bǐrk’-/*bÇŽrk’- > PD *bärk’ > D É£erkk– “to flash (like lightning)” — cf. Hebrew ברק baraq “lightning”
  • PAA *bÇŽs’- > PD *bäs’- > D É£ess- “front; to enter” — cf. Arabic بسر basara “do prematurely”
  • PAA *biÅ¡- > PD *bəš- > D É£oÅ¡- “skin (e.g. of a human)”

These roots demonstrate that original *b does not survive in Drake; a bilabial stop does not fare well among dragons.



Adjectives associating with ‘capillus’ in classical Latin.

Last week, Iustinus had posted an issue he had run across — a student had attempted to refer to ‘brown hair’ in Latin, but a mot juste in this case seemed to be lacking.

I did a bit of searching through my handy corpus and found that among all the classical authors I had, color adjectives were generally not applied to capillus except in poetry; the one exception was Vitruvius, who speaks of men in the North who had straight red hair (directo capillo et rufo).

A point several brought up, and which I’m tending to agree with, is that the Romans may not have considered brown hair a separate category from dark/black (niger), light/blonde (flavus), gray/white (canus/albus), and red (rutilus/rufus).

While adjectives of color may not have been frequently applied to capillus, I found that adjectives of condition were much more common; those most frequently occurring (both in prose and poetry) are below.

Most commonly modifying ‘capillus’ or ‘capilli’

  • 14× passus (from pando ‘spread out’) — loose, disheveled; once in Caesar, once in Horace, twelve times in Ovid
  • 7× canus — gray, once in Horace, six times in Ovid
  • 7× sparsus — scattered, six times in Ovid, once in Propertius
  • 5× longus — long, once in Nepos, three times in Ovid, once in Tibullus
  • 4× incomptus — unkempt; once in Horace, once in Ovid, twice in Propertius
  • 4× pexus/pectendus — combed/to be combed, once in Cicero, three times in Ovid
  • 4× positus/ponendus — arranged; four times in Ovid (usually with a complement, e.g. positus sine arte, ponendus in mille modos)

Less frequently modifying ‘capillus’ or ‘capilli’

  • albus — white, once in Horace, once in Propertius, once in Tibullus
  • compositus — arranged, twice in Cicero
  • comptus — arranged, tidy, once in Cicero, once in Ovid, once in Vergil
  • digestus — arranged, twice in Ovid
  • effusus — twice in Ovid
  • flavus — blond, three times in Ovid
  • immissus — long, uncut, overgrown; three times in Ovid
  • incultus — once in Ovid, once in Seneca the Elder
  • inornatus — unadorned; twice in Ovid
  • intonsus — uncut, untrimmed; once in Ovid, once in Tibullus
  • madidus — damp, sodden, three times in Ovid
  • mollis — soft; once in Ovid, once in Tibullus
  • neglectus — unkempt, twice in Ovid
  • niger — black, twice in Horace
  • nitidus — neat; once in Horace, once in Tibullus
  • nudus — uncovered, twice in Ovid
  • odoratus — perfumed, once in Horace, twice in Ovid
  • ornatus/ornandus — arranged/to be arranged, twice in Ovid, once in Propertius
  • purpureus — purple, once in Ovid, once in Vergil
  • raptus — torn; three times in Ovid
  • rigidus — stiff; three times in Ovid
  • rutilus — gold-red; three times in Ovid
  • sacer — holy; once in Ovid, once in Tibullus
  • scissus — torn; once in Ovid, once in Tibullus
  • tortus — twisted; once in Ovid, once in Propertius, once in Vitruvius
  • turbatus — disheveled, twice in Ovid
  • vittatus — garlanded or banded, twice in Ovid

Only occurring once:

Albescens — Horace, anguinus — Catullus, carus — Ovid, coronatus — Ovid, crispus — Vitruvius, croceus — Ovid, deformis — Seneca the Elder, delibutus — Cicero, demissus — Ovid, diffusus — Ovid, directus — Vitruvius, [male] dispositus — Ovid, fulvus — Ovid, funestus — Ovid, fusus — Ovid, hirsutus — Ovid, horridus — Cicero, impulsus — Ovid, incintus — Ovid, indignus — Ovid, iniectus [umeris] — Ovid, inflatus — Ovid, laetus — Ovid, laniatus — Seneca the Elder, lapsus — Propertius, maestus — Ovid, motus — Ovid, muliebris — Vitruvius, praecinctus — Ovid, prensus — Ovid, promissus — Livy, pulcher — Propertius, pullus — Ovid, rorans — Ovid, rufus — Vitruvius, subcrispus — Cicero, summus — Ovid, tenues — Ovid, tonsus — Ovid, udus — Ovid, umens — Ovid, unctus — Horace, ustus — Tibullus, and viridis — Ovid.

As you may be able to tell, this is chiefly Ovid’s game; he is inordinately fond of using the word capillus to end a line, doing so no less than a hundred and fifty times (which is more than all other uses of the word combined in these authors).

Disclaimers: Of course I was only able to take a cursory glance at this many texts at once — it’s entirely likely I’ve included an adjective or two that doesn’t belong, or overlooked some (aside from the ones I deliberately left out, such as pronouns), or given a gloss that’s closer to a dictionary sense than to the context.   And this is only intended to be a survey of adjectives applied directly to capillus — more complicated constructions are left out.

Aside from this, I think these lists give an interesting start to Latin vocabulary pertaining to hair…

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