Scanning Aloud

Allen and Greenough offer this tip for learning the rhythm of Latin poetry:

“‘Scanning aloud’ is sometimes useful in the early stages of the study of Latin meter. Scanning aloud ignores the natural stress of the Latin words, instead treating all long syllables as stressed, all short syllables as unstressed. In effect, this technique replaces a quantitative pattern with a stress pattern.” -§607n1

  • If they mean what I believe they mean, I don’t see where this would be effective
  • Personally, I found that learning Latin verse based on the stress of its meter, not its syllables, works well
  • Would a spondee be read with double stress in this method? What would that accomplish?

Here’s an earlier post I did on a site with some sample readings aloud.

Does anyone else have experience with / thoughts on how to read Greek and Latin aloud, and how to use this as a teaching tool?

I had the fortune of reading about 50 lines of Greek and 40 lines of Latin in front of the kids at the Center for Talented Youth this summer. They were very taken with it. This was during a camp talent show with a Harry Potter theme, so, to preface, I told them that Greek was the language of Hufflepuff (with all its aspirates), and Latin the language of Slytherin (which was at least true of Aeneid 6.1-41, the highly sibilant passage I read them).

The Essential AG: 607 n1

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Praenōmina

While we’re on the topic of names, let’s go over the 18 typical Roman praenōmina.

Origin of the Praenōmina

A&G list the praenōmina, but they don’t discuss their origin, their use, or why there are only 18.

  • From what I can tell, the names became concentrated because fathers had a habit of naming their sons after themselves
  • Marcus Tullius Cicero was Marcus, son of Marcus, son of Marcus, son of Marcus, (son of Marcus?)
  • Certain names became associated with certain patrician gentēs, encouraging further concentration
  • I assembled my information from this page

The List

Honestly, if you just sit down and decline all of these by hand, you’ll likely be set for life. You may not be able to list them off from memory, but when you encounter Mām, you’ll no longer forget it’s Māmercus.

  • A. Aulus
  • App. / Ap. Appius
  • C. / G. Gāius
  • Cn. / Gn. Gnaeus
  • D. Decimus
  • K. Kaesō
  • L. Lūcius
  • M. Mārcus
  • M’. Mānius
  • Mām. Māmercus
  • N. / Num. Numerius
  • P. Pūblius
  • Q. Quintus
  • Ser. Servius
  • Sex. / S. Sextus
  • Sp. Spurius
  • T. Titus
  • Ti. / Tib. Tiberius

Go on, now. Decline them! They don’t even have plurals. It won’t take you more than ten minutes.

The Essential AG: 108c

Famous Phrase: nōmen nesciō (n.n.) [I don’t know the name]

[An N.N. number is assigned to Jane Does in certain European countries, in order to protect the identity of witnesses or victims]

Roman Names in Inscriptions and Literature

For an introduction to names, see this post.

Names in Roman Inscriptions

The given name of a Roman citizen on a stone inscription appears as complex as possible. In fact, it looks so complicated that I’m not sure I understand all of it–readers, feel free to assist me.

  • In addition to a given figure’s name, we find (i) the praenōmina of father, grandfather and great-grandfather as well as (ii) the tribe to which the figure belong
  • the Romans were divided into tribes in order to centralize voting, sacrifices, etc. — members of a tribe elected tribunes as tribal representatives

Mārcus Tullius Cicerō Mārcus Tullius Mārcī fīlius Mārcī nepōs Mārcī pronepōs Cornēliā tribū Cicerō.

  • Mārcus, the praenōmen
  • Tullius, of the gēns Tullia
  • Mārcī fīlius, son of Mārcus
  • Mārcī nepōs, grandson of Mārcus 
  • Mārcī pronepōs, great-grandsom of Mārcus
  • Cornēliā tribū, in the Cornelian tribe
  • Cicerō, the cognōmen

This would have been abbreviated M TVLLIVS M F M N M PR COR CICERO

Names in Roman Literature

Here, the system is simplified:

  • Mārcus Tullius Cicerō Mārcus Tullius Mārcī fīlius Cicerō
  • the father’s name is included, but nothing else
  • poets, of course, will use synecdoche or metonymy to rename their subjects as needed

Women, for contextual comparison, were denoted with the possessive genitive of their father’s or husband’s name.

  • Caecilia Metellī = Caecilia, daughter of Metellus
  • Postumia Servī Supliciī = Postumia, wife of Servus Suplicius

The Essential AG: 108 n1

Famous Phrase: eō nōmine [by that name]

(a legal phrase denoted sovereign immunity–a U.S state may not be sued eō nōmine: that is, under its own laws. It must be tried at the federal level)

Āgnōmina

Somehow, this post got very political. I trust you’ll still enjoy it.

Agnōmina

Fourth or fifth names may be added to denote particular family distinctions.

  • Pūblius Cornēlius Scīpiō Āfricānus Aemiliānus=
  • Pūblius (my widdle Pubb-pie, as his mother might say)
  • Cornēlius (an important gēns with uncertain origins)
  • Scīpiō (the Scīpiō family, descended from some particular Cornelian nicknamed for his ‘ceremonial rod’)
  • Āfricānus (for Pūblius’ exploits in Africa)
  • Aemiliānus (adopted from the Aemilian gēns)

The Romans simply saw these as further cōgnōmina, but later writers described these as agnōmina 

Gēns vs. Familia

If you’re worried about the difference between the gēns and the ‘family,’ just imagine that each gēns stretched back to some great ancient ancestor, whereas each family stretch back to some more recent republican ancestor

  • We’re distantly related to Thomas Jefferson (gēns Jeffersōnia)
  • I heard this form uncle George (George Jeffersōnia Bush Īrācānus)
  • George W. would have been George J. B. Minor in his early days
  • You may think he doesn’t deserve the āgnōmen ‘Īrācānus,’ and neither do I–so let’s realize just how political these little nicknames really are [I’m sure a number of Romans refused Scīpiō his ‘Āfricānus’]
  • George’s great-grandfather, Sam Prescott Bush, may have added a fifth āgnōmen–the gēns name of the Rockefellers–because he rose to prominence with the aid of John’s brother, Frank Rockefeller
  • This entire example is complicated by the fact that the Bushes would be publicans not patricians

The Essential AG: 108a

Famous Phrase Revisited: ‘cēterum autem censeō Fedem dēlendem esse.’ [and what’s more, I claim that the Fed must be destroyed]

Ron Paul as Catō Maior

[if you have no idea what my politics are, then I’ve designed this post correctly!]

Whitaker’s Smart Little WORDS

I’m more fickle with my Latin reading resources than Catullus is with his lovers. I was reading Catullus 25 today (Catullus chastises Thallus for stealing napkins and pottery), when I came across the adjective ‘mollicellas.’ I performed a search in my standby resource–the Wiktionary–and got no results. Whitaker’s WORDS (the application for Mac OS X) also failed, but failed with this result:

I thought, “oh, that’s cute,” so I performed a few more compound searches, and realized this is a standard feature from Whitaker’s. This isn’t too useful while reading Catullus, but if I were reading Virgil, or whichever Latin writers compete with Aeschylus for the title of ‘Master of the Ἅπαξ Λεγόμενον,’ it may prove very useful.

Here’s the link to download. I’m still a die-hard for the Wiktionary, but I’m no longer monogamous.

http://archives.nd.edu/whitaker/words.htm

Roman Names

Summary of Name Structure

The typical Roman had three names: the praenōmen (first name), the nōmen (gēns name), and the cōgnōmen (family name).

  • Mārcus Tullius Cicerō =
  • Mārcus (what’s up, Marcus?) +
  • Tullius (the time-honored descendants of Servius Tullius, 6th kind of Rome)
  • Cicero (the Cicero family, descended from some particular Tullian who earned the nickname ‘chickpea’)

A gēns is much larger than a family, and a Roman was more formally and less intimately attached to the name. ‘Mārcus Tullius Cicerō‘ may be compared to todays ‘John Proper III, descendant of James Black, Duke of York.’

  • On the day-to-day, he was just Mārcus Cicerō
  • When two members of the same family are mentioned together, the cōgnōmen is plural: Pūblius et Servius Sullae

What About Women?

No first names–no praenōmina, and no family names–no cōgnōmina.

  • Cicero’s daughter was Tullia
  • Further daughters would have been Tullia secundaTullia tertia, etc. 

The Essential AG: 108, 108b

Famous Phrase: nōmen est ōmen : the name is a sign

[tied with nominative determinism–the outlook that given names inform what we become and how we develop]

The Locative Case (p2)

Again, I’ve grown curious about the Locative, so now that I’ve discussed how to form it, I’d like to pick through all the ways to use it. A&G have no single section on the case; they drizzle it throughout the grammar.

Where’d It Come From?

Here’s a story of three cases: there were originally the ablative (case from where), the instrumental (case how or by what) and the locative (case whereat).

  • The instrumental and the locative were eventually absorbed, leaving the ablative to denote both instrument and location
  • However, there are still a few handfuls of words which retain an archaic locative
  • Compare it to the way that certain English words (who/whom, he/his/him) still take case endings, despite the near non-existence of visible cases within modern English

Things look trickier with the dative cause. Some argue that dative is directly related to or descended from the locative, where it originally noted the place to which. I’m no master of historical Latin linguistics, so this is all the research I’m going to bother with.

  • Suffice it to say: the locative has a historical relationship with the dative and the ablative

Locative Adverbs

The following adverbs are all archaic locatives: ubi, where; hīc, here; ibi, there; illī, there; peregrī, abroad; prīdiē, yesterday; hōdiē, today; postrīdiē, tomorrow; perendiē, the day after tomorrow

Locative in Apposition

The locative may be placed in apposition to an ablative

  • They halted at Alba, a fortified town: Albae cōnstitērunt, in urbe mūnītā.


Mind and Soul

The archaic animī are mentis are common locatives.

  • Antipho tortures my mind: Antiphō mē excruciat animī.
  • She is in suspense: animī pendet.
  • My mind deceives me: mē animī fallit.
  • I was out of my mind: dēsipiēbam mentis.
  • He is sound of mind and heart: sānus mentis et animī est.

Exhausitve List of Ablative

A&G appears to offer an exhaustive list of all remaining locatives in section 427.3. However, elsewhere they imply that you could make a locative of any word using the basic rules of formation. I don’t know whether Romans did or did not freely form the locative where they needed it (for place names). I’m not sure A&G do either.

The list:

Rōmae, at Rome; Rhodī, at Rhodes; Samī, at Samos; Tīburī/Tībure, at the Tibur; Philippīs, at Philippi; domī/domuī, at home; Athēnīs, at Athens; Lānuvī, at Lanuvium; Cyprī, at Cyprus; Cūribus, at Cures; Capreīs, at Capri; rūrī, in the country; bellī, at war; mīlitae, at war; humī, on the ground; vesperī/vespere, in the evening; forīs, outdoors, animī, in the soul, mentis, in the mind; temperī, at a time; herī/here, yesterday; īnfēlīcī arborī, on the barren tree; terrā marīque, by land and sea

If the list is short a few words, these may be the locative adverbs mentioned above.

But… that’s it? I suppose if you wrote these out five times you would have an entire case memorized.

The Essential AG: (again, scattered) 215.5; 282d; 358; 398; 421; 426.3; 427a

Famous Phrase: nec mē animī fallit quam sint obscūra [nor am I deceived by how dark it is]

Lucretius, Dē Rērum Natūrā 1.922

(he’s discussing the intimidating depth of the universe–a fear which study overcomes)