Nomina Castrata

The following is a list of nouns that features both a masculine and neuter form, each with the same meaning. Allen and Greenough hint that there are “many others of rare occurrence” beyond this list, suggesting neuter-for-masculine is a comfortable poetic standard, but these are the most common instances, or the ones used most widely in classical literature.

  • balteus/um, -ī sword belt, girdle
  • cāseus/um, ī cheese (also, in comedy, term of endearment)
  • clipeus/um, ī round brazen shield
  • collum/us, ī neck
  • cingulum/us, ī waistband, waist strap
  • pīleus/um, ī liberty cap
  • tergum/us, ī back
  • vāllum/us, ī wall, rampart

By the way, the Allen and Greenough term for these guys is heterogeneous. This term also covers the plūria transexuālia and plūria aliēna that I discussed in earlier posts.

2 comments on “Nomina Castrata

  1. I think the more common translation (or at least the translation students of Vergil are used to seeing) for balteus is “sword belt”. When dealing with feminine things, balteus refers to a girdle, which is not quite a “woman’s shoulder strap” (LSJ).

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