Lacking a Latin dictionary...

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Lacking a Latin dictionary...

Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Aug 13, 2004 11:09 pm

Salvete omnes,

Two questions: I've been studying some late Republican speeches recently, and they often involve extensive use of the word "Quirites" which as I understand it is "People". Now this derives from the word the God of the Roman people, Quirinus. But what is the singular of "quirites"? Surely not Quirinus? Would it be "Quiritus"?

The second question derives naturally from a realisation made when I considered the first; what would you recommend as a good Latin-English dictionary? 8)

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Marius attempts a Grammar Question!

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Aug 14, 2004 2:47 am

Salve, mi Curio...

My guess: Quires.

Flamen, Flamines; Miles, Milites;
and if you're hungry for mostly-noodle soup, Ramen, Ramines.

As for dictionarii, I use one of these three depending on the occasion (and which is nearest to hand):
-- Collins Gem (or "My Tiny Latin Dictionary")
-- Langenscheidt (or, "Truly Tiny Latin Dictionary")
-- Cassells Latin/English - English/Latin (for word origins, many examples of use, shades of meaning, and other heavy-duty work; the need for this one is worth a special trip to the other end of the house to get it)

A good friend, Lucius Salix Cicero, some time ago sent me a Vox Latin/Spanish dictionary. I may be the only person in the world who ever desired such a thing for the purpose of learning Spanish--!

In amicitia,
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:39 am

Salve Curio

The singular of Quirites is ... non-existent. The word belongs to the so called "pluralia tantum", words that only occur in the plural. Other examples are fauces, manes, Optimates etc.

As far as I know, the best Latin-English dictionary is still the Oxford Latin Dictionary. A serious drawback is that it is as pricy as it is solid : 230 £ / 274 $ :roll:

Also very good is the Lewis & Short dictionary. Still 110 £ in book form, but .. available for free on the internet : http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/resolveform

Vale,

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:13 pm

Salvete Mari et Attice,

Many thanks for your answers! No singular at all? That is strange... You mentioned Optimates as being among the pluralia tantum. But, and I could be wrong, wasn't one of the manifestations of Jupiter supposed to be Jupiter Optimatus?

The Lewis and Short website is duly added to the favourites list, and when I go into town on Monday I'll try and pick up a Cassell Latin-English dictionary, chosen due to my familiarity with the excellent Cassell Dictionary of Cynicism. 8)

Cheers guys!

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:22 pm

Salve Curio,

Dictionary of cynicism ? Is that something like Ambrose Bierce's (in)famous "Devil's dictionary" (available online at
http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com). Could you give me the bibliographical references of it ?

Vale,

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Aug 15, 2004 1:09 pm

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:Salvete Mari et Attice,

Many thanks for your answers! No singular at all? That is strange... You mentioned Optimates as being among the pluralia tantum. But, and I could be wrong, wasn't one of the manifestations of Jupiter supposed to be Jupiter Optimatus?


I'm not a religion buff, but don't you mean Iuppiter Optimus Maximus here?

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Sun Aug 15, 2004 2:33 pm

My Latin teacher always emphasized that there are also proper names that appear only in the plural, using Athens as an example. Is that right?
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:23 pm

Salve Tergeste,

Yes, he was right!

Vale,
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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sun Aug 15, 2004 5:15 pm

Salve Tergeste,

Other examples are castra and moenia, both probably come from an older singular form (in this case castrum and moenium), but are almost always used in their plural form.

As for Quirites, there actually is a singular form, but it's rarely used. Just like castrum and moenium, this word is the basis from which came Quirites and can almost only be found in early Latin.

The singular form is Quiris (genitive : Quiritis and so Quirites is the normal plural form) and means Roman citizen. I found in my dictionary that Horatius used it once to mean civilian, as opposed to a soldier, but I couldn't find where.

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Aug 16, 2004 12:01 am

Salvete omnes,

Attice: Ah, Ambrose Bierce. One of my heroes, you know. Yes, it is similar, although its more a collection of cynical quotes about various subejcts than a literal dictionary, but it's still very good. I'm afraid I've temporarily mislaid it, so I don't have a reference number, but it's called "The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations" and I highly recommend it.

Draco: Dammit! Should've known I'd made a mistake there somewhere...

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Hold That Quote...

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:51 am

Salvete amici!

Actually it wasn't Horatius who called his soldiers "Citizens"; it was Gaius Iulius Caesar. Seems, towards the end of the Gallic campaign (or was it the Civil Wars?), that his soldiers (even the illustrious Tenth Legion!) were beginning to complain. They had a point; most of them had been serving under him way past their normal discharge dates, often with no pay and sometimes with no provisions. Old men who could no longer chew field rations had first taken the Oath as underage teens. They had served through every kind of hardship, and, oh yeah, there'd been a lot of that business about sticking sharp pointy objects between other peoples' ribs while trying not to get stuck themselves. So they sent a delegation to tell the Great One that it was time for them to be released to go home.

Gaius Iulius listened, and Gaius Iulius decided. He called together all the men in an assembly and told them they would be granted their discharges, that Caesar only needed time to arrange them. And the next word out of his mouth was "Quirites..."

The soldiers must've felt like they'd been smacked in the face with a mule-strap. It was one thing to ask to be made mere Citizens again. It was quite another to have it done; after all the shared hardships, the unit pride, the rivalries between Centurions, the routine (and most of these men had known no other life!)--all those years of being addressed as fellow-soldiers by a commander they almost worshipped, to have that same man call them "Quirites" instead made a sting that would not go away. And the ease with which he'd been ready to dismiss them! --They rushed Caesar en masse, throwing themselves at his feet, begging tearfully to be taken back, for all their honor rested with him and in their service. Any civilian-side aspirations and concerns had suddenly paled to insignificance.

To his credit, Gaius Iulius accepted their offer, though they had to earn back his respect all over again. To their credit, they did...and something tells me there weren't many more discharge requests in Caesar's Legions!

And now ya know...
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Fact Check

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Aug 19, 2004 3:22 am

Salvete iterum...

I took the precaution of looking up that little story, as there were a couple of Emperors who were in a position to do the same sort of thing, and I would want to post a correction if it were one of them instead. (The Rhine Mutiny under Tiberius comes to mind.)

Yep, it was Caesar; Suetonius mentions the incident (Twelve Caesars, "Caesar", 70). Tacitus has it too, but I haven't looked up the reference.

Part-time Scholar-squirrel is...
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:29 pm

Salvete commilites et Quirites

The main sources for the mutiny in question are Appian BC II 92-94 and Dio XLII, 52-55. It took place at Rome, about a year after Pharsalia and just after Caesar announced his plans for a campaign in Africa. The cause was Caesar's failure to pay his troops the spoils he had earlier promised. There was an earlier mutiny, about ten years before in Gaul, when Caesar's reply was that he would march with Legio X alone if the others would not follow. But in Sept. 47 even Legio X was fed up with all of Caesar's broken promises. Caesar agreed to pay, after his return from Africa using fresh troops, and thereby indicating that his veterans would be cut out of the African spoils. The African campaign proved one of the most difficult; Labienus trapped Caesar and almost managed to annihilate him. It all came back on Caesar later in Spain when for the first time Legio X nearly routed at Munda.

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