VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

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VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:06 am

L. Livius mag. sociis aliisque sal.

As part of the College's mission to "advance education and instruction" of the Latin language (Regula, I.A), I have decided to start a little effort at building vocabulary. Each week, I intend to select a random entry from Lewis & Short's Latin Dictionary, and post it here, along with any peculiar details. Hopefully, from time to time, we'll learn something new, or at least reinforce our existing knowledge.

For this week, Fortuna has provided us with:

perfixus, a, um, transfixed, pierced: telis pavoris, Lucr. 3, 305: pectus, id. 6, 392; cf. id. 2, 360.

A fine, regular adjective from the verb perfigo, and which is only to be found in the lone surviving work of the philosophical poet, T. Lucretius Carus.

Lewis & Short's first reference (3, 305) is a description of the ox as having a temper halfway between that of the ferocious lion and the tranquil stag, because—among other things—the character of an ox "is not paralyzed when pierced by the icy javelins of fear" ("nec gelidis torpet telis perfixa pavoris").

In the second reference (6, 392), Lucretius is wondering why Jupiter's lightning bolts are so indiscriminate; why do they not target evil men only? He says that it would be a powerful lesson to such criminals if they were "to choke with a chest pierced by lightning" ("fulguris halent pectore perfixo").

The final reference (2, 360) is a heartbreaking description of a mother-cow, searching desperately for her calf who has been taken away and sacrificed at a temple. After looking everywhere, the cow "returns to her shed, pierced with longing for her calf" ("revisit ad stabulum desiderio perfixa iuvenci").

That's it for now! I hope this little vocabulary lesson has left you thoroughly transfixed! :lol: Check back next week for Lewis & Short's next offering!

Valete.
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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:04 pm

L. Livius mag. omnibus sociis sal.

Today the sortes dictionarianae have given us a verb:

dē-cresco, crēvi, crētum, 3, v. n. I. Orig., to grow less, grow shorter, decrease, wane (as the moon, bodies of water, the length of the day, etc.).—Hence, II. In gen., to decrease, become less, diminish.b. Poet., of the gradual disappearance of places as one removes farther from them.—* B. Pregn., to pass away by diminution; to vanish, disappear.

The word is very straightforward, being a compound of de (used as a negative prefix), and cresco (to grow)—hence, to "un-grow," or diminish. The word "decrease" is its immediate successor in the English language. A word of caution to the aspiring translator, however! Notice that the perfect system of this verb is identical to that of decerno (to decide), and so aliquid decretum could be "something decreed" or "something diminished."

We conclude by revisiting dear Lucretius, and an example of our word in actual use. After arguing that things cannot arise from nothingness, Lucretius follows with a similar claim: that existing things cannot be reduced to absolute nothingness, only atomized beyond the limit of our senses:

T. Lucretius Carus, I.313-314, 320-321 wrote:Uncus aratri ferreus occulte decrescit vomer in arvis ... sed quae corpora decedant in tempore quoque, invida praeclusit speciem natura videndi.

(The curved iron blade of the plough furtively wears away in the fields ... but exactly which particles escape at a given moment, the envious nature of vision withholds from our sight.)

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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:30 am

L. Livius mag. omnibus sociis sal.

This week the pages have yielded yet another verb:

lăbo, āvi, ātum, 1, v. n. [from the same root as 1. labor], to totter, be ready to fall, begin to sink, to give way, to be loosened (syn.: vacillo, titubo, nato). I. Lit ... II. Trop. A. To waver, to be unstable, undecided, to hesitate (in opinion, resolution, etc.) ... B. To sink, fall to pieces, go to ruin.

Don't be fooled by Lewis & Short's reference to "labor;" this verb has nothing to do with work! That annotation is directing us to another, deponent verb: lābor, lāpsus sum, which means "to slip" or "to glide."

Our verb is an entirely regular one of the first conjugation, and is widely found among a variety of well-known authors including Cicero, Livy, Ovid, Vergil, Tacitus, etc. Very little evidence of it, however, has made its way into English. The closest we find is the word "sleep" which shares the L+P/B combination from their common, Proto-Indo-European root *leb, which indicates "looseness" or "weakness". It's cousin, lapsus, has given us "lapse".

As always, I leave you with at least one quote from the maiores, in this case the litteratissimus himself, M. Tullius Cicero. Here, Cicero has cast Cato the Younger in the role of expositor of the Stoic school. At the conclusion of his lengthy panegyric, Cato marvels at the natural, internal unity of Stoic doctrine:

De finibus bonorum et malorum, III.22.74 wrote:Quid non sic aliud ex alio nectitur ut si ullam litteram moveris labent omnia?

(Where else is each [part] joined to another in such a way that, if you displace a single letter, the whole thing falls apart?)

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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:02 am

L. Livius mag. omnibus sociis sal.

A random flip through the pages of Lewis & Short has brought up an unusual noun for us this week:

endrŏmis, ĭdis, f., = ἐνδρομίς, a coarse woolen cloak in which the heated athletae wrapped themselves after their exercises, Mart. 4, 19 ; 14, 126 ; Juv. 3, 102. But afterwards a fine sort worn as an article of luxury : Tyriae, id. 6, 246 Rup.

This word isn't really Latin, but a borrowed term from Greek. Don't worry though, the Romans did this freely and often (Cicero was a notorious Latinizer of Greek)—such cross-pollination greatly enriches language! In Greek, this word literally means something put "on" (ἐν "en") at a "race" (δρόμος "dromos"). As such, we find the Greeks applying "endromis" to all sorts of race-related garments, including Artemis' running shoes, and the shields used in Olympic foot-races (i.e., the hoplitodromos).

In Latin, however, the term was used exclusively to refer to cloaks. Originally, Latin usage followed that of the Greeks: an endromis was a cloak worn by athletes after exerting themselves in the races in order to stave off the cool air, and avoid catching a cold. It was worn without a clasp or fastener, and as such, the word was later used to describe large, luxurious wraps worn especially by Roman women. Because it required so much fabric to fashion, such endromides were considered garments of the wealthy.

To conclude, I will leave you with M. Valerius Martial's description of an endromis which he gave to a friend:

Epigram IV.19 wrote:Hanc tibi Sequanicae pinguem textricis alumnam,
Quae Lacedaemonium barbara nomen habet,
Sordida, sed gelido non aspernanda Decembri
Dona, peregrinam mittimus endromida* ...
Ridebis ventos hoc munere tectus et imbris:
Nec sic in Tyria sindone tutus eris.

"This stout work of a Gallic weaver,
though barbarous, bears a Spartan name;
a lowly gift, but not to be spurned in the cold of December:
I'm sending you a foreign cloak ...
Wrapped in this gift, you will laugh at wind and rain—
you would never be so safe in Tyrian silk!"

* We might expect to see "endromidem" here, but because this is a Greek loanword, Martial declines it using Greek, rather than Latin, endings.

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Fig. 1. Illustration of an endromis.

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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:28 pm

L. Livius mag. omnibus sociis sal.

Occupatissimus eram hac hebdomade, sed tempus enim habeo pro novo verbo! Randomly tossing open Lewis & Short has yielded:

discĭdĭum, ii, n. [discindo]. I. A tearing asunder, dividing, parting (freq. in Lucr., elsewh. rare) — II. A separation of persons or things, a disagreement, discord ; also divorce (freq. and class. ; see Madvig. and Cic. Fin. 1, 13, 44, and the Excurs. ib. p. 812 seq.).

This is an abstract noun derived from the verb discindo ("to tear assunder" or "divide"), which in turn is constructed from the verb scindo ("to cut" or "split"); adding the preposition/prefix de- ("away from" or "apart") further specifies that the cutting/splitting doesn't just damage or wound the object in question, but separates it into pieces (like Shakespeare's phrase, "cleft in twain"). All in all, it's a pretty unpleasant semantic range. :(

Ut dictionarium dicit, the word can be used for literal divisions of physical things, but only our dear, old Lucretius seems to do this with any regularity. Otherwise, the word was much more commonly applied in a social sense, to describe divisions and separations among people, hence it is a synonym for divorce.

Cicero leaves us with an unambiguous sense of the word:

De finibus bonorum et malorum, I.13.44 wrote:Ex cupiditatibus odia, discidia, discordiae, seditiones, bella nascuntur.

"Of desire are born hatred, division, discord, sedition, and war."

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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:40 am

L. Livius mag. omnibus sociis sal.

To help the student of Latin literature navigate the dizzying array of kings, heroes, and (as we see today) gods, Lewis & Short includes a good number of proper nouns. Today's word is an example of this ...

Pălaemon, ŏnis, m., = Παλαίμων. I. A sea-god, formerly called Melicerta, the son of Athamas and Ino.—Hence, B. Pălaemŏnĭus, a, um of or belonging to the sea-god Palaemon, poet. for Corinthian, Stat. Th. 2, 380: Palaemoniae coronae, won at the Isthmian games, which were celebrated in honour of Palaemon, Claud. Cons. Mall. Th. 289.—II. Remmius Palaemon, a Roman grammarian in the time of Tiberias and Claudius.III. A shepherd, Verg. E. 3, 50.

The story of Palaemon, like many old myths, is a strange one: rife with vague connections between disparate places and traditions. Palaemon, originally known as Melicertes, was the son of Athamas, the King of Boeotia, and his second wife Ino, the Queen of Thebes. Because Ino had helped to rear the infant Dionysius, Hera spitefully afflicted her husband with madness as revenge. In the throes of his insanity, Athamas chased Ino and Melicertes off a cliff and into the sea.

Instead of perishing, however, the mother and son were transformed into nautical deities: Ino became Leucothea (the "White Goddess"), and Melicertes became Palaemon (possibly meaning "the Wrestler," which led to an association with Heracles in the interpretatio graeca). It is said that dolphins carried his mortal remains to the Isthmus of Corinth, where King Sisyphus (of rock-pushing fame) commanded the Nereids to inaugurate the Isthmian Games in his honour. From this story, we can see how "Palaemonian" became a poetic term for "Corinthian."

Image
Fig.1. A Roman denarius bearing the head of Neptune on the obverse, and a winged Palaemon riding his dolphin on the reverse.

Far less marvellous, however, is the second person named Palaemon in our dictionary entry: Quintus Remmius Palaemon, a freed slave who taught grammar in Rome during the first century of the Empire. He wasn't terribly influential during his own lifetime, but his singular use of the word gramma as a measure of weight is the direct source for our metric unit of "grams."

Finally, in one of his Eclogues, Vergil has a shepherd named Palaemon judge a singing contest between his friends.

In Plautus' comedy, The Rope, we hear Sceparnio, an Athenian slave, invoke the divine name of watery Palaemon while peering at a shipwreck:

Rudens, 1.2.70 wrote:O Palaemon, sancte Neptuni comes,
qui Herculis socius esse diceris,
quod facinus video?

"O Palaemon, holy companion of Neptune,
who are said to be a friend of Hercules,
what is this that I see?

Valete.
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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:54 pm

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I apologize for the delay in our weekly vocabulary lesson, but I've been spending too much time at the Circus lately! Anyways, as they say: "Better late than never," so without further ado:

sordīdus, a, um, adj. [sordeo], dirty, unclean, foul, filthy, squalid, sordid (class.). I. Lit. (syn: squalidus, obscenus).—Transf., of mourners, clad in mourning, Cic. Mur. 40, 86.—B. Transf. low, base, mean, as to birth, rank, or condition; poor, humble, small, paltry (syn.: illiberalis, infimus).—II. Trop., low, mean, base, abject, vile, despicable, disgraceful (syn. turpis). A. In gen.—B. In partic., mean, niggardly, penurious, sordid (cf. parcus). Hence, adv.: sordĭdē. 1. Lit. dirtily, foully.2. Transf. meanly, basely.3. Trop. a. Vulgarly, unbecomingly, poorly.b. Meanly, stingily, penuriously, sordidly.

This is a good, regular adjective, that gets lots of mileage in Latin literature. It has entered the English language as the adjective "sordid," which always makes me think of this:

Image
"I know it sounds sordid, but you'll be rewarded, when at last I am given my dues! And injustice deliciously squared: be prepared!"

The meaning of sordidus is quite broad, but consistent: anything low, dirty, and unclean, be it literally or figuratively. If it helps, think of anything Gollum might say about "hobbitses:" nasty, filthy, tricksy, sneaky ... and you'll have a good sense of the spectrum of sordidus.

Image
"Quid habet in sordidis loculis istis?"

In honour of the ludi Romani and the races the aediles are hosting at the moment, I'll leave you with a quotation from one of Q. Horatius Flaccus' epistles. It is an invitation to a house-party, which Horace admits will be somewhat frugal, but impeccably clean. In it he mentions the mappa (personal napkin) which, in addition to dining, magistrates used to signal the start of the races:

Ep. 1.5 wrote:Haec ego procurare et idoneus imperor et non invitus, ne turpe toral, ne sordida mappa corruget naris, ne non et cantharus et lanx ostendat tibi te, ne fidos inter amicos sit qui dicta foras eliminet.

"I am the proper and willing person responsible for procuring these things: that the couch linens be not dirty, that some filthy napkin does not wrinkle your nostrils, that the wine-cups and dinner plates reflect yourself back to you, [and] that there be no one to blab about what is said among faithful friends."

Valete.
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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:30 pm

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If you thought this week might pass by without a verbum novum, fear not! I've come at the eleventh hour with the latest entry from Lewis & Short:

pŏpīnālis, e adj. [popina], of or belonging to a cook-shop: deliciae, Col. 8, 16, 5: luxuria, App. M. 8, p. 201, 13.

It's a very short entry, attesting to a little-used word. It's the adjective derived from popina, a Latin word for a public eating-house. Today, we could apply it to all sorts of modern establishments such as restaurants, bistros, and pubs. The word itself, however, seems to have left no mark on the English language. The closest thing I could find are words like "kitchen" and "cuisine," which ultimately come from a Latin cognate of popina, viz., coquina. The change from the hard "c" sound to "p" is a feature of some south Italian dialects (Oscan, Umbrian, etc.) from which the Latins likely borrowed this word.

Since Lewis & Short offers only two references to this particular adjective, we can examine both. The first is from L. Iunius Moderatus Columella, an incredibly important but poorly attested author on agriculture. In a chapter on the history of rearing fish, he states:

Res rustica, 8.16.5 wrote:Iam enim celebres erant deliciae popinales cum ad mare deferrentur vivaria, quorum studiosissimi, velut ante devictarum gentium Numantinus et Isauricus, ita Sergius Orata et Licinius Murena captorum piscium laetabantur vocabulis.

"Such gastronomic delights became very fashionable, when fishponds were first created away from the sea. Those most obsessed with them were delighted to be named after the fish they had caught, just like Numantinus and Isauricus were after the nations they had conquered. Thus, Sergius was called "Orata" (gilt bream), and Licinius "Murena" (lamprey)."

The second reference is from the only surviving Latin novel of antiquity: the Metamorphoses of L. Apuleius, also known as The Golden Ass. Apuleius introduces the charming character Thrasyllus as follows:

Metamorphoses, 8.1 wrote:Erat in proxima civitate iuvenis natalibus praenobilis quo clarus et pecuniae fuit satis locuples, sed luxuriae popinalis scortisque et diurnis potationibus exercitatus ... Thrasyllus nomine.

"There was in a nearby city a young man of noble birth, who was well-known and rich with great wealth, but was overly familiar with the extravagances of taverns, whores, and constant drinking ... by the name of Thrasyllus."

It is interesting to note that in both cases, our authors use popinalis with a slightly disapproving tone suggestive of luxury, excess, and gluttony.

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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:25 am

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This week's verbum hebdomadale:

con-trībŭlo, no perf., ātum, 1, v. a., to crush, bruise (eccl. Lat.): capita draconum, Vulg. Psa. 73,13: dorsum ipsorum, id. Ecclus. 35, 22 sq.—II. Trop., to afflict much, to crush: sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus, Vulg. Psa. 50, 18: rogationem contribulati abicere, id. Ecclus. 4,4.

Today we are offered a very interesting verb. As we can see, it means "to crush", "bruise," or otherwise "afflict" someone or something. It's derived from the verb tribulo ("to press," cf. the English word "tribulation"), which in turn comes from the verb tero ("to bruise" or "grind") through diminution. To this verbal root, con- has been added as an intensifying prefix.

What's especially interesting about this verb is that it seems to have been coined by St. Jerome in his Latin translation of the Christian Bible, i.e., the Vulgate. Providence is evidently at work as well, for today just so happens to be St. Jerome's feast-day in the calendar of the Church of Rome!

All the references provided by Lewis & Short are from the Vulgate, and so anyone with a copy of the Bible can check them out. They are, as follows:

Psalms 73:13 wrote:Tu confirmasti in virtute tua mare, contribulasti capita draconum in aquis.

"In your strength you established the sea, you crushed the heads of the serpents in the waters."

Ecclesiasticus 35:22 wrote:Et Dominus non longinquabit sed iudicabit iustos et faciet iudicium, et Fortissimus non habebit in illis patientiam ut contribulet dorsum ipsorum.

"And the Lord will not tarry, but will judge the just and will issue his sentence; and the Almighty will have no patience with those whose backs he will break."

Psalms 50:19 wrote:Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus.

"A broken spirit is a sacrifice to God."

Ecclesiasticus 4:4 wrote:Rogationem contribulati ne abicias et non avertas faciem tuam ab egeno.

"Do not dismiss the request of the afflicted, and do not turn away your face from one in need."

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Re: VERBVM HEBDOMADALE

Postby Lucius Livius Seneca » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:45 am

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Quamquam mora minima, hoc verbum hebdomadale est:

rĕmissĭo, ōnis, f. [remitto] (acc. to remitto, I. A. and B.), a sending back or away, releasing. I. Lit. (rare). 1. A sending back, returning; of persons: obsidium captivorumque, Liv. 27,17, 1.—Of things, a throwing back, reflecting: splendoris, Vitr. 7, 3, 9.—2. A letting down, lowering: ex superciliorum aut remissione aut contractione, Cic. Off. 1, 41, 146.—II. Trop. A. A slackening, relaxing, abating, diminishing, remitting; remission, relaxation, abatement (syn. relaxatio) ... laxity, Cic. de Or. 2, 53, 212 ... —2. Slackness, laxness, want of spirit: in acerbissimā injuriā remissio animi ac dissolutio, Cic. Fam. 5, 2, 9.—3. Relaxation, recreation ... —4. Mildness, gentleness, lenity ... so, remissione poenae, by a relaxing, diminishing of punishment, by a milder punishment, Cic. Cat. 4, 6, 13.—B. (Acc. to remitto, I. B. 2. b.) A remitting of a penalty, etc., a remission ... remission, abrogation, Dig. 39, 1, 8, § 4.—Plur.: post magnas remissiones, reduction of rent, Plin. Ep 9, 37, 2.—C. In eccl. Lat., remission, forgiveness of sin, etc. ... —*III. A repetition: nova ludorum remissio, Petr. 60, 5.

This week's word is an abstract noun derived from the verb remitto (mitto, "to send," with the prefix re- indicating a repetition, so "to send again," i.e., "to send back"). As you can see, scattered throughout Lewis & Short's entry, it has entered the English language very directly as "remission."

As the dictionary also tells us, this word is very rarely used to mean a literal "sending back" or persons or things, but rather, is much more commonly used in its tropical (i.e., figurative) sense of "relaxing" or "lightening up" something. Various examples given include, the "remission" of penalties, rent, sins, etc.

Since most of Lewis & Short's examples are taken from M. Tullius Cicero, we shall follow suit, and conclude with the following quotation from the Stoic Tusculan Disputations:

2.54 wrote:Ut onera contentis corporibus facilius feruntur, remissis opprimunt, simillime animus intentione sua depellit pressum omnem ponderum, remissione autem sic urgetur, ut se nequeat extollere.

"Just as weight is carried more easily by tense muscles and is burdensome to relaxed ones, in exactly this way the soul shrugs off all the pressure of its troubles by its own force, but when relaxed becomes overwhelmed to the point that it is no longer able to sustain itself."

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