Latin inscription

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Latin inscription

Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:05 am

Salvete omnes,

While in Roma, I visited Ostia, the port of Roma. There I saw an inscription which puzzled my non-existent knowledge of Latin grammar somewhat. The inscription read "Senatus populus que Coloniae Ostienssium." On the other hand, SPQR stands for "Senatus populus que Romanus." Could anyone explain the discrepancy in the endings of "Coloniae Ostienssium" and "Romanus" which, I would've thought, would be the same?

Bene valete,
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Senatus Ostiensis

Postby Aldus Marius on Fri Jul 30, 2004 2:27 am

Salve, mi Curio!

There were various levels of recognition awarded to Roman towns, cities, colonies, trading-posts and what-have-you. A proper "township" (municipium) would have a charter, a city council, a city plan on file, and other trappings of local government. Interestingly, the council was called a senatus; and dedications are found from time to time with inscriptions mentioning that So-and-So was a town-councillor, among his other achievements.

The post of senator of a city acquired tax-gathering responsibilities in the late Empire, and not surprisingly fell out of favor. (Nobody wanted to be the one to lean on his neighbor.) The Caesars responded to the point where service on a council became mandatory for men of the appropriate class, and you were likely to suffer punishment if you tried to evade your duties. Someday humanity will learn that the gift of service, like any other gift, is made worthless when it is extracted by force...

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Fri Jul 30, 2004 2:29 pm

Salve Curio,

My guess is that, like SPQR means "The Senate and the People of Rome", this would mean "The Senate and the People of the Colony of Ostia", but there are others here that have more knowledge about inscriptions, Mus, Attice ?

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Fri Jul 30, 2004 9:19 pm

I'd venture that Romanus is in the nominative, as in "the Roman Senate and People" while Coloniae Ostienssium is in the genitive as in "the Senate and People of the Ostian Colony".
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:38 pm

Salvete omnes,

Many thanks for your replies! This does indeed clear up the problem of the Ostian inscription - I was puzzling over that. :)

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Silly Mari

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:01 pm

** rubesco **

Oh, dear...mi Curio, it seems you needed a grammar answer, and all I could think of was town-planning. That's what I get for being next-to-useless on grammar, but good at building things; I forgot which Collegium I was in. Endings. But of course! Me ineptum (Silly me).

Ah, well. Hopefully my smudge was at least helpful for background info. And you got your grammar reply, after all, so all's well.

Off to refine his little-hidden-Mouse impression is...
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:46 pm

Salve mi Mari,

No worries, the info you provided was highly interesting also - I never dedicate enough time as I should do to studying to the day-to-day life of Romans, so your post was most interesting. :)

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