Roma victor?

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Roma victor?

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:39 pm

Salvete Romani,

recently the movie "Gladiator" was aired on TV and while following the discussion about the movie afterwards, someone pointed out that it was too bad that the only Latin line in the whole movie was wrong.

He was referring too the line when Maximus is about to attack the Gauls and they start to ride, shoutin "ROMA VICTOR" as they go.

According to this person, it should be "Roma victrix" because Roma is female. Another person however, said that sentence is correct, because it's short for "Roma victor est".

Having forgotten most if not all of my latin lessons, I was wondering which one is correct in their statement. Or maybe they're both wrong?

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:03 pm

Roma victrix, dammit :evil: :wink:

Roma victor (est) sounds a bit awkward, if you ask me. (and so you did)

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:29 pm

Salvete Tiberi et Menci,

I offer my opinion hesitantly, in wait of the bigger Latin cannons (Lupus and Crispus), but...

"Roma victor est" still sounds stupid to me. Why? Because 'victor' is in this case a complement to the subject, 'Roma'. And since 'Roma' is a female noun, the complement to the subject should be 'victrix'. So according to me "Roma victor" is still wrong either way. But it could be that the word 'victor' was used for both female and male persons/cities/peoples. I'm not sure.

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Postby Anonymous on Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:59 pm

Roma victrix indeed.

An instance of victrix used by Cicero: "victrices Athenae". So I assume there's no victor-should-be-used-with-cities rule.

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Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Sep 14, 2004 3:31 am

Salvete omnes!

Not like the Germans (not Gauls; we're dealing with Marcus Aurelius' war) in the movie would've counted as a City anyhoo...

But, yes, ROMA VICTRIX. Roma is a She. A Goddess; the She-Wolf, if you like. So any way you'd care to describe Her must also be feminine, in grammatical case if not in content. Roma Pulchra, Roma Dea, Roma Regina...and Roma Victrix.

(I am passingly familiar with this thing, as the legions were also considered female, and mine--the Legio Sexta Victrix [!]--had as her war-cry, "Venus Victrix!". This, even though our patron Deity was actually Neptune--!)

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:46 am

It's been a while since I've seen the film, but I seem to remember another moment in which there was a phrase in a language besides English. When Commodus sends men to kill Maximus' family, the little boy said something like, "mamma, i soldati". This is Italian. Why he didn't say "Mater, milites" or even "Mama, los soldados" (since the family lived in Spain), I don't know. It irritated me, though.
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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Tue Sep 14, 2004 8:11 am

Salvete iterum

Since we are talking about languages in Gladiator, there is one other instance where a language other than Latin is used.

Right before the recreation of the battle of Zama, When Proximo is bargaining for a better price, his partner in conversation, the red wigged dude, greets an off-screen person with a fluently spoken 'Guten Tag'. Unexpected and therefore amusing... :)

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:11 am

Aulus Dionysius Mencius wrote:Right before the recreation of the battle of Zama, When Proximo is bargaining for a better price, his partner in conversation, the red wigged dude, greets an off-screen person with a fluently spoken 'Guten Tag'. Unexpected and therefore amusing... :)


Yes, I heard that too! Very strange.

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Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:24 pm

Salvete Amici,

I watched this film several times but in the dubbed German version and there's only this line "Roma Victor" in any other language than German. I must admit that they do good jobs in dubbing films here in Germania. Maybe I should watch it in English but I better don't because I fear it's American English and that doesn't fit to a film which plot is in Ancient Rome.

My Latin studies are also too long ago to know the answer if it's Roma Victor or Roma Victrix and my dictionary doesn't give me a clue to this answer either. I have a book written by a German about the Roman army which he'd entitles "Roma Victor" but maybe also after this line from the movie Gladiator.
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:47 pm

Salvete omnes,

The "Roma Victor" thing is also mentioned on Movie Mistakes :

After the battle against the Germans, Maximus lets out a cry of victory: "Roma victor." This is supposed to be latin, but, they got the grammar all wrong. "Roma" is feminine, so it should be "Roma victrix". Amazing how a mistake is still possible as there are only about three sentences in latin in the entire movie and a lot of specialists were supposed to have been working on it. [The grammar is incorrect, but the usage is not necessarily. Rome was feminine, but Roman society was highly patriarchal- and all soldiers were male, thus making it appropriate (if somewhat lowbrow) to substitute "victor" for "victrix" in the conversational Latin that Maximus and his soldiers would have spoken. Rhetorically, it would be more effective to shout "Roma victor"- four syllables, long-short, long-short metrical quality. To be quite honest, I doubt that the submitter, or most military men, would pay attention to strict rules of grammar after slaughtering hundreds of barbarians and feeling the pulse of bloodlust move through their veins.]

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:51 pm

that guy wrote: To be quite honest, I doubt that the submitter, or most military men, would pay attention to strict rules of grammar after slaughtering hundreds of barbarians and feeling the pulse of bloodlust move through their veins.


Lame excuse 8). Mixing up genders in a language where every word has a clear gender, would be a very unlikely mistake to make for a supposed native speaker of it. Perhaps with some languages that have an utrum (like Dutch or Norwegian) this is possible, but not Latin.

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:50 pm

Gnæus Dionysius Draco wrote:Mixing up genders in a language where every word has a clear gender, would be a very unlikely mistake to make for a supposed native speaker of it. Perhaps with some languages that have an utrum (like Dutch or Norwegian) this is possible, but not Latin.


Perhaps it will surprise you, but Palmer says that, in the Cena Trimalchionis, Petronius (who lets his 'vulgar' characters speak 'vulgar', colloquial latin), makes errors in gender and declension.

For more on vulgar latin, see :

http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/latinlearning/a/vulgarlatin.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgar_Latin

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:01 am

Salve Attice,

It depends on what gender errors. If a word simply got another gender (à la dies), that's something different than making a wrong accord with a word of another gender...

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Postby Q Valerius on Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:11 pm

Ah Petronius, the one and only Roman novelist. I do say that correct grammar would give way to "Roma Victrix." Now, concerning the "colloquial grammar" of Trimalchio, I believe that it was applied to his dinner speech, was it not? After all, he was drunk when that speech was made and that is the most likely interpretation of it. However, I do not doubt in my mind that the warriors would have made Roma masculine after conquering a whole tribe of Germani. Latin's "clear gender" wasn't really all that clear, especially since it's daughter languages overly simplified the rules beyond recognition. Pirata is masculine, AEgyptus is feminine. Roma is, according to correct speech, feminine, but look at how many people get even English grammar wrong today? Is it that inconceivable that Maximus would have appealed to the virile side of victory.
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:50 am

Salvete

Spoken Latin among the vulgar included all kinds of straying from what we use as Classical Latin. A low centurian, possibly from some Italic tribe that only speaks a mixed form of Latin, I'll grant you might mix up a gender or two when addressing fellow soldiers. But wasn't Maximus suppose to be the general of the Roman armies? Would someone of his social status be speaking Latin like a drunken Trimalchio?
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Postby Q Valerius on Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:26 pm

As my last line asks, "Is it that inconceivable that Maximus would have appealed to the virile side of victory?" He wasn't giving a speech to the Senate, he was claiming victory on a battlefield. Even Cicero uses the vulgar expression "ad te scribo" instead of "tibi scribo" so we know that vulgar expressions when not public aren't always correct.
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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:20 pm

Salve Scerio,

scripsisti

Is it that inconceivable that Maximus would have appealed to the virile side of victory


Perhaps not, but I don't think that while writing the script, they said "well, Roma victrix would be correct, but let's make it Roma victor to suggest that Maximus is appealing to the virile side of victory. Sure, everyone who knows enough Latin will think we made a mistake at first, but afterwards they will understand this subtle change of grammar" :wink:

If we would have found Roma victor in the writings of a Cicero, then that might be a valid explanation, since we can safely assume that he knew Latin and would thus have had a meaning for writing what would look like a mistake at first. But, in a movie, I don't think so.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:56 pm

Salve Piscine,

Italic tribe? Maximus was a Spaniard! 8)

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