STEPS IN READING A LATIN INSCRIPTION


(The inscription is repeated below.)

  1. Get a text. Write out on a piece of paper exactly what you see on the stone. Try this.

    Note. You may find it preferable to work through steps 1, 2, and 3 in sequence, or it might be better to proceed as question 1, answer 1; question 2, answer 2; etc. It's up to you.

  2. The Expanded Text. Expand the text, putting spaces between words, and writing in full the words that are abbreviated. Yes, abbreviated! Don't panic, inscriptions always use abbreviations, and they are so formulaic that it is easy to learn them. The glossary below will help. A tip: the "dots" between words in the inscription indicate word breaks.

  3. The Translation. OK, now write the translation! (I mean really write it down with a pencil on paper.)

Detail: Left Side Detail: Right Side

****BELOW ARE THE "ANSWERS" TO THE ABOVE POINTS****

  1. The Text.

  2. The Expanded Text.

  3. The Translation. STOP!! If you want the translation, fine, but RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO JUMP TO IT TOO QUICKLY. Go through the exercise step by step.

    Here are some notes and questions that may help as you prepare the translation.

    chalcidicum, cryptam, porticum = architectural terms describing the different parts of the Eumachia building. Chalcidicum: an open vestibule; cryptam: a covered corridor with windows going around three sides of the building; porticum: an open courtyard surrounded by columns.

    1. Look at the first and last words of this inscription:you could say that they give a short form of the whole message? Who did what to the building?
    2. Whose name does nomine suo refer to?
    3. In what case is M. Numistri Frontonis fili? To what noun in the beginning of the inscription is this phrase attached?
    4. Whose son is Marcus Numistrius Fronto?
    5. In what case are the nouns chalcidicum, cryptam, and porticum?
    6. What two things did Eumachia do to the chalcidicum, cryptam, and porticum?
    7. Consider the two nouns in the dative case: concordiae (peace, harmony) and pietati which means "sense of duty, devotion, responsibility, goodness." The fact that Eumachia gave this huge public building to her town of Pompeii shows that she has a strong sense of public responsibility. According to the inscription, whose sense of public responsibility is she dedicating this building to?
    8. How would you update this old-fashioned spelling of pequnia?
    9. How did Eumachia pay for this building?
    10. Consider the word eademque. Is it singular or plural? What gender? To what does it refer? Why the -dem suffix?

    Now that you have answered all these questions, you can probably produce a good translation of the inscription! Compare yours to the one available above.

    Return to beginning of exercise.

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    Copyright 1997 by John J. Dobbins, all rights reserved
    Document URL: http://www.iath.virginia.edu/tti/eb-insc/eb-insc-list.html
    Last Modified: Monday, 29-Sep-2008 14:06:06 EDT