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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


I. The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER XIII - Agriculture, Trade, and Commerce


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Page 26

Finally, we deduce a similar inference from the numerous nautical terms borrowed from the Greek (although it is remarkable that the chief technical expressions in navigation--the terms for the sail, mast, and yard--are pure Latin forms);(20) and from the recurrence in Latin of the Greek designations for a letter (ἐπιστολή, -epistula-), a token (-tessera-, from τέσσαρα(21)), a balance (στατήρ, -statera-), and earnest-money (ἀρραβών, -arrabo-, -arra-); and conversely from the adoption of Italian law-terms in Sicilian Greek,(22) as well as from the exchange of the proportions and names of coins, weights, and measures, which we shall notice in the sequel.

20. -Velum- is certainly of Latin origin; so is -malus-, especially as that term denotes not merely the mast, but the tree in general: -antenna- likewise may come from ἀνα (-anhelare-, -antestari-), and -tendere- = -supertensa-. Of Greek origin, on the other hand, are -gubenare-, to steer (κυβερνᾶν); -ancora-, anchor (ἄγκυρα); -prora-, ship's bow (πρῶρα); -aplustre-, ship's stern (ἄφλαστον); -anquina-, the rope fastening the yards (ἀγκοίνα); -nausea-, sea-sickness (ναυσία). The four chief winds of the ancients- -aquilo-, the "eagle-wind," the north-easterly Tramontana; -voltumus- (of uncertain derivation, perhaps the "vulture-wind"), the south-easterly; -auster- the "scorching" southwest wind, the Sirocco; -favonius-, the "favourable" north-west wind blowing from the Tyrrhene Sea--have indigenous names bearing no reference to navigation; but all the other Latin names for winds are Greek (such as -eurus-, -notus-), or translations from the Greek (e.g. -solanus- = ἀπηλιώτης, -Africus- = --lips--).

21. This meant in the first instance the tokens used in the service of the camp, the ξυλήφια κατὰ φυλακὴν βραχέα τελέως ἔχοντα χαρακτῆρα (Polyb. vi. 35, 7); the four -vigiliae- of the night-service gave name to the tokens generally. The fourfold division of the night for the service of watching is Greek as well as Roman; the military science of the Greeks may well have exercised an influence--possibly through Pyrrhus (Liv. xxxv. 14)--in the organization of the measures for security in the Roman camp. The employment of the non-Doric form speaks for the comparatively late date at which theword was taken over.

22. Cf. I. XI. Character of the Roman Law

The character of barbarism which all these borrowed terms obviously present, and especially the characteristic formation of the nominative from the accusative (-placenta- = πλακοῦντα; -ampora- = ἀμφορέα; -statera-= στατήρα), constitute the clearest evidence of their great antiquity. The worship of the god of traffic (-Mercurius-) also appears to have been from the first influenced by Greek conceptions; and his annual festival seems even to have been fixed on the ides of May, because the Greek poets celebrated him as the son of the beautiful Maia.

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