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Classical Home School Lesson: Latin Nouns

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

Flecto – I bend, modify

Picture of Roman Aqueducts

This week’s word of the week is Flecto. Flecto is Indicative, present, 1st person and singular. It means “I bend, modify”. This is where we get the English word Inflect.

Latin Case System

The Latin Language is considered an inflected language. This mean the words change form to reflect how they are used in a sentence. We do this in English too! “I” becomes “me”, and “he” becomes “him” depending on how we are using the word.

You may notice at the start of each newsletter I talk about the case and declension or tense of the word – but what does that really mean? In a past newsletter I wrote about the five characteristics of Latin Verbs . But what about Latin nouns? There are about five (eh – six) different declensions of Latin words.

Latin Declensions

Latin Nouns change their endings to indicate how the word should be used. The names of the different endings are as follows:

Nominative (coming from the Latin word for name) is the naming case.

Genitive (resulting in the English word generic) comes from the Latin word “giving birth” – this would be like the English word “of” – this is a possessive noun.

Dative, coming from the Latin word for giving (think about the English words “to” or “for”)

Accusative, where we get the English word accusing, meaning “produced by a cause, effected’“ This would be the direct object of a sentence

Ablative – coming from the Latin word meaning “ that from which something is taken away” This would be our English words “ by, with, or from”

And finally, Vocative meaning “for calling” used to address people.

Example:

When think about the word Canis for example – Canis is 3rd declension nominative, singular. It is the name of the object (dog).

Canis is also the genitive – it would be “____ of dog”

Cani is dative – “____ to dog”

Canem is Accusative, “the dog ______” or as in the above picture “beware of the dog”

Ablative is Cane – “by/with/from the dog”

These endings are just for if there is one dog. Memoria Press has a great reference guide for the other declensions hereThis webpage is also a great resource in understanding Latin declensions.

Source: Quid Pro Quo what Latin really gave the English Language

English Derivatives

  • Deflect- Verb. Meaning: To bend or turn aside
  • Flexible – Adjective. Meaning: Capable of being bent without breaking
  • Inflection – Noun. Meaning: Modulation of the voice, change in pitch, the paradigm of a word (flection)
  • Reflect- Verb. Meaning: To cast back light, heat, sound, from a surface. To give back and image
  • Reflex – Adjective. Meaning: Occurring in reaction’; responsive
  • Flexor  Noun. Meaning: a muscle that serves to flex or bend a part of the body
  • Genuflect – Verb.Meaning: To express a servile attitude.

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Classical Home School Lesson: Roman Values

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

Munia – Duties, Functions

Women collect fresh water from well in Rome. Picture displaying Roman Community, Roman Society in an article about Roman Values and life.

This week’s word of the week is Munia. Munia is neuter, O- declension Plural, nominative. It means Duties, Function specifically in the public sense. This is where we get the English word Municipal. It comes from the Latin prefix root mon – meaning common.

Roman Community Values

Last week’s word Historia gave us insight into how Romans recorded history. Indeed, they paid close attention to their past and applied that knowledge to their present. They believed that the values of the ancestors were theirs to pass down. This resulted in social norms for Roman culture and created the core concept of Roman Traditionalism. This idea is called Pietas or devotion (we get the word piety). Romans used the word Pietas to describe acceptance of duty or obligation placed on them by fate, the gods, family, and community. They had about seven values that made up the mos maiorum (ancestral custom).

  • One value was Virtus (coming from Vir – meaning Man) means Manliness is where we get the word virtue. A Roman poet named Lucilius wrote “ it is virtus to know what right and useful and honorable…and moreover to consider the interest of one’s country first; Then those of parents; and finally to put our own interests in the third and last place. ”
  • Next was Fides – which ranged from meaning trustworthiness, to good faith, and reliability, and credibility.
  • Religio stood for a bond between the gods and mortals. Religious practice was held in esteem.
  • Disciplina meaning self-control was a military characteristic and Gravitas was dignified self-control or seriousness is denotes moral rigor and a sense of responsibility
  • Speaking of Gravitas, there was also Dignitas which was the end result of displaying these values and serving the state. It was a reputation of worth and honor.

Roman Municipium

Munia means duties and functions and Communis is shared, joint, obliging, belonging to everyone.

Likewise, Municipium, where we get the word Municipal, meant a self-governing community inside of Italy that had been granted Roman citizen rights (sound familiar?). This was essentially a social contract among “municipes” or “duty-holders”. The duties (to Rome) were carried out by the citizens of that town in exchange for their Roman citizenship and protection. At the beginning of the Republic, there was a big difference between a Municipium and a colonia, but as time went on the difference between the two dwindled. This led to the word municipality to mean the lowest level of local government.

Immunity

Immunis meant to be exempted from duties (taxes). Unsurprisingly this was a highly sought after privilege.

Speaking of privilege, a Roman privilegium was not a good thing. It was a law regarding and against a single individual. For example, if a man were to invade the space of another person or cause ruckus of some sort, they would pass a privilegium against him that would not allow him to do it again (or risk exile or punishment)

English Derivatives

  • Community – Noun. Meaning: a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
  • Communion – Noun. Meaning: the act of receiving the Eucharistic elements.
  • Communicate – Verb. Meaning: to impart knowledge of; make known (make common)
  • Immunity- Noun. Meaning: exemption from obligation, service, duty, or liability to taxation, jurisdiction, etc.; the condition that permits either natural or acquired resistance to disease.
  • Municipal – Adjective. Meaning: of or relating to a town or city or its local government:
  • Communism/Communist – Noun. Meaning: a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

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Classical Home School Lesson: Roman Historiography and Historians

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

Historia – Story, Investigation, Inquiry

Julius Caesar and Gaul Tribal Leaders (Public Domain)

This week’s word of the week is Historia. Historia is feminine, 1st declension singular, nominative. This is where we get the English word History. This week’s post is going to be geared toward older kids (5th grade and up.)

Our Community is talking about implementing Critical Race Theory in our public school system. This is alarming for many different reasons (It’s Marxist) – but the arguments I am hearing that is for Critical Race Theory is that we need to be teaching our kids better history. Better as in, a different revisionist version. “History is written from the perspective of the victors”, “They don’t teach black history in schools”, “Stop burying the truth about racism”, are all comments in my Facebook feed right now. And I don’t disagree with them. We do need to teach better History in school. If we taught better history, maybe we wouldn’t be arguing about teaching kids Marxism disguised as racial equality.

I’m not here to talk about Critical Race Theory. I am here to talk about History.

History is a record of our past. Historians use research and investigation to tell us what happened and sometimes why it happened. Ask your kids to think about a time they were playing with a friend. What did they do that day? What was their favorite part? what did they eat? If I were to ask them and their friend the same questions, it is likely I would get different answers. This doesn’t mean their friend is lying or wrong, it just means different parts of the day stood out to them, than what stood out to your kid. Historians take multiple accounts and find the common themes and answers and present them as a record of what they believe happened (or what most likely happened), and why they believe it happened.

History can be influenced by the writers’ beliefs and desires. That was definitely evident in the writings of Roman historians! We can learn a lot about Rome through their writings, and we can also learn a lot about the art of Historiography (history writing).

Roman Historians

Much of what we know about the Romans today comes from the writings of Roman historians. The different writers of history all had different styles and perspectives that together give us a picture of life in ancient Rome.

The writing of history became a popular upper class hobby. It was often a way esteemed romans spent their retirement.

There are two different traditions that were typically followed by Roman Historians: The annalistic tradition and monographic tradition.

The Annalistic tradition

These writers wrote histories year-by-year. They would start with the founding of Rome, and end with the time they were living in.

These writers wrote about the founding of Rome, wars of Rome, and political ails of Rome.

The Monographic Tradition

This tradition is more like modern history books. They cover a single topic. From this tradition, biographies became popular. These authors could be known to write history with a certain bias.

In times of political unrest or social turmoil, historians would re-write history to suit their personal perspective. Many historians would produce many works that showed two different sides. Later, the great Roman Historian, Livy would use these sources to balance out the account.

Characteristics

Despite the differing perspectives, Roman history has clear characteristics that set it apart. Allegiance to the Roman state, variety of moral ideals, the factional nature, the two distinct categories, and even the rewriting of history are all markers of the Roman tradition of history writing.

Roman historians wrote history not for the sake of record, but to convince their audiences. Propaganda was a key function of Roman history. They did not set out to be objective observers, but had specific moral and political agendas. Some sought to convey patriotism and national pride and confirm the prestige of Rome.

You can read more about  Roman Historiography here.

Major Roman Historians

  • Julius Caesar – wrote De Bello Gallico – an account of the Gallic Wars. In this work, he portrayed the wars as just and pious and made himself a military hero.
  • Livy – Wrote Ab Urbe Condita – Sought to memorialize the history of Rome and challenge his generation to rise to the same level – used history as a moral essay.
  • Sallust – Wrote Bellum Catilinae and Bellum Jugurthinum. Known to exaggerate, a major theme in his writings was Rome’s moral decline
  • Tacitus – Wrote many different works, had a style that was short and to the point. He was very critical of Rome emperors.
  • Suetonius – Wrote biographies for Julio-Claudian and Flavian emperors. He wrote to evaluate the emperors and focuses on their fulfillment (or lack there of) of their duties.

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Classical Home School Lesson: Roman Intellect and Latin Verbs

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

LEGO – I choose, gather, collect, read

This week’s word of the week is Lego (yup, like the blocks). This word has a few different meanings depending on how it is used. Lego singular, first person, indicative and present. We get English words lectern, intellectual and legible from Lego and it’s various forms.

Roman Intellectuals

There were many great leading intellectuals in Rome. Cicero, Caesar, Cato, Pompey, Varo and more! They all are famous for their writings and teachings. Many of them studied the Greeks and sought to emulate the philosophy of Aristotle and Socrates.

Many Roman Nobles wanted to study history, oratory, and law. But education was mostly dominated by training in language skills, grammar and rhetoric. These skills are what produced the great writings of Cicero.

These writings set a foundation for most of western society. The way we think, how we are organize our thoughts, communities, laws, etc. stems from the way of the Romans (by way of the Greeks).

How many of these quotes have you heard?

“It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.” (Caesar)

“Men freely believe that which they desire.” (Caesar)

“I came, I saw, I conquered.” (Caesar)

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (Seneca)

“An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes.” (Cato)

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” (Cicero)

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” (Marcus Aurelius)

Other Forms of Lego

Lego can also mean to appoint or bequeath. When it is conjugated it is lego, legare. This is different from our word above which would be lego, legere. Let’s read more below on why these two words look the same but are different.

Latin Verbs

Latin verbs contain 5 different characteristics: person, number, tense, mood, and voice. Some also denote gender.

  • The person refers to the relationship between the speaker and subject of the verb
  • The number is whether it is singular or plural
  • The tense is the time when an action takes place (present, future, past) and the aspect. Aspect reflects how the speaker sees the action. There is both the continuous aspect and the completed aspect ( I was running, I have run or I ran).
  • Mood reflects how the speaker treats the action whether it is a command, wish or idea. These are called indicative (you will go), imperative (go!), and subjunctive (you might go) moods.
  • Finally Voice. This is the relationship between the verb and it’s subject. It tells whether the subject is receiving or performing the action of the verb. There are 3 voices, active, middle, and passive.
  • Lastly, Verbs are divided into four different categories called conjugations that help us identify them. In the present tense the verbs all have the same ending depending on which category they are in:
    • 1st category: –āre
    • 2nd category: –ēre
    • 3rd category: –ere
    • 4th category: –īre

Adapted from McGraw Hill Practice 

Makes Perfect Latin Verb Tenses

English words from Lego

  • Legacy (from Lego, Legāre) – Noun. Meaning: A gift of property, a bequest. Anything handed down from the past
  • Intelligible– Adjective. Meaning: Capable of being understood, clear
  • Intelligentsia– Noun. Meaning: Intellectuals considered as a group (political/social elite)
  • Lectern – Noun. Meaning: A stand with a slanted top used to hold a book, a reading desk in a church from which the Bible is read from during service
  • Legible – Adjective. Meaning: Capable of being read or deciphered with ease or capable of being discerned or distinguished
  • Legibility – Noun. Meaning: State or quality of being legible

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Classical Home School Lesson: How Learning Latin Helps Kids Excel

UTILITAS – Usefulness

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

Roman Aqueducts

This week’s word of the week is Utilitas (You-til-eh-tas; yes like Utility), meaning usefulness. Utilitas is third declension and nominative case. It is singular and feminine. We get English words such as Utility from Utilitas.

Roman Utilities

Utility was a word we used in last week’s newsletter. It was used to described a type of friendship, Friendship for Utility. Do you remember? It meant it was a friendship kept for it’s usefulnessUtilitas means usefulness. The English word utility means “of practical use”. When we think of Utility, or Utilities today, we may think of our utility bills! Our water, sewer, and power systems are all called “public utilities”. We call them this because they are public facilities that we all use.

Did you know the Romans had public utilities too? Yup! Thousands of years ago, the Romans figured out how to deliver fresh water and remove wastewater from their cities. You can read more here on how they built them! There are still examples of the aqueducts standing today.

Economic Utility and Utilitarianism

When we say something has utility, it can also be a way to say something has value. Economists use the word utility to measure the value or expected value a good or service in the world of commerce. There is also a political and ethical theory called Utilitarianism. This theory believes that decisions should be made based off of the ability to achieve the highest level of happiness of the most amount of people.

The Utility of Latin

Studying and knowing the Latin language has a lot of utility!

There are many benefits to knowing Latin vocabulary. It is thought that there are over 10,000 English words with Latin roots. Some of our words come directly from Latin. Chances are you already know a great deal of Latin words!

Here are Four Benefits of Knowing Latin

  • Increased Vocabulary
  • Increased Reading Comprehension
  • Enhanced Critical Thinking Skills
  • Easier transition to learning Romance Languages

But beyond the measurable benefits of knowing Latin, there is the benefit of being exposed to ancient life, culture, and philosophy. Reflecting on this past has opened doors to many futures. My own included.

My journey with Latin began with a love for mythology and history, and ended with me working in the United States Senate. Reading the thoughts on what is a republic, a democracy, and the philosophy of men like Cicero and Plato inspired an entire career in public service. And now today, I work for a utility company, advocating for new, innovative energy policy solutions just like the aqueducts of Rome.

I can’t wait to see where your Latin Journey will lead you.

English words from Utilitas

  • Utility – Noun. Meaning: the quality of being of practical use
    • (Economic use) Noun. Meaning: measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice
    • (public use) Noun. Meaning the service (electric power or water or transportation) provided by a public utility
    • (computer science) Noun. Meaning: a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer
  • Utilize – Verb. Meaning: put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose
  • Utilization– Noun. Meaning: the act of using
  • Utilitarian – Adjective. Meaning: having a useful function
  • Utilitarianism – Noun. Meaning: doctrine that the useful is the good; especially as elaborated by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill; the aim was said to be the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

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Classical Home School Lesson: What Can the Romans Teach us about Friendship

AMICUS – Friend

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

This week’s word of the week is Amicus (Ah-mi-koos), meaning Friend. Amicus is first declension and nominative case. It is singular and masculine. We get English words such as Amicable (friendly) from Amicus, but you may recognize it is similar to Spanish’s word for friend “Amigo” or French’s “Ami”.

Romans and Friendship

Many Roman Intellectuals were fascinated with Greek Philosophy. They leaned heavily on the ideals of Greek philosophers like Socrates and Epicurus to build their own cultures and beliefs. Values of friendship were no exception. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I have friends?” or “Why do humans have friends?” The Greek Philosopher Socrates asked this questioned and came to the conclusion there are three different reasons or rather three types of friendships (philia – in greek). The three categories of friendship are:

1. Friendship for utility. This means we have friends for a practical reason, like, they let us borrow things we need or support us in some way.

2. Friendship for pleasure. This means we have friends because they entertain us and we feel better after seeing them.

3. Friendship for virtue. This means we have friends because we genuinely love that person and care about them even if they don’t let us borrow things or make us laugh.

The last one, friendship for virtue was considered the best reason to have friends because it is based off of absolute love and not a self-interest like the first two. This was just Socrates’ idea though. Another Greek philosopher, Epicurus, argued that “All philia is a virtue in itself but draws its origin from assistance”. Epicurus recognized that there is an innate human need for fellowship and friendship and that fulfilling that need for others was virtuous.

Fast forward to the time of Roman intellectuals. They fell on either side of these two views of friendship. Either friendship arose from expected assistance from others, or it arose from the perception of virtue. Cicero, a Roman Philosopher, in his essay “Laelius de amicitial”, defined friendship as an “agreement (consensio) with goodwill (benevolentia) and affection (caritas) on all things divine and human.” He argued that the root of goodwill was love (amor) – which is where the word Amicus or Amicitia (friendship) comes from.

I bet you haven’t ever thought that hard about what it means to be a friend, or why we have friends, or even how we have friends. But that’s ok – Socrates, Epicurus and Cicero did that for us!

Source: The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World (2012)

English words from Amicus:
Amicable – Adjective. Meaning: characterized by friendly goodwill, peaceable.
Amicability – Noun.
Amity – Noun. Meaning: Friendship, especially friendship between nations.
Amiable – Adjective. Meaning: Friendly, sociable, congenial. Generally agreeable.
Amiability– Noun
Amiableness – Noun
Amiably – Adverb
Amicus Curiae – A person or entity that is not party to a particular litigation but that is permitted by the court to advise it in respect to some matter of law that directly affects the case in question. Direct translation, “Friend of the Court”

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