LibraryThing in Latin : month's names & dates

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LibraryThing in Latin : month's names & dates

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Fev 11, 2007, 12:46pm

If this isn't the right group to ask questions as these, please point me at a more suitable group.

Reviewing the Latin translation of LibraryThing, it stuck me that the month's names translations in Latin are in nominative. There is nothing wrong with these translations, unless we ask ourselves what they will be used for, and if they will be of any use for that matter--in nominative case only, that is. Wouldn't it be more useful to have another case ?

Month's names are used mostly for dates.

Where LT is sticking with American data notation now--e.g. "Februari 11"--AFAIK, common date notation in Latin is : "die 11 Februarii 2007".

Wouldn't we rather need the genitive case ?

Fev 12, 2007, 7:47am

Genitive sounds right to me, as long as the month isn't being referred to on its own, where it depends on context ("Februarius 2007" vs. "die 11 Februarii 2007"). And the implicit "die" is normal in ancient use ("iii Id. Feb." seems the style more common in epigraphy than the fuller forms like "a.d. iii Id. Feb.").

Fev 12, 2007, 2:11pm

An excellent observation. This has always been one of the major difficulties with translating elements that may be plugged into different contexts. I don't know whether we'll know until we see how these are used on the site, but your concern is valid and we should all be aware of similar issues when translating.


Jun 15, 2009, 4:46pm

The inscriptions I've seen use adjectival forms of the months, eg a day in the latter part of January is given as "so many days before the Februarian Kalends."

Jun 15, 2009, 7:07pm

More than you want to know:
I checked my Hale and Buck Latin Grammar, and they say in paragraph 666 (!) and 667, "The grammatical form for the Kalends, Nones, and Ides as dates is the Ablative of the Time at Which. Thus Kalendis Februariis, (on) February 1st.
For the other days two forms are in common use. Thus:
Jan. 29 = quarto (die ante) Kal. Feb. = IV Kal. Feb., or
Jan. 29 = ante diem quartum Kal. Feb. = a. d. IV Kal. Feb.
a. The second way is perhaps descended from an original ante (die quarto) Kalendas Februarias, before (namely on the fourth day) the Kalends of February. The Ablative would easily pass over to the Accusative, in consequence of its position immediately after ante."
You're welcome! What's really entertaining is the explanation of how they dealt with leap year. I'll save that for another day, boys and girls.

Jun 26, 2009, 1:57pm

Way to kill a thread, Liz!

Jun 26, 2009, 4:36pm

How did they deal with the leap year?


Editado: Jun 28, 2009, 10:55pm

My man, Robert! Let me grab the book!!

669. In leap year an extra day was inserted after Feb. 24 (a. d. VI Kal. Mart.), which was called the sixth day over again, i.e. a. d. bissextum Kal. Mart. Hence leap year was called annus bissextilis. After this day the reckoning went on as usual.
a. Before the reform, the year (355 days) was short of the true year. To make up for the difference, an extra month (mensis intercalaris) of varying length (27 or 28 days) was inserted by the Pontifices after the 23rd of February, the rest of February being then omitted.

What? I knew that intercalary days existed, but I had no idea that they came in February, and I find this whole thing quite confusing.

Edited to close a parenthesis

Jun 30, 2009, 11:45am

Should the Latin LT be translating years into "ab urbe condita", or are we assuming a post-classical calendar?

Message edited by its author, a.d. ii Kal. Iul., A.D. MMIX

Jul 1, 2009, 10:58pm

How about "ab situ condito"?

Jul 2, 2009, 3:11pm

That would be neat! But I think it would have to be tweaked to start on 1 January, regardless of the actual launch date. (Calendars whose years don't match up are a real pain: I've had to work with books published in Year 8 of the French Revolutionary Calendar, which began on the Autumn Equinox and so can't be accurately translated into an AD year of publication.)

Jul 4, 2009, 11:15am

I would gratefully bow to your experience. This is not within my expertise nor comfort zones!

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