QUESTIONS ARISING FROM 70th MEETING – 30/9/16 ( the record of earlier meetings can be downloaded from the main Circulus page)
As usual, we spent some time on Latin names for food consumed, including pānis Persicus (Persian bread’, i.e nan) carium agnīnum (lamb curry) frustula gallineāca arōmatica (tikka masala), pīsa cum caseō (muttor panir), cicera arōmatica (`chickpeas with spices’, chana masala, known also in Hindi as kabuli chana ( काबुली चना)) and melongēna (`eggplant’ in Nepali bhanta, Hindi baingan). Cicero’s family name derives from cicer (ciceris, n), probably because an ancestor had a chick-pea-like growth on his nose! Eggplant is frequently served mashed in an Indian restaurant, with the dish therefore named baingan bharta (? melongēna contūsa, `mashed eggplant.’) Also mentioned was puls (pultis f), the Latin for `porridge’ or `pottage’, which was apparently a Roman staple before they began to bake bread.
When glasses were raised, people were reminded of the Latin for `cheers’ – prōsit (`may it be of advantage’, from the verb prōsum, prōdesse, prōfuī), shortened in German to prost. John was just back from Nepal (Nepālum, -ī n), spending half of his time in Kathmandu (Kasthamandāpum, -ī n), and in conversation with friends had come up with the saknskrit formula shubham astu (`may it be auspicious!’), in which the 3rd. person imperative astu was very close ot the Latin estō. The similarities of the verb `to be’ in the Indo-European languages can be seen strikingly in this table from Allen and Greenaugh’s Latin Grammar:
John also mentioned raksi, a very strong distilled spirit popular in Nepal, and the necessity to be very careful when drinking it unless you wanted the room to start revolving. Don noted the similarity with rakia, the word used in several Balkan languages for a potent fruit brandy. The similarity between the two words is probably coincidence, as Turner’s etymological dictionary of Nepali suggests raksi is borrowed from Tibetan rather than coming from an Indo-European source..
There was a brief discussion of religious matters, including the fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims worshiped the same God, with the two newer religions each accepting the earlier scriptures as the Word of God. The argument between them turned on what was to be reckoned the Final Word and on exactly who had been granted power of attorney to represent God on earth.
Whether in the context of claims about the supernatural or otherwise, somebody quoted the lines of William Hughes Mearns:
Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today, I wish, I wish he'd go away...
We read four sections of Ciceronis Filius (see below), which presented further aspects of Roman dining habits. Some confusion was caused because John, in peparing the material, confused the word cōlum, -ī n (strainer, colendar), which was the one used in the text, with colus, -ī (or –ūs) m (distaff). This led us into an interesting, if irrelevant discussion of the mechanics of spinning. The Greek or Roman distaff was a stick of some sort with its end split so as to hold a mass of flax or wool. The spinner pulled a continuous thread out of this as she wound it round the spindle (see illustration below.Because it was almost always the women of the house that performed this task, the expression `on the distaff side’ came to refer to ancestry in the female line.
The illustration is taken from Anthony Rich’s 1849 classical dictionary -The illustrated companion to the Latin dictionary, and Greek lexicon: forming a glossary of all the words representing visible objects connected with the arts, manufactures, and everyday life of the Greeks and Romans. Despite its age and unwieldy title this remains a valuable reference. The same book also provides illustrations of a wickerwork strainer used with new wine and of a metal cōlum nivārium, into which ice was placed so that the wine could be cooled and strained (cōlō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, distinguished by length of the stem vowel from colō, -ere, coluī, cultum, cultivate, worship) at the same time.
We also focused on the word mantēle, which Cicreonis Filius explains originally meant a cloth for the hands (manus) or table napkin but later came to have the sense `tablecloth’. Don suggested there might be a connection with the English word mantle (cloak) and a check on www.etymonline.com revealed this does indeed derive from mantēlum/mantellum, an alternative form of mantēle.
Pat mentioned a visit to Tiblisi, the capital of Georgia, known in classical times as Colchis and home of the mythical sorceress. John asked whether he had seen the statue of Medea holding the golden fleece, forgetting that this had actually been erected at the port city of Batumi.
CICERONIS FILIUS – pp. 19-23
Dē triclīniīs Rōmānī stantēs prandēbant, discumbentēs cēnābant. Cōnsuētūdō ut convīvae discumbentēs cēnārent, bellōrum Pūnicōrum aetāte invaluit, cum Rōmānī Graecō mōre vīvere coepērunt. Fēminae tamen Cicerōnis temporibus cum virīs discumbentibus sedentēs cēnābant. In trīclīniō trēs lectī strātī erant, eō ordine dispositī ut imāgō ostendit: lectus summus, medius, imus. Summus dīcēbātur quī ā sinistrō latere mediī lectī situs erat; quī ā dextrō, imus. Eōdem nōmine in singulīs lectīs trēs locī distinguēbantur: locus summus, medius, imus. Quī inter convīvās dignitāte excelleret, imum locum
NOTES:  convīva,–ae c, guest, participant in a banquest. bella Pūnica, `Punic wars’, i.e Rome’s three wars against Carthage (264-241, 218-201 and 149-146 B.C.); invaleō, -ēre, invaluī, prevail  Women originally seem to have dined sitting but by the late Republic thay often reclined like the men, a practice which some writers considered symbolic of moral decline (see Matthew Roller, Dining Posture in Ancient Rome, p.96-97, https://www.amazon.com/Dining-Posture-Ancient-Rome-Bodies/dp/0691124574 ) lectus, -ī m, couch, bed; sternō, sternere, strāuī, strātum, spread, strew, lay out.
A = lectus summus B = lectus medius C = lectus imus
in lectō mediō occupābat, locum cōnsulārem ob id dictum. Iuxtā eum, locō summō in lectō imō, dominus plērumque discumbēbat. Hāc vērō aetāte etiam lūnātī lectī in convīviō adhibērī coeptī sunt; sigmata vel stibadia vocābantur.
Cēnātōria supellex Mēnsa iuxtā convīvās rotunda erat; in mēnsā ligneum repositōrium patinās cibīs onerātās sustinēbat. Ibi et salīnum, et acētābulum, et lagoena praestō erant. Facultās erat convīvīs ut quantum quisque cuperet inde ipse sūmeret. Famulī,  vacuīs lagoenīs ablātīs, quās convīvae exsiccāverant, plēnās aliās repōnēbant. Mōs erat Rōmānōrum ut rārō vīnum merum pōtārent, sed potius dīluerent aquā calīdā vīnō immixtā, quam quidem vās aēneum continēbat ob similitūdinem fōrmae mīliārium dictum. Ad hauriendum vīnum concavum quoddam vasculum aptum erat, longō capulō  praeditum: cyathus vocābātur. Cum vērō Rōmānōrum vīnā turbida plērumque ac faeculenta essent, vīnum cōlō vel sacculō liquātum in convīvārum scyphōs ā ministrīs infundēbātur; nix etiam in sacculum inicī solēbat, sī quis forte pōtiōnem refrīgerāre cuperet.
fēmina colum ad lānam dūcendam tenet Cicerōnis temporibus nōndum Rōmānī cōnsuēverant triclīniārēs mēnsās albō linteō obtegere: ignōtum adhūc mantēle erat, quō illī ūtī nōn ante Imperātōrem Domitiānum coepērunt. Convīvae cibōs digitīs arreptōs ad ōs ferēbant; nūllās enim apud antīquōs furculās fuisse satis cōnstat: saepius igitur manūs lavandae erant. Ad hoc fōrmōsiōrēs servī semel atque iterum catillōs circumferentēs aquam conīvīs porrigēbant. Cibōs iam ante famulus quīdam, huius artis perītus, in singula pulmenta minuerat: scissor is, vel carptor, dīcēbātur. Ad sorbitiōnēs vel madefactōs cibōs hauriendōs ligulae adhibēbantur; ligulīs similia cocleāria erant, ad id idōnea, ut ostreārum valvae facile dēhiscere possent. Ligulae oblongae et concavae erant, cēnātōriīs instrumentīs prōrsus similēs, quae nōs `cucchiai’  vocāmus; at contrā cocleāria rotunda erant et ac plāna.
Quaedam parum decēns Rōmānōrum cōnsuētūdō Incrēdibile dictū: in Rōmānōrum cēnīs convīvae, sī quid aspernābantur, vel dentibus mandere atque extenuāre nequībant, pavimentum in medium prōiciēbant: semēsōs piscēs, ossa, adrōsa carnis frustula; nē tamen hae cibōrum reliquiae convīvārum oculōs offenderent, interdum servulī, scōpāriī dictī, pavimentum verrentēs sordibus illīs purgābant.
Dē mappā Linteam mappam vel convīvae domō sēcum portābant, vel dominus suppeditābat. Duplex mappae ūsus erat: nōn enim ad id tantum adhibēbātur, it ōs abstergēret, sed sī quis inops ac dēspectus cliēns, ad dīvitum cēnam esset invītātus, licēbat illī nōn comēsōs cibōs mappā involvere domumque sum adferre. Quī mōs, rārior ante, tum incrēbruit postquam lībera rēs pūblica periit, populusque Rōmānus ūnīus dominātum ferre coāctus est. Tum vērō ūnā cum lībertāte āmissā, etiam singulōrum dignitās est imminūta.
NOTES: locus cōnsulāris, `consular position’, place at the left-hand end of the lectus imus, which was assigned to the guest of honour. plērumque, generally lūnātus, -a, -um. crescent-shaped; sigma, -atis n, stibadium, -ī n, curved couch ligneus, -a, -um, of wood; repositōrium, -ī n, tray, stand; patina, -ae f, shallow dish; onerātus, -a, -um, loaded salīnum, -ī n, salt cellar,; acētābulum, -ī n, vinegar container; lagoena, -ae f, flask, bottle container (for wine etc.); praestō, at hand, ready. quantum quis que cuperet, as much as each wanted; famulus, -ī m, slave, servant, attendant vacuīs lagoenīs ablātis, `with the empty bottles taken away’ (ablative absolute) exsiccō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, dry up, drain (a bottle etc.). merus, -a, -um, pure; pōtō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, drink; dīluō, -ere, dīluī, dīlūtum, dilute vās, vāsis n vessel, container; aēneus, -a, -um, of bronze; mīliārium, -ī n milestone, hauriō, haurīre, hausī, haustum, draw up or out, drain; ad hauriendum vīnum is a gerundive phrase (`for the purpose of wine being drawn out’) quoddam vasculum, `a certain small vessel’; capulus, -ī m, handle praeditus, -a, -um, furnished/provided (with); cyathus, -ī m. ladle; turbidus, -a, -um, clouded, thick faeculentus, -a, -um, containing dregs or sediment; cōlum, -ī n, strainer, colander (to be distinguished from colus, ī or –ūs f, a stick for holding wool etc. from which a thread could be drawn out); sacculum, -ī n small bag; liquō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum; scyphus, -ī m, two-handled drinking vessel, nix, nivis f, snow; iniciō, inicere, iniēcī, iniectum, throw in; soleō, -ēre, -uī, -itum, be accustomed ad lānam dūcendam, `for spinning wool (literally `for wool being led (out)) cōnsuēscō, -ere, cōnsuēvī, cōnsuētum, become accustomed, triclīniāris, -e, for the dining room; linteum, -ī n, cloth. obtegō, -ere, obtēxī, obtēctum, cover; mantēle, -is n, napkin, table-cloth arripiō, arripere, arripuī, arreptum, take hold of, pick up furcula, -ae f (little) fork. The Romans did have large forks for use as agricultural implements etc.; lavandus, -a, -um (gerundive from lavō), `needing to be washed’ catillus, -ī m, small bowl; porrigō, porrigere, porrēxī, porrēctum, put forward, offer pulmentum, -ī n portion, bit; minuō, minuere, minuī, minūtum, make smaller, scissor, -ōris m, divider; carptor, -ōris m, plucker  sorbitiō, sorbitiōnis f, drink, potion; madefaciō, -facere, -fēcī, -factum, make wet; ligula, -ae f spoon, ladle; ad sorbitiōnēs..madefactōs cibos hauriendōs, for drawing up/serving potions or moistened food  The original text has the ungrammatical form similēs. coc(h)lear, coc(h)leāris, a flat spoon; ostrea, -ae f oyster; valva. –ae f, normally one of a pair of folding doors but here referring to an oyster’s hinged shell; dēhiscō, dēhiscere, dēhiuī, split open prōrsus, absolutely; cucchiaio is the Italian for `spoon’ parum, too little; cōnsuētūdō, cōnsuētūdinis f custom aspernor, -ārī, -ātus sum, despise, reject, mandō, mandere, mandī, mānsum, chew; extenuō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, make thin, diminish; nequeō, nequīre, nequīuī/nequiī be unable to (a rare verb conjugated like eō (go) so with imperfect nequībam etc.); semēsus, -a, -um, half-eaten  os, ossis, n bone; adrōdō (arrōdō), adrōdere, adrōsum, nibble at; frustulum, -ī n, scrap, morsel servulus, -ī m, young slave; scōpārius, -ī m, sweeper; verrō, verrere, versī, versum, sweep; sordēs, sordis f, filth, dirt. linteus, -a, -um, linen; mappa, -ae f cloth, napkin; suppeditō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, supply. ōs, ōris n, mouth; abstergeō, -tergēre, -tersī, -tersum, wipe off, clean; inops, inopis, destitute dēspectus, -a, -um, despised; dīves, divitis, rich; licet, licēre, licui, licitum, is permitted.; comedō, comedere/comēsse, comēdī, comēsum, eat incrēbrēscō, incrēbrēscere, incrēbruīverb become stronger or more intense; spread āmittō, -mittere, -mīsī, -missum, lose; imminuō, imminuere, imminuī, imminūtumverb diminish; impair