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CTC Glossary of the Classics
Category: Language and Literature > Classical History
Date & country: 11/09/2007, USA
Words: 1485


Comedy
a literary work which is intended to amuse, and which normally has a happy ending. The term is usually applied to drama, but it can also be used for other literary kinds. Like many literary terms (tragedy and epic being prominent examples), the term has its origin in ancient Greece, but Aristotle's discussion on comedy in his Poetics is believed to be missing, and one consequence of this is that the term is less rigidly defined than tragedy.

Comes
(Latin) companion, friend.

Comitia Centuriata
(Latin) one of the two assemblies in Rome; this group of Roman citizens was divided based on age and wealth; from the Roman male population, divisions were made into 373 centuries, each of which received one vote in the assembly; this group elected praetors, censors, and consuls.

Comitia Tributa
(Latin) one of the two assemblies in Rome; made up of thirty-five tribes from the city, suburbs and countryside; each tribe had one vote in the assembly; this group elects the quaestores and the curule aedile.

Comitium
(Latin) an assembly place; the comitium was the meeting place of the Roman people and was located in front of the curia in the Roman forum; comprising an area of 90 meters by 90 meters, the comitium hosted the ficus ruminalis and the rostra (a speakers stand).

Commercium
(Latin) commerce or business, trade.

Commilitium
(Latin) going to war with someone; a war coalition.

Comoedia
(Latin) a comic play or scene in a comedy.

Complete.Extendo
(Latin) to expand.

Compotatio
(Latin) a party that included drinking alcoholic beverages.

Concaedes
(Latin) a wall of trees.

Concentric Circles
circles that have a common center, used as vase decoration.

Condiscipulus
(Latin) a school friend, a person one goes to school with.

Confector
(Latin) tanner or dyer, a confector was the person who prepared animal skins for use.

Confer
(Latin) literally means compare; abbreviated cf.; when this abbreviation appears in a text, the author is pointing the reader toward a text that can be compared with the argument put forth by the author.

Conflict Of Orders
a struggle between the patricians and the plebeians of Rome for power that ended in 287 BCE; after the conflict of orders, power is not only hereditary but instead based on political office and wealth, especially how much property one has.

Congregatio
(Latin) assembly, union.

Coniugium
(Latin) literally, a joining together; comes to mean marriage or any close relationship.

Connubium
(Latin) marriage; the Latin word coniunx (spouse) is derived from connubium.

Consanesco
(Latin) to get better after being sick.

Consensus Omnium
(Latin) the agreement of all/everyone.

Consitor
(Latin) someone who plants seeds or plants.

Constantine
born in 272, Constantine assumed his father's position as one of four Roman emperors in Diocletian's continuing tetrarchy in 306; after a series of battles with rivals, he became sole emperor of the Empire in 323; perhaps his most famous battle was against his rival Maxentius at the Milvian bridge near Rome in 312; there, legend has it he saw the sign of the cross in the sky and had it painted on his soldiers' shields; after he won the battle, he converted to Christianity; it was under him that Christianity became the principle religion of the Empire; Constantine died in 337.

Consul
(Latin) chief Roman magistrate who presided over the senate and assemblies and Rome's foreign affairs; consuls served as Rome's generals on military campaigns; following a consulship, the outgoing consul served as a proconsul.

Consulto
(Latin) to ask advice of, to consult.

Contaminatio
(Latin) taking a scene from one Greek play and using it in a rewriting of another; Terence, and maybe Plautus, used this technique in creating some of their works.

Contendo
(Latin) to compete, to assert, to contend.

Contristo
(Latin) to make sad, related to the word tristis, which means sad

Conturbenium
(Latin) the smallest Roman military grouping, consisting of 8 soldiers.

Convivium
(Latin) getting together with friends for a meal; it is similar to a symposium; in Latin, it literally means sharing life together.

Coquus
(Latin) cook; the coquus might prepare popular dishes for the gustatio, or appetizer, course such as eggs, fish and vegetables or he prepared puls, a porridge made from wheat that would be a main meal, among other dishes.

Corbitas
(Latin) Roman ship used to transport goods such as olive oil, grain, and wine by sea.

Cornelius Fuscus
a Roman politican and soldier; Cornelius Fuscus supported Galba`s bid for the emperorship and was, in turn, awarded by Galba a procuratorship of Illyricum; while he was the praetorian prefect, he was sent to Dacia but was defeated there and killed in 86 BCE.

Cornicines
(Latin) a horn player in the Roman military who was a senior centurion; in the Roman army, trumpets and horns were used to sound the alarm and signal attacks, retreats, formation changes, and watch changes.

Cornucopia
(Latin) presumably the horn of Amalthaea, that contains an endless supply of food and drink.

Corrigo
(Latin) to make correct.

Corvus
the Crow, a constellation; sent by Apollo to collect water from a nearby stream, the crow dallied and ate figs instead of collecting water in the cup Apollo had given him; the crow returned to Apollo not with the water but carrying the Hydra and claimed that the Hydra was his reason for not bringing back the water; Apollo, knowing the crow was lying, threw him, the Hydra, and the cup into the sky and condemned the crow to eternal thirst; the crow's thirst is why he cannot sing but only caws.

Coryphaeus (Koryphaeus)
leader of the chorus.

Cotidie
(Latin) daily.

Covinnus (Koryphaeus)
a Roman chariot, used especially in war.

Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus, wealthy Roman general and politician; in 71 BCE Crassus put down the slave revolt led by Spartacus; in 70 BCE, he was the consul along with Pompey; in 60 BCE Crassus became a member of the First Triumvirate with Caesar and Pompey; following his final consulship, Crassus goes to Syria as its proconsul in 55 BCE and is killed at the Battle of Carrhae 53 BCE.

Creon
king of Corinth and prospective father-in-law of Jason; (2) brother-in-law of Oedipus and king of Thebes before and after Oedipus.

Crepundia
(Latin) a child's toy, similar to a rattle.

Crepusculum
(Latin) dusk; this word is linked to the Latin word creper, meaning dark.

Cresco
(Latin) To increase.

Creusa
wife of Aeneas killed during the destruction of Troy.

Crimen
(Latin) a crime, an accusation, cause of a crime.

Croesus
king of Lydia from 560-546 BCE; led an army against the Persians after receiving advice from the Delphic oracle and was defeated.

Cronus
a Titan, son of Gaia and Uranus; father of Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus by his sister Rhea, also father of Chiron the centaur by Philyra; some myths identify Cronus as the father of Aphrodite; Cronus is overthrown as the king of the gods by Zeus with help from his brothers, the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Hecatoncheires; in Rome, Cronus is identified with Saturn.

Crustum
(Latin) bread or cake.

Cuirass
armor comprised of both a breastplate and a back plate or just a breastplate.

Cult Statue
a statue representing a god's or goddess's presents at a temple.

Cultor
(Latin) a planter, a farmer.

Cum Laude
(Latin) With praise; a designation given to academic records with distinction.

Cuneus
(Latin) something with a triangular shape; this word can refer to such entities as wedges or triangular formations used in the military; this word also refers to the different sections of a theater`s seats.

Cuniculus
(Latin) Roman underground canals or system of drains; derives from the word cuniculus or rabbit because of their extensive underground burrows.

Cupiditas
(Latin) Desire.

Cur
(Latin) why interrogative pronoun.

Cura
(Latin) thoughtfulness.

Curia
(Latin) the Roman senate building located in the forum in which approximately 200 senators could meet; originally, a curia was one of the three parts in which Romulus divided the Roman people and was also the meeting place of a curia; the first curia, the Curia Hostilia, was built by Tullus Hostilius in 80 BCE only to burn down and be rebuilt by Sulla; in 44 BCE, the Curia Julia was constructed by Julius Caesar though not completed before his death; the Curia Julia burnt down in 64 and 283 and was rebuilt following each fire; the final iteration of the Curia Julia was built in 300; according to Vitruvius, the curia's dimensions called for the height to be equal to half the sum of its length and width, and its width to be two-thirds its length.

Curro
(Latin) to run.

Curso
(Latin) to run back and forth.

Cursus Honorum
(Latin) the steps of advancement through Roman magistracies.

Curule Aedile
(Latin) Roman magistrates elected from the patricians who supervised temples and cults; patrician counterpart of the aediles of the plebs; eventually their jurisdiction grew to include overseeing the streets, the water supply, the market and the corn-supply; lost some of their power under Caesar and the principate, but retained control over the markets.

Custos
(Latin) custodian/guard.

Dactylic Hexameter
the meter of epic poetry.

Dadoukhos
in Ancient Greece, a torch-bearer in the Eleusinian Mysteries; these torch-bearers were chosen from among the kerykes.

Damnatio Memoriae
(Latin) damnation of memory.

Danai
see Argives.

Dancing.Cantor
(Latin) a singer, one who leads a song.

Daphne
a nymph and the daughter of the shape shifting river god Peneus; according to the Greek myth of Daphne, Apollo teased young Eros about his abilities as an archer, claiming that no one so small could make a difference with his arrows; Eros grew angry at this insult and shot two arrows from his bow, one at Apollo and one that happened to hit Daphne; the arrow that struck Apollo was tipped with gold, which caused him to wildly lust after Daphne; the arrow that struck Daphne was blunt and lead tipped, which caused her to have no desire to love anyone; Apollo chased Daphne wanting her to love him, but she ran from him; she knew she would grow tired and Apollo would catch her so she called for her father to help and he transformed his daughter into a laurel tree; Apollo still loved Daphne and claimed the tree as his own wearing its leaves in her memory; the laurel tree is a symbol of Apollo.

Darius
Darius III (Darius Codomannus) becomes king of Persia in 335 BCE having been raised to the throne by the eunuch Bagoas; he was a member of the Achaemenid dynasty; Darius is defeated by Alexander the Great at the battle of Issus in 333 BCE and at the battle of Gaugamela in 331 BCE despite the fact that the Persian forces greatly outnumbered Alexander's army; in 330 BCE, after fleeing from Alexander to Ecbatana and then eastward to Bactria, Darius is murdered by the satrap of Bactria, Bessus; Darius' death marks the end of the Persian empire.

Dark Age
a period of ancient Greek history from approximately 1200 to 850 BCE.

Declamatio
(Latin) public.

Dedecus
(Latin) shame, dishonor, crime.

Defendo
(Latin) to protect.

Deidameia
the daughter of Lycomedes, king of the Dolopians; together with her sisters they are known at the daughters of Lycomedes; in the Trojan saga, the seer Calchas foresaw that the Greeks would never defeat the Trojans without the aid of Achilles; Achilles' mother, Thetis, sought to hide Achilles because she knew he would die if he fought at Troy; Thetis disguised Achilles as a girl named Pyrrha and hid him amongst the daughters of Lycomedes; while amongst the daughters, Achilles and Deidameia had a son, Pyrrhus (presumably named after Pyrrha, the name of the disguised Achilles).

Deiphobus
son of Priam and Hecuba, brother of Hektor; after Paris' death he married Helen winning her hand by defeating his older brother Helenus.

Deliberative Speeches
speeches that consider a course of action both negatively and positively in order to help make a decision; the Roman Senate would hear deliberative speeches in order to decide future actions, just as the American Congress does.

Delinquo
(Latin) to commit a crime; to fail.

Delphic Oracle
shrine at Delphi where the Pythia (Apollo's priestess) gave advice and prophecies to visitors.

Demagogue
in ancient times 'a leader of the people', dem(os) + agogos; an orator or political leader who gains power and popularity by appealing to the passions and prejudices of the people.

Demeter
goddess of agriculture, mother goddess of the Earth; daughter of Cronus and Rhea; mother of Persephone.

Demetrius I
(337-283 BCE) part of the Antigonid dynasty of Macedonian leaders; a great warrior who launched campaigns against Egypt and Greece; he won at the Battle of Salamis, bringing victory over the Egyptians; he was forced into exile in 288 BCE by Pyrrhus of Epirus and combined forces.

Demetrius Ii
(161-125 BCE) king of Syria; Demetrius II attempted to sustain Seleucid control of Syria and Palestine; he was captured during a battle in 139 BCE by Mithridates I; after being liberated from capture, he ruled Syria; he died in battle near Tyre in 125 BCE.

Demo
(Latin) to subtract.

Democracy
government by and of the people (demokratia).

Denarius
(Latin) a Roman silver coin; this coin was the equivalent initially of ten asses, but was later equal to about sixteen.

Denomination
class or kind of coin named for its value in the region(s) that used it. Denominations include: daric, decadrachm, diobol, distater, drachm, hecte, hexas, litra, obol, onkia, siglos, shekal stater, trite and more including the -nth denominations of the values listed.

Departure
a scene of men going off to war in which family and friends participate in the preparations for the parting.

Depilation
the removal of hair, i.e., by singeing it with a flame.

Depositio Barbae
the first time a Roman boy shaved his beard; this was a ritual occasion and the shaving of the beard was part of a religious ceremony; for the emperors Nero and Caligula, the depositio barbae and the toga virilis, another rite of passage for a Roman male, occurred simultaneously.

Desipio
(Latin) to act like a fool.

Deus Ex Machina
(Latin) literally god out of a machine ; indicates an otherwise unexplainable ending that can resolve any troubling matter; in ancient Greek drama, particularly that of Euripides, a god emerged with the help of a mechanical crane who could tie together the loose ends of a tricky situation, thereby resolving the drama.

Diadem
a crown or cloth band worn around the head.

Diana
the Roman goddess of fertility, the moon, nature and childbirth; portrayed in art as a huntress; identified with Artemis.

Diaulos
ancient Greek athletics, a running race of 400 meters or two stades.

Didactic Poetry
poetry which gives instruction on a given topic; an example is this type of work is Lucretius' On the Nature of the Universe.

Dido (Elissa)
queen and founder of Carthage allowed to take as much land as she could enclose in the hide of a bull; loved by Aeneas, tragic heroine of the Aeneid.

Die Axis
axis's degree coordinate for the tool used for shaping and punching coin metal; distinctions between coins that have the same imprint pattern can be made by looking at their die axes.