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Latin Dedication

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:24 pm
by Thucydides
I want to write a Latin dedication in a present to a classical friend.

I believe the format should be something like:

name of recipient (first name Latinised and inflected, surname uninflected)
object of dedication (hoc saxum/librum etc.)
reason why (I am not sure how best to introduce the virtues)
name of donor
date

[optional waffle, perhaps poetry, perhaps even Greek]

and a verb of giving implied.

e.g.

ROBERTO SMITH
HOX SAXUM MAXIMUM
WILLELMUS SMITH
OB AMICITIAM PIETAM FIDEM
DIE XXX MENS. NOVEM. A.D. MMV

Pereunt et imputantur

Any suggestions/improvements? I'm going for a Laconic style.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:15 am
by whiteoctave
the Latinisation of surnames in oblique cases is a moot point; many of the finer Oxford editors would disagree with your policy of keeping the surname uninflected and demanding to express the forename in full. 'hox' is a rather recherché form, about which my knowledge is nil. your love of Laconic prose suggested, probably wrongly, that you think liber neuter. recent cutting-edge research has suggested that the Romans lacked the letter 'w', so Guilelmus (so the English) or Gulielmus (so those on the continent) is the oft preferred form for William. there seems little point writing your 'dedication' in Latin if you are going to use an anachronistic method of dating: use the form a. d. N Id. Nou. a. D. MMV, where N represents a given integer, presuming you write this before the Ides. your decorous Latin 'example' did not match the order you posited; nonetheless, the donor's name should best appear just before the end, and of course you want to end with d.d., or perhaps d.d.d., should you feel like it. your 'optional (additional?) waffle' would cohere ill with the preceding dedication: if you are to write some Lat/Gk verse/prose, that should be placed immediately after the name of the recipient in the dative. in fact, it was only this morning that a couple of friends and i donated a book to a lady, in which we each wrote an elegiac quatrain, and then our initials followed by d.d. and date. i hope, quite naturally, that the book is worthy of your elegant effusions.

~D

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 7:55 am
by Thucydides
Thank you for that.

I have no idea how I managed to type hox. Presumably I was going for the C key out of a tendency to think that all dimuitives are neuter, for which I blame German.

The inscription I have been most closely following is one in Merton College at the end of the north transept of the ante-chapel by Tsar Alexander no less. Hence the D.D. before the name. And the 'specimen' (see below).

Most of the surnames I see around me in Oxford, including on the statue of 'Henrico Liddel' that I walk under every day. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

I changed the date to the Roman format eventually. On all the inscriptions I've found this meant leaving out the AD/AS/AC, possibly to avoid confusion with the first A.D. for the day.

I stick by Willelmus; I've seen it more (on coins as well) and see frankised Latin names as bad as Anglised ones.

Also, the position of the verse seems natural to me

NAME
HUNC LEPIDUM LIBELLUM
AMICITIAE PERENNIS SPECIMEN
D.D.
WILLELMUS SURNAME
A.D. V. ID. NOV. MENS. MMV

[face=SPIonic]o(\j me\n t’ ai)de/setai kou/raj Dio/j a}sson i)ou/saj
to\n de\ me/g’ w)/nhsan kai/ t’ e)/kluon eu)xome/noio
[/face]

I guess I'm writing more an Oxonian inscription than a strictly classical one.

The book in question is a text of Sappho, though not a very scholarly one.