Some Latin Plurals for Numismatists
Original article by Scott T. Rottinghaus
Recent posts to prominent numismatic e-mail lists have demonstrated a widespread difficulty in making plurals of Latin words. This supplement to my previous article on Latin pronunciation might therefore provide some help to those who haven’t previously studied Latin.
It is particularly important to understand how to make plurals in Latin, because we use them quite commonly in English. For example, a male graduate of a school is an alumnus, and two of them are alumni. However, a female graduate is an alumna, and two would be alumnae. This example demonstrates the simplest of Latin plurals, namely, those of nouns in the first and second declensions. First declension nouns end in -a, and their plurals end in -ae. Second declension masculine nouns usually end in -us, and to pluralize them the -us is changed to -i. Second declension neuter nouns end is -um, and their plurals end in -a. Unfortunately, one must be careful to remember that the plural of a fourth declension noun like “manus” (“hand”) is actually “manus” and not “mani.” And the third declension nouns can be difficult, because the stems change (e.g. the plural of “quadrans” is “quadrantes”). When in doubt, a dictionary should be consulted. Fortunately, an English dictionary will usually suffice.
Here, then, is most of the glossary from my Latin pronunciation article, listed with the appropriate plurals:
Praenomina (almost always abbreviated)
|A or Ap=Appius||Appii|
|Man or Mn=Manius||Manii|
|P or Pub=Publius||Publii|
|S or Ser=Servius||Servii|
|Sx. or Sex=Sextus||Sexti|
|S or Sp=Spurius||Spurii|
|Ti or Tib=Tiberius||Tiberii|
Other Commonly Mispronounced Emperors
Some Imperial Titles