Some terms that might require explanation

Africanus(or Scipio Africanus) A Roman general during the Second Punic War and later consul
AlamanniA Germanic tribe which invaded Gaul and later northern Italy
AmbroseA bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century
amphora(plural: amphorae) A large, elongated clay pot or jar, used for storing and transporting wine, oil, etc.
amuletA small object worn around the neck as a protection against evil, bad luck, disease, etc.
Aquila(eagle) An alternative name for the Roman god Jupiter; also, an eagle-shaped rock in the north-west of Elba
ArianismA belief that asserts that Jesus Christ is subordinate to God the Father
Aristoteles(or Aristotle) A very influential  Greek philosopher and scientist
Augustinus(or Saint Augustine) An early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy
AusterThe Roman god of the sirocco wind, who brought heavy cloud cover and fog or humidity
balneumA bathroom
BarbarianA generic name for various pagan or uncivilised tribes from northern Europe, which invaded the Roman Empire
BelisariusA general of the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Justinian, who attempted to reconquer much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire
Benedictus(or Benedict of Nursia; c. 480 – 543 or 547). A Christian saint, who founded several monasteries in Italy and formulated the “Rule of Saint Benedict”, containing precepts for his monks
biblia sacraThe Holy Bible
BoethiusA Roman senator, consul and philosopher of the early 6th century
braccaeShapeless trousers of wool or skin tied at the waist and ankles by cords
BranziniThe European sea bass
ByzantiumAn ancient Greek city, which Emperor Constantine I made into the new capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD, later renamed Constantinople; modern Istanbul
CaprariaThe ancient name of the rocky islet of Capraia, north-west of Elba
carbatinaeA sort of of rustic leather shoes or sandals
CassiodorusA Roman statesman and writer, serving in the administration of Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths
cauponaA Roman inn, where travellers obtained food and lodging
centuriaA unit of approximately 100 Roman soldiers
CerboniusA Bishop of Populonia during the Barbarian invasions, renowned for miraculous incidents in connection with the Pope, angels and the Ostrogothic king Totila; he fled to the island of Elba when the Langobards attacked, and was later made a saint
challahA special Jewish plaited bread eaten on Sabbath and holidays
ChioneThe nymph or goddess of snow
CiceroA very influential Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul, and constitutionalist
circusA large open-air venue used for public events such as chariot races, horse races, and other forms of entertainment
citharaA stringed instrument similar to a lute, often used to accompany a singer or someone reciting poetry
codex(pl. codices) An early form of book, made of sheets of handwritten paper or parchment, and bound with thick covers; codices gradually replaced wooden writing tablets and scrolls
ConstantinopleThe new name given to Byzantium in honour of Emperor Constantine I; modern Istanbul
CorsaThe ancient name of the Island of Corsica
dies VenerisFriday
Duumvir(Latin “one of the two men”) The official title of two joint magistrates in ancient Rome, the colonies and municipia
Ecce!See! Look!
einkornOne of the earliest cultivated forms of wheat
emmerOne of the earliest cultivated forms of wheat
Epulum JovisA sumptuous ritual feast offered to Jove (Jupiter) on the Ides of November during the ludi plebeii (plebeian games)
FabriciaThe main town of Ilves (Elba), originally on the hill above the port now known as Portoferraio
FascesA bundle of wooden rods, sometimes including an axe with its blade emerging, and symbolising a magistrate’s power and jurisdiction
FavoniusThe Roman god of the west wind, who held dominion over plants and flowers
feria(plural feriae) A “free day”, on which the people, especially the slaves, were not obliged to work; such festivals were one of the primary features of the Roman calendar
festina lente(hasten slowly) Equivalent to more haste, less speed
focacciaA flat oven-baked bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients
follis(plural: folles) A large bronze coin; approximate value 210 to a solidus
FranksOne of a group of Germanic tribes, who succeeded in conquering most of the Western Roman Empire
hobbleTo prevent an animal from moving by tying their legs together
GothsAn East Germanic people, who played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire
goyimA Hebrew word meaning ‘nations’; by implication ‘non-Jews’ or ‘gentiles’. Used pejoratively to refer to Barbarians or Vandals
HectateA goddess associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, witchcraft and sorcery
Hercle!By Hercules! An interjection used (by men only) to express strong feeling
HerculesThe son of Zeus Jupiter, a divine hero
HieronymusSaint Jerome
Historia AnimaliumA natural history written by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle
IlvaThe ancient name of the Island of Elba
IdesThe 13th day of the Roman months with 29 days; the 15th day of the months with 31 days (March, May, July, October)
in situIn its original position or place
in spiritu et veritateIn spirit and truth
Io!An exclamation of joy or triumph
JupiterThe king of the Roman gods and the god of sky and thunder, often represented as an eagle (aquila)
labdanumA sticky brown resin obtained from rockrose shrubs, used in herbal medicine and as a perfume ingredient
LangobardiA Germanic tribe, who invaded Italy and founded a kingdom in the northern part of the country in 567 AD
Late AntiquityThe period between the end of the Western Roman Empire and the Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century
lectusA couch
lembosA light vessel, used chiefly for piracy
libertaA freedwoman
lictorAn officer, attendant on a magistrate, who bore the fasces and was responsible for punishing criminals
liquamen(or garum) A very popular fermented fish sauce, used as a condiment
LonginusA military governor of the Byzantine Empire, based in Ravenna
ludiPublic games, such as horse and chariot races, held in the circus for the entertainment of the people, and often the major feature of religious festivals
Ludi FloraeA licentious, pleasure-seeking festival in honour of the goddess Flora, held at the end of April and lasting six days
macchiaThe fragrant Mediterranean shrub land, consisting of densely growing evergreen shrubs such as holm oak, Kermes Oak, tree heath, strawberry tree, sage, juniper, buckthorn, spurge olive and myrtle
Mane bonum!Good morning!
MarcianaA hillside town in the north-west of Ilva
martenA medium-sized carnivore, about the size of a large cat, prized for its rich brown fur, which is thick and silky in the winter
masticA resin obtained from the mastic tree, used as a medicine
MauriFierce raiding tribes of north-west Africa
MeditrinaliaA Roman festival celebrated on October 11 in honour of the new vintage, which was offered as a libation to the gods for the first time each year
menafaA Carthaginian word for ‘napkin’
MercuriusThe Roman god of commerce and financial gain
NarsesOne of the great generals in the service of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, instrumental in the reconquest of Italy between 550 and 570 AD
Naturalis HistoriaA natural history written by the Roman natural philosopher Plinius (Pliny the Elder)
NeptunusThe Roman god of the sea
NitelaDormouse (an affectionate name)
Novum vetus vinum bibo, novo veteri morbo medeorI drink new and old wine, to be healed of new and old sicknesses – a maxim recited at the Meditrinalia festival
oecusThe formal dining room of a Roman house. The menfolk recline on couches around a low table
OstrogothsA branch of the later Goths (the other major branch being the Visigoths), who, under Theoderic the Great, established a kingdom in Italy in the late 5th and 6th centuries
passusA Roman measure of distance; nominally the length of a full stride
pesA foot (unit of length)
PelagiusThe Pope’s representative during the Gothic blockade of Rome (542 to 546 AD), when he made great efforts to spare the lives of the people. Pope from 556 to 561 AD
physicA medicine or drug, especially a cathartic or purge
PlanasiaA low-lying island off the south-west corner of Elba; current name: Pianosa
Plinius(Pliny the Elder) A Roman naturalist and naval commander of the early Roman Empire, author of the influential encyclopedia Naturalis Historia
podiumA balcony or stage
Pol!By Pollux! Truly! Really!
pugioA dagger
salveA medical ointment used to soothe the head or treat various skin problems
Salve!(Plural Salvete!) Hail!
solidusA gold coin weighing about 4.5 grams, at this period worth 210 folles
Scipio’s Dream, the sixth book of Cicero’s De re publica, describing a fictional vision of the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus
speltAn ancient species of wheat which was an important staple food in Late Antiquity
stadium(plural: stadia) A Roman measure of distance, roughly 180-200 m
stoaA covered walkways or porticos around a town square
strigilA brass or wooden body scraper, used to remove oil, sweat and dirt after bathing
SubmonteA fictional village on the western slopes of Monte Capanne, Ilva
taberna(plural: tabernae) A Roman shop, consisting of a stall or booth in the market place
tabulaa board game similar to backgammon
talismanAn object which is believed to have magical properties, such as bringing good luck or protecting from evil or harm
togaA distinctive wollen garment of Ancient Rome which was wrapped around the body
toga pullaA dark grey or brown toga reserved for periods of mourning
TotilaKing of the Ostrogoths from 541 to 552 AD and a skilled military and political leader. By 543 he had recaptured almost all the territories in Italy that the Byzantine forces had recovered from his kingdom in 540
TriviaThe Roman goddess of sorcery and witchcraft
uncia(Plural unciae) An ounce
Ursa MajorThe Great Bear or Plough, a constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere
Ursa MinorThe Little Bear, a constellation in the northern sky
UrsusBear (an affectionate name)
Vale!(Plural Valete!) Goodbye! Farewell!
VergeliusVirgil, an  ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period
VigilesThe firefighters and police of Ancient Rome
VigiliusPope from 537 to 555; he summoned Cerbonius to explain his custom of celebrating mass before dawn, to which his parishioners objected
vilicusA servant who had the superintendence of a villa, including all slaves


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.