Words! Words! Words!

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your words!

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jul 18, 2017 12:20:20 PM

colosseumOn this date in the year AD 64, the great fire of Rome broke out and destroyed much of the city. Despite the well-known stories, we really can’t say for sure that the Roman emperor, Nero, either started the fire (he was 35 miles away but probably ordered the arson) or played the fiddle while it burned (the fiddle hadn’t been invented, but Nero DID play a mean lyre). Nero at least used the disaster to further his political agenda, and as an excuse to torture and murder plenty of Christians.

Let’s see how you compare to the great Roman scholars of old. 

1. cognomen

(a) date

(b) place

(c) name

(d) illness

2. odeum

(a) a place of worship

(b) a brothel

(c) a theater or concert hall

(d) a public bath house

3. pantomime

(a) the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples indifferently

(b) the forward section of seats on the main floor of a theater

(c) a draped rectangular cloth worn as a cloak by men of ancient Greece and Rome

(d) the art or genre of conveying a story by bodily movements only

4. triptych

(a) an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together

(b) a gold coin of the Roman Empire equivalent to 25 denarii

(c) a long usually plain close-fitting jacket with high collar worn especially as part of a uniform

(d) the central room of a Roman house

5. Ceres

(a) the ninth day before the ides according to ancient Roman reckoning

(b) the Roman goddess of agriculture

(c) hill in Rome, Italy, one of seven on which the ancient city was built

(d) Marcus Tullius, 106-43 B.C. Roman statesman, orator, and author

6. prefect

(a) a chief officer or chief magistrate

(b) one that manages another's affairs

(c) an official who presents a plea for beatification or canonization

(d) a member of one of the original citizen families of ancient Rome

7. cohort

(a) a glass or earthenware flask with a globular body and two handles used especially by the ancient Romans to hold ointment, perfume, or wine

(b) an ancient Roman magistrate ranking below a consul and having chiefly judicial functions

(c) one of 10 divisions of an ancient Roman legion

(d) one learned in Roman or civil law


(a) the senate and the people of Rome

(b) the seal of the Roman emperor

(c) the common people of ancient Rome

(d) in the year that the city was founded (Rome, founded 753 B.C.)

9. Vulgar Latin

(a) one who willfully or ignorantly destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public

(b) the nonclassical Latin of ancient Rome including the speech of plebeians and the informal speech of the educated established by comparative evidence as the chief source of the Romance languages

(c) graffiti

(d) Cheech Marin

10. ambrosia

(a) a private meeting or secret assembly

(b) the selective overlooking or ignoring of events or acts that are not favorable or useful to one's purpose or position

(c) any of various typically Italian hors d'oeuvres

(d) the food of the Greek and Roman gods



Correct answers:

1c; 2c; 3d; 4a; 5b; 6a; 7c; 8a; 9b; 10d


Et tu, reader?

Score Comment
All 10 Emperor <your name here>ius Maximus
7-9 Senator
4-6 Plebeian
2-3 Keep fiddling; you’ll figure things out someday
0-1 They have not exactly come to praise you


Intro text inspired by: history.com

Definitions: Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary


Topics: vocabulary test, vocabulary

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