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Of Capitals, Abbreviations, Numerical Charaâers, and the
Division of the Roman Month.
Capitals, or large letters, are used at the beginning of fentences, of verses, and of proper names. Some use them at the beginning of every substantive noun.
Ad jectives, verbs, and other parts of speech, unless they be emphatical, commonly begin with a small letter.
Capitals, with a point after them, are often put for whole words; thus, A. marks Aulus, C. Caius, D. Deci. mus, L. Lucius, M. Marcus, P. Publius, Q. Quinctius, T. Titus. So F. stands for Filius, and N. for Nepos ; as, M. F. Marci Filius, M. N. Marci Nepos. In like manner, P. C. marks Patres Conscripti; S. C. Senatus Confultum ; P. R. Populus Romanus ; S. P.Q. R. Senatus Populusque Romanus ; U. C. Urbs Condita ; S. P. D. Salutem pluri. mam dicit ; D. D. D. Dat, dicat, dedicat; D. D. C. Q. Dat, dicat, confecratque; H. S. written corruptly for L L. S. Sestertius, equal in value to two pounds of brass and a halt; the two pounds being marked by L. L. Libra, Libra, and the half by S. Semis. So in modern books, A. D. marks Anno Domini ; A. M. Artium Magifter, Master of arts; M. D. Medicine Do&tor ; LL. D. Legum Do∨ N. B. Nota Bene, &c.
Sometimes a small letter or two is added to the capi. tal; as, Etc. Et cetera; Ap. Aypius; Cn. Creius; Op. Opiter ; Sp. Spurius ; Ti. Tiberius; Sex. Sextius ; Cos. Con. sul; Coss. Consules ; Imp. Imperator; Impp. Imperatores.
In like manner, in English, Esq. Esquire ; Dr. Debtor or Do∨ Acct. Account ; MS. Manuscript ; MSS. Manufcripts ; Do. Ditto ; Rt. Hon. Right Honourable, &c.
Small letters are likewise often put as abbreviations of a word; as, i. e. id eft; b. e. hoc eft ; e. g. exempli gratia ; v. g. verbi gratia.
Capitals were used by the ancient Romans, to mark bumbers. The letters employed for this purpose were C. I. L. V. X. which are therefore called Numerical Let. ters. I, denotes one, V. five, X. ten, L. fifty, and C. a hundred. By the various combination of these five letters, all the different numbers are expressed.
The repetition of a numerical letter repeats its value. Thus, II. fignifies two; III. three ; XX. twenty ; XXX. Thirty ; cc. two hundred, sc. But V. and L. are never repeated.
When a letter of a less value is placed before a letter of a greater, the less takes away what it stands for from the greater ; but being placed after, adds what it stands for to the greater ; thus,
IV. Four. V. Five. VI. Six.
A thousand is marked thus, că?, which in later times was contracte.! into M. Five Hundred is marked thus, '1). or, by contraction, d.
The annexing of to 13. makes its value ten times greater ; thus 135. marks five thousand; and 1357. fifty ihousand.
The prefixing of c, together with the annexing of 3 to, the number cis, makes its value ten times greater ; thus cc13, denotes ten thousand; and ccci33. a hundred thouSand. The ancient Romans, according to Pliny, proceed. ed no farther in this method of notation. If they had occafion to express a larger pumber, they did it by repetition; thus, coçı?53, ccc333. fignified two hundred thousand, &c.
We fometimes find thousands expressed by a ftraight line drawn over the top of the numerical letters. Thus, 111. denotes three thoufand; x. ten thousand.
But the modern manner of marking numbers is much more fimple, by these ten characters, or Figures, which, from the ten fingers of the hands, were called Digits ;
I one, 2 two, 3 three, 4 four, 5 five, 6 fx, 7 feven, 8 eight, 9 nine, o nought, nothing. The first nine are called Significant Figures. The last is called a Cypher.
Significant figures placed after one another, increase their value ten times at every remove from the right hand to the left thus,
8 Eight 85 Eighty-five. 856 Eight hundred and fifty.fix. 8566 Eight thousand five hundred and fixty. six.
When cyphers are placed at the right hand of a signi. ficant figure, each cypher increases the value of the figure ten times : thus,
1 One. 2 Two.
10 Ten. *100 A hundred.
1000 A thousand. 2000 Two thousand,
Cyphers are often intermixed with significant figures, thus, 20202, Twenty thousand two hundred and two.
The superiority of the present method of marking num. bers over that of the Romans, will appear by expressing the present year both in letters and figures, and comparing them tygether; 010,13cC1XXX, or M.DCCLXXX, 1780.
As the Roman manner of marking the days of their months was quite different from ours, it may perhaps be of use here to give a short account of it.
Division of the Roman Months.
The Romans divided their months into three parts, by Kalends, Nones, and Ides. The first day of every month was called the Kalends ; the fifth day was called the Nones ; and thirteenth day was called the Ides ; except in the months of March, May, July, and October, in which the pones fell upon the seventh day, and the ides on the fifteeenth.
In reckoning the days of their months, they counted backwards. Thus, the first day of January was marked Kalendis Januariis or Januarii, or by contraction, Kal. Jan. The last day of December, Pridie Kalendas Januarias or Januari, scil. ante. The day before that, or the
thirtieth day of December, Tertio Kal. Jan. scil. die ante ; or, Ante diem tertium Kal. Jan. The twenty-ninth day of December, Quarto Kal. Jan. And so on, till they came back to the thirteenth day of December, or to the ides, which were marked Idibus Decembribus, or Decembris : The day before the ides, Pridie Idus Dec. scil. ante : the day before that, Tertio Id. Dec. and so back to the nones, or the fifth day of the month, which was marked, Nonis Deo cembribus or Decembris ; The day before the nones, Pridie Non Dec. &c. and thus through all the months of the year.
In Leap year, that is, when February has twenty-nine days, which happens every fourth year, both the 24th and the 25th days of that month were marked, Sexto KaLendas Martii or Martias; and hence this year is called Biffextilis.
JUNIUS, APRILIS, SEPTEMQUE, NOVEMQUE tricenos;
Thus, the 14th day of April, June, September, and October, was marked XVIII. Kal. of the following month ; the 15th, XVII. Kal. &c. The 14th day of January, Augufi, and December, XIX. Kal. &c. So the 16th day of March, May, July, and O&ober, was marked XVII. Kal. &c. And the 14th day of February, XVI. Kal. Martii or Martias. The names of all the months are used as Substantives or Adjectives, except Aprilis, which is used only as a Substantive.