Why is it that on some buildings the “U” in the engraving on the outside wall is replaced by a “V”?
On stone tablets back in the day it was easier to chisel out a V than a U. Today it’s just tradition.
The Romans didn’t have seperate letters for “U” and “V.” That’s why Latin mottoes on buildings have "V"s instead of "U"s. Later architects just copied the look.
Interesting. How was that letter pronounced?
IIRC, U was the letter for both. My Latin pronunciation is abysmal, but OO comes close, I think. Think Julio Eglasias. I’m sure someone with a better knowledge of Latin will be along shortly.
Some older English books/pamphlets use a “v” instead of a “u.” The first thing that comes to mind are the bills of health (I think that’s what they were called) the English government issued in the 1600s - they kept track of all of the deaths during the year and presented them in a column format.
If it’s a question of following tradition, and not because it’s easier to carve out a “v”, why don’t many of these buildings substitute “i” for “j” in their engravings?
Pronunciation, not letter. Perview is my friend…
As for the I/J question…I’ve seen some that do. Not many, though. Anybody know the timeframe for each letter split?
ivft deal with it.
No, please don’t. Not only is Julio Iglesias rather unpleasant to think about, it’s a wholly different sound.
V in Latin could be either a consonant or a vowel. As a vowel, it was just /u/, like in “food”. As a consonant, it was pronounced like /w/ (“witch”) in classical times, and by around 200 A.D. or so became the /v/ sound we know and love. So IVLIVS CAESAR’s famous line, “Veni, vidi, vici” would be pronounced something like “wenny widdy weaky”.
In Roman times, K was rarely used, W didn’t exist, and the Roman I birthed J later on, and V fathered U at a later date as well. Not only that, but they only had capital letters, which led to a great deal of strife; when people wrote letters to one another, everyone assumed everyone else was shouting and got correspondingly pissed off.
That’s also why W is called “double-U” instead of “double V”.
ran through the town…
(That and Life of Brian has ruined Latin for me forever. :D)
So, how is IVLIVS pronounced, then? What did Caesar’s buddies in the Roman Senate call him?
In English it’s called “double-U”. Not so in plenty of other languages.
I’m no expert, but according to what I’ve read, it would be YOO-lee-us (the last syllable having the same vowel as “book” or “soot”.)
And to answer the second question, they would have called him Gaius.
The initials “INRI” posted above Jesus in depictions of the cruxifiction stand for Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm, or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
When I was younger and took a trip to New York, I remember walking around going, “The American Miv-sevvum of Nat-vee-ral History” and thinking it was real funny.
By “younger”, I mean I was like 30.
And from “History of the World”. . .“NUTS FOR SALE. EN VEE TEE ESS: NUTS. NUTS FOR SALE.”
I am no expert, but as far as I know, Caesar’s name is pronounced something like:
Not I’m Nailed Right In?