Thursday, October 17, 2019


Name Change

Livy 9.27.14 (tr. Betty Radice with her note):
In a short time the Romans began to win all along the line, while the Samnites gave up the fight and were cut down or taken prisoner, except for those who fled to Maleventum, the city now called Beneventum.41 According to tradition some thirty thousand Samnites were killed or captured.

41. Malventum or Maleventum had its name changed, as it sounded ill-omened, when a Roman colony was settled there in 268; but the name was not derived from Latin male but from Greek mēlon or malon, meaning 'sheep' (or possibly 'apple').

tota deinde iam vincere acie Romanus et omisso certamine caedi capique Samnites, nisi qui Maleventum, cui nunc urbi Beneventum nomen est, perfugerunt. ad triginta milia caesa aut capta Samnitium proditum memoriae est.
Robert Maltby, A Lexicon of Ancient Latin Etymologies (Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1991), p. 78:
Beneventum, -i n. (oppid. in Samnio). FEST. 340 Segestae praeposita est ... 's' littera, ne obsceno nomine appellaretur, ut factum est in Malvento, quod Beneventum dictum est (cf. LIV. 9,27,14. PLIN. nat. 3,105). PAUL. FEST. 34 Beneventum, colonia cum deduceretur, appellari coeptum est melioris ominis causa. namque eam urbem antea Graeci incolentes Μαλόεντον appellarunt. thes. gloss.

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