Some excerpts from Festus, De significatione verborum

I have been idly looking through the section of Festus for the letter ‘M’ — the first book preserved in the damaged manuscript.  Here are a few extracts.  Perhaps others will find these interesting also.

MINOR DELOS.  This name is given to Puzzuoli, because at one time Delos was the greatest commercial centre in the whole world.  It was then replaced by Puzzuoli, previously known in Greek as Δικαιαρχία.  From this Lucilius has said: Inde Dicaearcheum populos, Delumque minorem (Whence the peoples of Dicaearchia and the little Delos).

 MIRACULA.  This word, which we apply today to things deserving of admiration, was only given by the ancients to hideous things. [1]

MISCELLIONES.  Those who have no certain opinions, but are of varied and mixed judgements.

MIRACIDION. First adolescence.

MEDDIX is the title of a magistrate among the Oscans.  Ennius says, Summus ibi capitur meddix, occiditur alter.[2]

MEDITRINALIA.  This is the origin of this word.  It was the custom among the Latin peoples that, on the day when one sampled the new wine for the first time, to say: Vetus novum vinum bibo, veteri novo morbo medeor.[3]  From the same words is formed the name of the goddess Meditrina, whose celebrations were called Meditrinalia.

MEDITERREA.  Sisenna considers this form as preferable to mediterranea

MELO, alternative name for the Nile.

MEGALESIA.  Games in honour of the Great Goddess. 

I will look some more at this later on.

  1. [1]i.e. monstrosities, prodigies, rather than marvels.
  2. [2]The senior magistrate (Meddix) was captured there, the other was killed.
  3. [3]Old, I drink the new wine; from the old wine I would acquire a new illness.

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