By nequam, in 'Pronunciation, Spelling and Listen to Latin', Jan 11, 2010.
What did the Romans call the character ‘Æ’ (æ) ?
Actually, that grapheme was invented by mediæval scribes in order to save space on the manuscript, so they blended the two letters together. Ni fallor, of course.
The Romans did write ‘Æ’, but only because they always ran their letters together to save space in inscriptions. There would have been no need for a special name for it.
As Chamæleo said, it was merely a place saving device. And there was nothing special with the ligature AE; in fact, almost any letter pairs (or triples!) could be connected in a similar fashion, if the stone cutter wanted to save space. An extreme example (click for larger picture):
And a transcription, with ligatures marked with bold:
P F INVICT AVG
COH I GERM
VETVSTATE CONLABSVM RE
STITVERVNT CVRANTE Q
CAEC PVDENTE V C LEG AUGG
PR PR INSISTENTE Q MAMIL
HONORATO TRIB COH S S
Aren't there some missing, effaced letters?
Yes, obviously. I found a reconstruction at http://oracle-vm.ku-eichstaett.de:8888/ ... graphik_en
Enter "CIL 13, 06562" as the Publication.
Impp(eratores) Caess(ares) [[M(arcus) Iul(ius) Phlip]]/[[pus]] P(ius) F(elix) Invict(us) Aug(ustus) [[[et M(arcus) Iul(ius)] / [Phlippu n(obilissimus) Caes(ar)]] balineum / coh(ortis) I Germ(anorum) [[P[h]i[lippian(ae)]]] / vetustate conlabsum re/stituerunt curante Q(uinto) / Caec(ilio) Pudente v(iro) c(larissimo) leg(ato) Augg(ustorum) / pr(o) pr(aetore) insistente Q(uinto) Mamil(io) / Honorato trib(uno) coh(ortis) s(upra) s(criptae)
Was certain, (especially with Greek influence), they would have had a name for every possible grammatical construct!
Well, let’s because it was not a grammatical phenomenon, hence no name.
Now, there is an underlying linguistic phenomenon: a diphthong. I believe that the Æ sound was considered the main diphthong, and was referred to as ‘diphthongus’. But that’s the sound, not the writing.
So I can use this "symbol" anywhere that I see fit? there isn't a set rule for it?
The only "rule" I would posit is "be consistent". That doesn't means "always or never", but find a system that works for you.
I personally only use it to avoid -aee, like in Matthæe (O Matthaeus). I use that system consistently.
ETA: Oh, also, don't use it in the rare case that A and E are not sounded together. E.g., aër/aer is never ær. Or, at least, it shouldn't be.
Thank you, it makes a lot more sense now, at first I thought you could only use it at the beginning of the word.
Æ (ash) is a letter in the Old English alphabet.
Scribes throughout the ages have used a lot of ligatures to join various letters together. The actual ligatures people used varied depending on the period and the hand that they were writing in. Unless you are going to join your c's and t's and your s's and t's and your e's s's and t's, (along with possibly a whole series of mediaeval abbreviations), I would suggest avoiding æ.
æ is not uncommon in 19th century books and occurs even in 20th century editions (Gaffiot), so it long outlived ﬆ & Co.
What’s more, I think it’s wrong to treat Latin æ in the same way as ﬆ or modern ﬁ. The latter are rather typesetting conventions, while the former has much more right to be considered as a separate unit. I’d compare Latin æ to modern French œ, which is not a separate letter but by no means is a typographical ligature.
Not uncommon, but Altatius' example nonwithstanding, not really a classical convention.
There is a very good case to be made for view that the spelling change from 'AI' to 'Æ' at the start of the Classical period was not arbitray, but a reflexion of a change in pronunciation.
'Æ' is to be regarded as a single, independent letter representing a single pure and simple vowel. The shape of the letter is intended to indicate that its sound is intermediate between that of 'a' and that of 'e'. Regarded as either a fronted 'a' or an open 'e', it should always sound like 'æ' in 'æroplane', and always be of long duration. It is always long for the historical reason that it resulted from the simplification of an Old Latin diphthong which, until about two centuries before Christ, was spelt 'AI' and pronounced like 'ai' in 'samurai'. Some advocates of 'Classical' pronunciation insist on pronouncing it in this preclassical way despite the change of spelling, citing perhaps the fact that Classical Latin writers used 'Æ' to translitterate the similar diphthong which continued to be written as 'AI' in Greek. The true explanation for this, however, is that this ancient diphthong had undergone almost exactly the same change in most Greek dialects, but that Greek spelling had solidify'd at an earlier time, and was thus more reluctant to reflect such changes.
Any other sources besides an anonymous Internet page?
I agree with Abbatissæ Scriptor to read Æ as a single vowel. I've even read somewhere that this combination was used to translitterate the open E of foreign languages e.g. RÆDA for the Gallic REDA (car).
May I add two remarks:
First AER is not an original latin word and Gaffiot introduces it as āer āĕris m (ἀήρ), those who do not use Æ spell it AËR;
Second (please forgive me if I have it written in another thread), I have observed this pronunciation change in vivo in Java Island : where dictionaries say that ai or au are diphthongs, I never heard anything else than a o or an open e e.g. the word pakai (to use, with) prononced as the French paquet.
Note my sig. It uses that ligature. Note that I used that ligature to save space.
That 'anonymous Internet page' is indeed of my own creation, and is part of a larger site devoted to the Tridentine Mass.
It is simply easier for me to quote from that site tham to compose the same arguments afresh. As I referenced therein, however, I would again cite L.R. Palmer, _THE_LATIN_LANGUAGE_ as the best overall source on the history and development of Latin.
I just found an interesting snippet from Quintilian:
Fascinating! I think I will use this convention (distinguishing singular from plural) from now on.
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