Man of Bilsdale

By Hericus, in 'English to Latin Translation', Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Hericus New Member

    A 19th Century schoolteacher left an inscription that he signed "Bilsvallensis" which was translated as "man of Bilsdale" - a dale in North Yorkshire.

    I can follow that Bils valles is "Bilsvalley" ie Bilsdale, but would someone kindly explain the way in which the suffix functions, to create "man of"?
  2. voxlarsi New Member

    The "ensis"-ending is a case of genitive, meaning "of X". Vallis is latin for dale, as dale means valley. Oftenly the name of the birthplace of someone was used as a suffix to their name, telling where someone came from (e.g. Jesus Nazarenus = Jesus from Nazareth). So even though it might appear as simply "of Bilsdale", it might be read as "of a man from Bilsdale".
  3. Hericus New Member

    Many thanks.
  4. Hericus New Member

    I'm sorry to try your patience, but I have been unable to discover an entry in the declension tables in which the genitive case adopts "ensis" as the suffix. It seemed to me that this was a third declension noun, for which I anticipated the genitive would be "vallis"

    Could you excuse my inexperience and assist again?
  5. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    So far as I know, the suffix doesn't really stand by itself.

    It's a very common ending in adapted adjectives. Maybe look through university seals or taxonomy books:

    Alligator mississippiensis - American alligator is the common name; "Mississippi alligator" is what it translates to.
    Amelanchier utahensis - Utah serviceberry.

    I swear I've seen it on a university seal but I can't seem to find an an example....taxonomy books abound though.

    EDIT: Here's one:
  6. voxlarsi New Member

    The usage of genitive/locative is slightly different between location names and other nouns. If the valley/dale would have been any valley, it would be "vallis". But as this is a specific location with its own name, the suffix should be vallensis.
  7. Hericus New Member

    Thanks again.

    That's a point for my notebook.

    This is me beside the inscription, by the way. If it had been written yesterday, instead of in 1849, it would have been seen as vandalism. As John Hart was a local schoolmaster, what a scandal that would be.

  8. Decimus Canus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Have a look at this entry in Allen & Greenough. The suffix turns a place name into an adjective with a sense of belonging to that place. It's declined like a regular third declension adjective with nominative forms -is, -is, -e. I believe the case in the inscription is actually nominative, agreeing with the name.
  9. Decimus Canus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Even considered as vandalism you have to admit that's a shade more elegant than the average graffito.

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