people with disabilities/disabled people

By Anker, in 'English to Latin Translation', Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Anker New Member

    Hello, I'm new to this Forum.
    I've never learned Latin and am not a native English speaker, so please excuse the (maybe) strange use of these Languages :)

    I'm looking for the exact translation of 'disabled people'

    Is it true that there is no real translation of that term since people with disabilities where not considered to be a part of society?
    What I've found so far is that in the Roman Empire they used to call people wit disabilities 'Monstrum'.
    Can anybody confirm or deny this?
    (also I've found 'debilis' and 'erret'; how do you think about these?)

    This is for my reasarch in city planning in the Roman Empire, any help is much appreciated!

    Thanks.
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Location:
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    Hello,

    It is true that there is no "exact" translation of "disabled people", in the sense that there isn't a particular word that would exclusively back-translate to it. A more generic term would be used, like debiles (plural of debilis) meaning, broadly, people that are physically weak or have some impairement, which could be illness or even old age as well as disability.

    I don't think the lack of an exact word for it comes from the fact that disabled people were excluded from society. I think it's rather due to there being no real difference in people's minds back then between disability and other crippling conditions.

    Now, it's likely that disabled people were excluded in some cases and to some extent, as they always have been, still are and always will be. But that wasn't systematic. Some blind Romans were important people, for example.

    Monstrum, being a monster or portent, an anomalous thing, can apply to a person born with a deformity, but I don't believe it would apply to just any sort of disabled people in general. I think it would be weird to apply it to a blind person or a person unable to walk but whose appearance was normal, for example.

    Erret has nothing to do with disability. It's a verb that can translate to "he would be wrong".
    Last edited by Pacifica, Jan 8, 2019
  3. Anker New Member

  4. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    Interesting -- I wasn't aware of this. Can you give some examples?
  5. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Belgium
    There was a certain Caecus who was mentioned in some lines of verse that Dantius posted relatively recently. Unfortunately, I don't remember the complete name.
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Location:
    Belgium
  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Location:
    Belgium
    This Seneca passage might be of some mild interest concerning Roman views on disabled people. Disability isn't Seneca's topic, but he happens to mention it while making a point about something else. Of course, this is just Seneca, not all Romans, and it's just a mention in passing, but I thought I might as well share it in case.

    [24] Quod amicitia in hominibus est, hoc in rebus appetitio. Non, puto, magis amares virum bonum locupletem quam pauperem, nec robustum et lacertosum quam gracilem et languidi corporis; ergo ne rem quidem magis appetes aut amabis hilarem ac pacatam quam distractam et operosam. [25] Aut si hoc est, magis diliges ex duobus aeque bonis viris nitidum et unctum quam pulverulentum et horrentem; deinde hoc usque pervenies ut magis diligas integrum omnibus membris et illaesum quam debilem aut luscum; paulatim fastidium tuum illo usque procedet ut ex duobus aeque iustis ac prudentibus comatum et crispulum malis. Ubi par in utroque virtus est, non comparet aliarum rerum inaequalitas; omnia enim alia non partes sed accessiones sunt. [26] Num quis tam iniquam censuram inter suos agit ut sanum filium quam aegrum magis diligat, procerumve et excelsum quam brevem aut modicum?

    24. Now friendship in the case of men corresponds to desirability in the case of things. You would not, I fancy, love a good man if he were rich any more than if he were poor, nor would you love a strong and muscular person more than one who was slender and of delicate constitution. Accordingly, neither will you seek or love a good thing that is mirthful and tranquil more than one that is full of perplexity and toil. 25. Or, if you do this, you will, in the case of two equally good men, care more for him who is neat and well-groomed than for him who is dirty and unkempt. You would next go so far as to care more for a good man who is sound in all his limbs and without blemish, than for one who is weak or purblind; and gradually your fastidiousness would reach such a point that, of two equally just and prudent men, you would choose him who has long curling hair! Whenever the virtue in each one is equal, the inequality in their other attributes is not apparent. For all other things are not parts, but merely accessories. 26. Would any man judge his children so unfairly as to care more for a healthy son than for one who was sickly, or for a tall child of unusual stature more than for one who was short or of middling height?

    http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/sen/seneca.ep7.shtml
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_66
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  8. Dantius Homo Sapiens

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    Appius Claudius Caecus. As censor, he built the Aqua Appia and the Via Appia. I'm pretty sure he wasn't born blind though; Wikipedia says "According to Livy, he had gone blind because of a curse." But his speech in the Senate against making peace with Pyrrhus was made when he was already blind.
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  9. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Location:
    Belgium
    Is epilepsy considered a disability? The difference between illness and disability isn't always all that clear to me as to my mind, a persistent illness can in effect be tantamount to a disability. Julius Caesar, as is well known, suffered from either epilepsy or something with similar symptoms.

    As we know, Caesar was very much a part of society; but a couple of centuries after him, in contrast to Seneca, Apuleius expressed rather cruel views regarding people suffering from that kind of disease. The passage is from a speech he gave in his own defense in a trial where he was accused of sorcery. One of the arguments against him was that he had caused a guy to fall down with incantations. Apuleius defends himself by saying the guy, being epileptic, falls all the time. His words aren't kind and also reveal nasty things about how that person was treated by others. It broke my heart, really.

    (7) Quod si ita est, nominate, quis ille fuerit puer sanus, incolumis, ingeniosus, decorus, quem ego carmine dignatus sim initiare. (8) Ceterum Thallus, quem nominastis, medico potius quam mago indiget. (9) Est enim miser morbo comitiali ita confectus, ut ter an quater die saepe numero sine ullis cantaminibus corruat omniaque membra conflictationibus debilitet, facie ulcerosus, fronte et occipitio conquassatus, oculis hebes, naribus hiulcus, pedibus caducus. (10) Maximus omnium magus est, quo praesente Thallus diu steterit: ita plerumque morbo ceu somno uergens inclinatur.
    [44] (1) Eum tamen uos carminibus meis subuersum dixistis, quod forte me coram semel decidit. (2) Conserui eius plerique adsunt, quos ex<h>iberi denuntiastis. Possunt dicere omnes quid in Thallo despuant, cur nemo audeat cum eo ex eodem catino cenare, eodem poculo bibere. (3) Et quid ego de seruis? Vos ipsi uidetis. Negate Thallum multo prius quam ego Oeam uenirem corruere eo morbo solitum, medicis saepe numero ostensum! (4) Negant hoc conserui eius, qui sunt in ministerio uestro?
    Omnium rerum conuictum me fatebor, nisi rus adeo iam diu ablegatus est in longinquos agros, ne familiam contaminaret. Quod ita factum nec ab illis negari potest. (5) Eo nec potuit hodie a nobis exhiberi. Nam ut omnis ista accusatio temeraria et repentina fuit, nudius tertius nobis Aemilianus denuntiauit, ut seruos numero quindecim apud te exhiberemus. (6) Adsunt XIIII, qui in oppido erant. Thallus solus, ut dixi, quod ferme ad centesimum lapidem longe exul est, is Thallus solus abest, sed misimus qui eum curriculo aduehat.
    (7) Interroga, Maxime, XIIII seruos quos exhibemus, Thallus puer ubi sit et quam salue agat, interroga seruos accusatorum meorum. Non negabunt turpissimum puerum, corpore putri et morbido, caducum, barbarum, rusticanum. (8) Bellum uero puerum elegistis, quem quis sacrificio adhibeat, cuius caput contingat, quem puro pallio amiciat, a quo responsum speret. (9) Velle<m> hercle adesset. Tibi eum, Aemiliane, permisissem, et tenerem, si tu interrogares. Iam in media quaestione hic ibidem pro tribunali oculos trucis in te inuertisset, faciem tuam spumabundus conspuisset, manus contraxisset, caput succussisset, postremo in sinu tuo corruisset.

    If that be so, tell me who was that healthy, unblemished, intelligent, handsome boy whom I deemed worthy of initiation into such mysteries by the power of my spells. As a matter of fact, Thallus, whom you mentioned, needs a doctor rather than a magician. For the poor wretch is such a victim to epilepsy that he frequently has fits twice or thrice in one day without the need for any incantations, and exhausts all his limbs with his convulsions. His face is ulcerous, his head bruised in front and behind, his eyes are dull, his nostrils distended, his feet stumbling. He may claim to be the greatest of magicians in whose presence Thallus has remained for any considerable time upon his feet. For he is continually lying down, either a seizure or mere weariness causing him to collapse.

    Part 44

    Yet you say that it is my incantations that have overwhelmed him, simply because he has once chanced to have a fit in my presence. Many of his fellow servants, whose appearance as witnesses you have demanded, are present in court. They all can tell you why it is they spit upon Thallus, and why no one ventures to eat from the same dish with him or to drink from the same cup. But why do I speak of these slaves? You yourselves have eyes. Deny then, if you dare, that Thallus used to have fits of epilepsy long before I came to Oea, or that has frequently been shown to doctors. Do his fellow slaves, who are at your service, deny this?

    I will confess myself guilty of everything, if he has not long since been sent away into the country, far from the sight of all of them, to a distant farm, for fear he should infect the rest of the household. They cannot deny this to be the fact. For the same reason it is impossible for us to produce him here today. The whole of this accusation has been reckless and sudden, and it was only the day before yesterday that Aemilianus demanded that we should produce fifteen slaves before you. The fourteen living in the town are present today. Thallus only is absent owing to the fact that he has been banished to a place some hundred miles distant. However, we have sent a man to bring him here in a carriage.

    I ask you, Maximus, to question these fourteen slaves whom we have produced as to where the boy Thallus is and what is the state of his health; I ask you to question my accuser's slaves. They will not deny that this boy is of revolting appearance, that his body is rotten through and through with disease, that he is liable to fits, and is a barbarian and a clodhopper. This is indeed a handsome boy whom you have selected as one who might fairly be produced at the offering of sacrifice, whom one might touch upon the head and clothe in a fair white cloak in expectation of some prophetic reply from his lips! I only wish he were present. I would have entrusted him to your tender mercies, Aemilianus, and would be ready to hold him myself that you might question him. Here in open court before the judges he would have rolled his wild eyes upon you, he would have foamed at the mouth, spat in your face, drawn in his hands convulsively, shaken his head and fallen at last in a fit into your arms.

    http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/apuleius/apuleius.apol.shtml

    http://classics.mit.edu/Apuleius/apol.2.2.html
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  10. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    That's horrible. :(
  11. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    Apparently there's some dispute about whether Caesar actually suffered from epilepsy. These doctors argue that it was a series of "mini-strokes" instead.
  12. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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  13. syntaxianus Civis Illustris

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    Massachusetts, USA
    I suggest (from mancus, a, um)

    manci

    = maimed, infirm, defective.
  14. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Belgium
    That means people who are maimed in some limb and more specifically the hand.
  15. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

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    I have no axe to grind about this, and no specialised medical knowledge, but that article says that epilepsy manifesting itself late in life is exceedingly rare. It doesn't seem to be, as a simple Google search throws up any number of respectable sites discussing how common this is. I suppose if you're a paleopathologist, which is something I'd never known existed, you have to come up with new theories to to achieve publication, but diagnosing someone on the evidence of what was written about them sounds rather dodgy to me.
  16. syntaxianus Civis Illustris

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    Location:
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    That is correct. I propose it as the closest word Latin has, and it was extended in its meaning even in antiquity. Perhaps one could come up with a phrase like corporaliter deficiens to indicate lacking in full bodily functionality.
    Last edited by syntaxianus, Jan 9, 2019
  17. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    I think debiles is the closest you can get in classical Latin to an umbrella term for people with any sorts of disabilities although, as I said, it isn't quite as precise as the modern English term "disabled people". Mancus may have been occasionally extended, I don't know, but it's normally rather specific to what I said in my last post, so I don't think it's the best choice as a general, inclusive term.
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  18. syntaxianus Civis Illustris

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    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    "Member" in English has been used to suggest the idea of any bodily "part," -- an eye, for example.

    1 Cor 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

    So mancus could be extended to cover blindness, the injury of the part / member called the eye. Debilis would not seem to cover blindness so well.

    Corporaliter impediti is a possibility.
    Last edited by syntaxianus, Jan 9, 2019
  19. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    How does the use of the word 'member' in English affect the way mancus is used in Latin?
  20. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Location:
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    I think his argument is based on the fact that L&S dictionary uses the word "member" in its definition of mancus.

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