Akolouthos: Greek term for an acolyte or helper
Ames ace: the worst cast in a game of dice
Amphitruo: a popular sexual comedy written by Plautus
Atrium: an open area in the center of many Roman homes.
Bulla: an amulet worn around the neck by Roman children for protection against evil. A boy would wear his bulla until he became a Roman citizen during his toga virilis ceremony, while a girl would wear hers until the eve of her marriage.
Calamistrum: curling iron
Caryatid: a pillar or other architectural support sculpted into the shape of a female figure.
Cavea: the semi-circular seating area of a theatre, arranged in tiers\
Cerberus: a three-headed mythological dog that guards the gates of Hades
Chiton: a long garment worn by both Greek men and women and held together at the shoulders by pins.
Columna Lactaria: a column in Rome by which unwanted infants were abandoned, and where wet nurses or adopting parents might feed those who survived.
Cunnus: Roman profanity that referred to the female genitalia
Diadem: a royal crown and symbol of authority
Dies Natalis: birth day
Dies nefastus: an unlucky day in the calendar, during which no official business or judgments could be conducted.
Domina: mistress; used to address a female superior
Domine: master; used to address a male superior in the vocative
Dominus: master; used when the male subject of sentence is spoken of as superior
Equites: “knights” who were members of the lower aristocratic order
Fasti: a Roman almanac of the year, listing festival days and dies nefasti, among others. The phrase also refers to days where official business was considered religiously proper.
Filius nullius: “no-one’s son” (a bastard)
Fornices: archway or vault. The habit of Roman prostitutes soliciting in archways leaves its trace in the word “fornicate.”
Forum Boarium: the cattle market
Futue te ipsum: Roman profanity, urging the recipient to have sexual relations with himself.
Ganymede: young homosexual, after the beautiful lover taken by Zeus in mythology.
Gaul/Gallic: continental Western Europe between the Rhine and the Pyrenees, inhabited by Celtic tribes. This included the low countries, Switzerland, and Northern Italy (Cisalpine Gaul)
Gustatio: the appetizer or starter course of a meal. Often comprised of a light salad, lentils, or pickled vegetables.
Hic bene futui: Roman graffito, translating to “Here I [fornicated] well.”
Himation: a Greek garment which was worn over a chiton and often used as a cloak
Hoc age: pay attention to what you’re doing
Ignobilitas: one who is without nobility
Judices: the jurors in a public trial, often comprising of citizens, and drawn from the higher social orders
Kyphi: incense, used for medical purposes and Egyptian religious rites
Lantisa: the manager/trainer for gladiators
Lararium: a small shrine to honor each household’s protectors
Lares: the household gods or protective spirits that were honored in the lararium.
Liberalia: the festival of Liber Pater and his consort Libera was celebrated on March 17th. This was also the day when young boys who had come of age would put aside their bullae.
Ludus/ludi: school; also used to refer to the public games that were intended to serve as a festival of thanks to the gods
Lupa/e: she-wolf; the derogatory term for prostitutes.
Lupanar: a brothel
Lupercalia: a pastoral festival held from February 13-15th
Lustratio: purification ceremony, (often involving animal sacrifice) to purify people (especially newborns) as well as places, crops, armies and buildings.
Mare Superum: Adriatic Sea
Mater: Latin for “mother”
Mētēr: Greek for “mother”
Nemes crown: the blue and gold striped headcloth worn by Pharaohs of ancient Egypt
Odeon/odea: a building used for musical and theatrical events
Ofella/e: the ancient Roman version of pizza made of baked dough but without the tomatoes, as tomatoes were unknown to the Romans at that time.
Ornatrix: a slave girl skilled in hair arrangement and make-up
Palla: a shawl worn over the arms and shoulders
Parentalia: annual festival in honor of the dead (typically parents)
Pilum: a long spear or a javelin
Pleb: plebian, member of the common classes
Plethra: a Greek measure of distance; the plethron was between 97-100 feet
Portico: roofed entrance porch at the front of a building
Rostrum: speaking platform of the Senate made from the prows of ships that the Romans captured in various sea battles.
Salii: a group of young male priests of Mars, the Roman god of war.
Silphium: an extinct plant commonly referred to as a “giant fennel.” The Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote about its use as an herbal contraceptive.
SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus or “The Senate and People of Rome” This ubiquitous “signature” of the Roman state appeared on legionary standards, documents, coins and a great deal else.
Sparsor: a person whose job it was at the races to douse the wheels of a smoking chariot with water
Spelt-cake: cake made from a precursor to modern strains of wheat.
Spina: barrier in the center of the Circus Maximus, which separated the outbound and inbound laps of the race.
Stadia: a Roman measure of distance; one stadion (also spelled stadium) was from 200 to 210 yards in length.
Stola: a long, pleated dress worn over the tunic; the traditional garment of Roman women
Stylus: metal writing implements, used to inscribe on wax tablets. The reverse, flat end of the stylus could be used to scratch and flatten, or “erase” mistakes.
Tablet: wax writing pad that could be reused by warming the tablet and melting the wax.
Taberna: a shop or alehouse
Thalamēgos: ancient Greek ship meaning “cabin-carriers”
Tiet: the sacred knot of the Egyptian goddess Isis.
Toga praetexta: long woolen sash, worn by Roman citizens as a tunic. The praetexta had a single crimson stripe, and was often worn by magistrates, priests and boys too young for the toga virilis.
Tollere liberos: lifting of a newborn into the air by its father, signifying his acceptance of it into the family.
Triclinium: dining room in a Roman household, so named for the three couches on which diners reclined and ate.
Tunic/a: a garment worn by both men and women in ancient Rome, either under the toga or by itself.
Univira: a woman who has had only one husband
Ubi tu es Agrippa, ego Claudia: “Where you are Agrippa, I am, Claudia.”
Umbraculum: umbrella or parasol, typically carried by slaves for their wealthy Roman mistresses
Vestibulum: the narrow hallway that connected the atrium of a Roman house with the street outside. These hallways often contained welcoming messages or decorations in the form of mosaics or murals.