Universitas Romae est means The university is in Rome. Est Romae universitas means There is a university in Rome.
Not an expert, but I think that that is just convention if it is true at all. Latin is heavily inflicted, so word order is overall very fluid.
No, it would still be nominative, with the verb "to be". I agree with Randybvain, who said exactly what I was going to write too.
Wouldnt it be universitatem for the latter, since it should take the accusative?
I don't get it. First we are told that the order doesn't matter (except the emphasis), and then that "is in" and "there is", can be induced from a different word order.
How to know when it's "There is". "Something does exist that is called..." ?
I see how this is frustrating. Word order in Latin can indeed change without altering the basic relationship between words, because of the case endings. In English if I say "The dog eats the mouse" then the word order tells me that the dog is nominative (subject) and the mouse is accusative (direct object). In Latin I could reverse it to "The mouse eats the dog" and STILL know that the dog did the eating, because the ending on "dog" would be nominative wherever it was in the sentence, and the ending on "mouse" would be accusative wherever it was in the sentence. However... word order in the current sentence can indeed provide emphasis, just as we might do in English by tone of voice. We would say "There IS a university in Rome" while in Latin we would say "Est Romae universitas". I'm not sure this removes the frustration, but perhaps it lessens the sense of contradiction a bit. Latinists, feel free to correct me on this.
Surprises me how similar is Latin to Russian, grammar-wise (at least in these sentences). I didn't expect that
I thought word order didn't matter in Latin, but it does if Randybvain is correct. If so please can this be clarified? Also could the above sentence be translated as "It is a university in Rome"? If not how woukd that be said in Latin?
Universities were invented in the Middle Ages; I thought we were studying classical Latin.
Don't even go there, maybe they were not called universities but they weren't dumb they knew they had to have something like that.
They did have places of learning : they were private academies like the ones Plato and Aristotle ran in Greece.
For sure. But they did not call them universities. Lewis and Short confirms the meaning of the word in Classical Latin was A. "the whole", "the universe", or B. (a legal term) "a society, company, or guild". I would prefer the present course to use vocabulary that was in the Classical realm, personally. "Familia" is another example; it was not used to mean what we use it to mean today (as Lewis and Short explicitly explain), but was "the household of slaves and domestics", or the "family possessions or fortune", or "a troop".