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Why? I think there's a link with the souls of the dead as ghosts, is it true?
They say " The Appian Way, the oldest highway, is lined with tombs of the most aristocratic families."
"There are many..." is wrong"
Because they didn't use "multa" here (many, a lot), But "plurima", meaning it's a superlative for multa.
plurima > multa.
Plurima is even more multa than multa, so even more "many" than "many".
It's a very large quantity (plurima), not only a large quantity (multa).
Is it truly superlative, as in the most? Does "Plurima sepulchra Romae sunt" mean "Rome has the most graves", or "Most graves are in Rome", or does it just mean "There are very many graves in Rome".
I find it strange that the course requires the use of 'very', given that it has more or less no lexical meaning. Mark Twain once wrote that you should replace every instance of very in your writing with damn, and if it doesn't seem right then it should be removed. Does "Plurima sepulchra Romae sunt" mean, "There are damned many graves in Rome"?
They were buried on the Campus Martius, which is now part of Rome, but then, was outside the pomerium, so not officially part of the city.
This is also why legions were permitted to camp on that ground - legions were not supposed to be inside the city of Rome when under arms.
It's not good, because you would need a word to say "less than a plethora". Plethora is a lot, but a superlative for nothing.
Here, you need a word and its superlative, the same way faster is the superlative for fast.
Here, plurima, is even more "multa" than "multa is"
Like faster is even more fast than fast.
It is why they used "very" with many, to mean "even more many than many".
But every expressions that would oppose a word, and a word even greater, will do.
If we're looking for a superlative, "very many" doesn't work in English, although I've heard it used to mean "a great number of." You can easily have more than "very many," as in this sentence: "Very many people died of the plague in this village, but even more died in that village."
You're right. "The greatest number" is a possible translation for the superlative plurimus.
(It's relevant that Latin superlatives translated both "the absolutely highest/greatest" meaning, and "very high, to a considerable extent," which is rather different.
In other words, the superlative celerrimus meant either "fastest" or "very fast, extremely fast, quite fast." )
"'very many' sounds unnatural"
How so? "A great many / a good many / very many" are all phrases meaning "a very large number (of)" -- and none of them sounds unnatural to me.
Most of the young men went off to the war, and a great many never came back. Although it all happened a good many years ago, very many people still remember that fact.
Isn't the "very" an excess of literal translation? Nobody would say "very many" in English. If this is necessary, for instance, to try to teach a "more than many" world, is still not OK to force it this way. If the literal translation is weird, a good translation would rather try to mean the same in a normal way, instead of to making fit one language by disrupting the other language's nature.
A great many is also accepted. I do say very many, but still, (so not nobody). It is necessary to distinguish it from multus -a -um. If the words meant the same thing, then we wouldn't have included them just to confuse you.
Multus -a -um: Many
Plurimus -a -um: Very many, a great many, the greatest number
It's not a superlative. According to your definition, "four" would be a superlative to "three" and "five" would be a superlative to "four." "Many" doesn't have a superlative because it isn't a comparative. There can be only one superlative matching a comparative. Examples include more/most, greater/greatest, dumber/dumbest, etc. "Many" is neither a comparative nor a superlative, nor is "very." "Very many" is a very poor way to translate anything into English. I'm tempted to call it the poorest. But that would be hyperbole - also an actual superlative. Please, ditch "very many." You're reinforcing awful "English" to people who are probably trying to improve it by learning Latin
No, because sepulchra is a neuter plural 2nd declension noun (a singular tomb is a sepulchrum ). For this noun, the -a ending is plural (nominative/accusative case). It's not the type of noun (like vīlla or puella) that uses -a for singular nominative and -ae for plural nominative (1st decl. noun).
wouldn't "most" be a superlative form rather than a "very many" or more-than-many amount as it is pretended for us to translate?
Because If it is not superlative, it could be better translated as "really many graves" or "a lot of graves" or "lots of grave" or such phrases.
I guess "plurima" is like a higher degree of many, but not a superlative or majority, like "most" or "the most".