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  5. "Volumen primum longum est."

"Volumen primum longum est."

Translation:The first book is long.

September 4, 2019



What's the difference between volumen and liber?


Volumen is a scroll that's rolled sideways and made of papyrus (like the Torah) while liber is several volumina bound together as a long scroll.


"Liber" can also mean chapters within a book.

Someone else beat me to this elsewhere, but back in Rome's heyday, they didn't have what we think of as books, bound on one side that fit neatly on a shelf. Rather, scrolls were the "book" of the day, and instead of nice, long shelves like we use nowadays, they would store them in cubbies which were highly inefficient.

Books as we know them started out as codexes (codices?) Which would generally be a bunch of papers bound on one edge and protected with a wood or leather cover. These were popularized by early Christians as they made for easy use in reference and travel. And nice, neat libraries, with satisfying efficiency.

"Volumen" is where we get "volume" from, generally denoting an individual book in a series, though we also use it pretty interchangably with "book."


Thanks for this information. So are we saying that "book" is technically an anachronism? Should there be an option to translate liber as scroll instead of just book?


What about "it is the first long book"?


It would be nominative, as a subject, but nominative and accusative have the same form here, in the exercise sentence!

I think:

Est volumen primum longum: There is a first long book, or "it is".

Volumen primum est longum (or longum est): The first book is long.

(I'm not sure at all)


Volumen is a neuter noun, therefore the adjectives that modify it have the nominative singular neuter ending, -um (since these are adjs. of the 1st/2nd declensions). (Longus and primus could describe a masc. sing. noun like liber, book; longa and prima could describe a femin. sing. noun like epistula, letter.)

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Verbs of state such as "esse/to be/ĂȘtre" do not take accusatives. The predicate is the subject complement. There is no action to receive.


I think your translation is wrong because "book" and "long" would have to be next to each other in the Latin sentence


Volumen primam longum est


(Can't be primam, since that's feminine and accusative and singular; with the verb "to be" (est = is), there won't be any accusative objects--only nominatives.)


Why "primam", feminine?


That was exactly my response as well. Would it be wrong if I said that?


What about "The long book is first"?


To me, the placement of the adjective right in front of "est" makes it a predicate adjective: "X is long."

So, try: Volumen longum primum est / Volumen longum est primum, for the meaning you want.


I had the right answer BUT CHANGED IT because I saw primum and longum with the UM endings. Is this stupid of me?

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