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  5. "Milites prandia sana emunt."

"Milites prandia sana emunt."

Translation:The soldiers buy healthy lunches.

September 5, 2019



"Healthy lunches" makes me think of the lunches themselves running about, doing press-ups and eating lots of kale and vitamins.


I guess a cow is a healthy lunch


Or at least would have been in ancient Roman times.

  • 1929

Was "sanus" really used like this to describe things that deliver good health (i.e. the way the English word "healthful" is more properly used today)?


Sanus, sana, was everything that had a healthy body, and not only the body, but also the soul of the mind, like in:

Mens sana in corpore sano

But I also think that it's maybe an extension of the meaning of the word, to call "healthy" something that make you healthy. In the very literal meaning, the food can't be healthy, only a body or a mind can be. (unless a healthy apple is the one that is not rotten).

If we could prove that something that is not living can be "sanus" in Latin, it will deny this theory, otherwise, it will prove it.

If it was proved, another word must exist to call something that bring good health to someone. And I would like to know this word, instead of the construction given in the exercise.


I think it's the 3rd decl. adj. saluber/salubris, salubris, salubre (the masc. nom. sing. comes in 2 varieties), meaning "conducive to a healthy condition, salubrious; beneficial to health, healthy." It can also be used of the body ("healthy, in good condition"). [I'm quoting the Oxford Latin Dictionary here.] .

Here's a salient example: Tibullus speaks of "curing worries" (curas sanare) "with salubrious grasses" (salubribus herbis). The citation is to Tib. 2. 3. 13.


Thank you! I will try to use "saluber" instead of "sanus" and to report if they don't accept it.

It gave "salubre" in French, and "salubrious" in English.

EDIT: Someone made a thread here:


I believe I've seen cibus sanus (healthy food) before, but I'll have to look for a reference.

And I wouldn't say healthful is more properly used for this. Healthy has a wider definition than it once did.


It's quite proper to speak of kale being a healthy food.


Yes, the problem is not about the use of "healthy" in English, but the use of "sanus" to mean healthy.


I think this is a fair question. "Healthy" certainly has a broader range of meaning now (no arguments there, kale is a healthy food), but a major part of speaking another language is learning their idiomatic way of saying things. That's the difference between translation by decoding, and learning to speak the other language itself. If you don't learn the Spanish or Portuguese idioms, you'll look fairly foolish trying to speak the language, and you'll look fairly arrogant saying you're speaking it correctly (when you're... not.) It might be difficult because there's a lot of latin to search through (even without medieval latin). I for one wouldn't mind finding whatever common idiom expresses this same idea (a lunch that is good and healthy). Maybe something within the range of "Salus, salutis, f" fits better idiomatically?


English also uses "healthy" to mean things that deliver good health.


I agree with all of the comments to the effect that "healthy" is being misused in the Latin here as it is in modern English. I think the correct usage should be something similar to the English "salubrious" -- bringing + health = "healthful". I think the correct Latin is actually "salubris". See references below. So the sentence should read "Milites prandia salubria emunt" (salubria = neuter plural accusative case II declension)

[https://wordsmith.org/words/salubrious.html , https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salubrious , https://www.etymonline.com/word/salubrious , https://www.dictionary.com/browse/salubrious , https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=24886]


I agree; I found a quotation from Tibullus (in the OLD) that I cited above.


Are you sure that this use of "emunt" is proper Latin? I ask because in the Romance languages that I know, you don't "buy" a lunch (or a dinner or a breakfast). You can buy the food to cook a lunch, or yoy can pay for a lunch, if it is already prepared, in a restaurant or something, but you don't "buy" a lunch.


You can absolutely buy a meal in Spanish and Portuguese.

Here is just one example.


There's nothing improper about buying a meal in Romance languages, so I have no reason to believe the Latin is wrong either.


Well, at least in Spain, where I was born and I live, "voy a comprar la cena" (I am going to buy the dinner) can mean 1) I am going to buy the things that I need to prepare the dinner or 2) I am going to a place where they sell prepared meals, like in your example, some kind of take-away shop, and I going to pick up the prepared meal and bring it home, where I'll eat it. Considering the context (a Roman soldier) I think none of them is very likely. When it comes to a Roman soldier, I guess that the most likely assumption is that he is going to some kind of "taberna" to pay for a meal in order to eat it there (the equivalent of a modern-day restaurant or pub). Hence my doubt. In Spanish (and I think it is pretty much the same in Catalan, French or Italian) you don't say "to buy the dinner" if you're going to eat it in the same place where they sell it.


On a side note, English has a tendency to use "buy" with food and drink in cases where most Romance languages don't use it. For instance, it is pretty usual to say in English "I'll buy you a drink" meaning that you want to pay for the drink someone else is having in a pub or bar, etc. In this situation, you cannot say in Spanish "Te compro una copa", that's totally weird. In this case, you would say "Te invito a una copa".


I don't think it's specific to the English language, and totally absent of Roman languages.

In French, you can say "Je te paye un verre". It's common. Or "Je te paye à boire". Or "Je t'offre un verre/à boire". (This later is really used when trying to seduce a lady)

For a meal, you can say "Je t'offre le/un resto", meaning you invite someone, (but rather in an informal way).

Je me suis payé(e) un repas. (when I buy something to eat, for myself).


Yes, of course you can say that. But I wasn't talking about those verbs: I was talking exclusively about the verb 'to buy' and its equivalents in the Romance languages (comprar, comprare, acheter, cumpăra, etc.), not about "to pay" or "to offer". In Spanish you can say as well: Te pago esta copa. However, the use of "ofrecer" is not the same as the French "offrir", they have a slightly different meaning and they are used in different ways.



I was talking exclusively about the verb 'to > buy' and its equivalents in the Romance languages (comprar, comprare, acheter, cumpăra, etc.),

I understand what you mean now, and it's not only in the Romance language.

Acheter and Payer, in French, means the same. But we don't say "Je t'achète un repas", the only reason is because "acheter" is not used like this in French, not because of "repas". You can only "acheter" material things, and payer (pay for) immaterial things. When I say "immaterial", of course, a meal is something made of material things, but it's a concept.

Je t'achète une poupée
I buy a doll for you

Je te paye le ciné.
I pay the cine for you

There are also differences in English between to buy and to pay...

I don't know if Emere is also to pay something that is less material, I've found examples of its use only with the meaning "buying material things", except its other meaning: "to bribe someone"
(in French it would be "acheter" someone because when you "paye" someone, it means a salary for a work.)

So, I don't know, we would need examples from Latin texts.


Acheter and payer mean the same in French? Sorry, but I don't think so:

  • Je paie 600 euro par mois pour cet appartement // *J'achète 600 euros par mois pour cet appartement

  • Il m'a payé en espèce // * Il m'a acheté en espèce

  • Les salariés de cette entreprise sont bien payés / *Les salariés de cette entreprise sont bien achetés


Agree! As far as I know, in italian you'd say "ti offro una bevanda"


I'm brazillian, and I can safely say to you that it is Extremely common in portuguese to say "buy the lunch" or "buy the dinner". We usually meam that we are buying a small pack of it already prepared (marmitex, as we call it).


That's exactly what I said: in Spanish "comprar la comida" o "comprar la cena" means to buy something already prepared in order to take it home and eat it there. I don't think it is the most likely context for a Roman soldier... Of course, I am not saying that Latin should work the same way than modern-day Spanish.


"comprar la comida" o "comprar la cena" means to > buy something already prepared in order to take it > home and eat it there.

In French, that's not the case. Acheter de quoi préparer un repas, the sentence needs to be longer.

Maybe, in Latin, it means the same thing than in Spanish, buying things to prepare the meal, as there were no takeaway restaurants or fastfood at that time.


I wholeheartedly agree; I've given a comment below that also argues on the basis of logic, rather than analogy to modern languages who do it right.


what case - 'prandia' and 'sana'?


They are accusative, the direct object of "emunt": WHAT they buy are "healthy lunches."

The deal is that the noun lunch is neuter (prandium, -i, n.); therefore, in the plural, both the nomin. and accus. forms end in -a:

The lunches are healthy. Prandia sunt sana. They buy healthy lunches. Prandia sana emunt.

(The thing about neuters is, they don't make a distinction between nominative and accusative. Kind of like the English word "it", as opposed to the masculine HE vs. HIM, the feminine SHE vs. HER: It pleases me (nomin.); I like it (accus.).


Why can it not be meal, as prandium can also be a second breakfast, which is not the same as lunch? Lunch is cena


Did you report meal? Cena is the largest meal and is usually translated as dinner, since it is usually the largest meal for English speakers.


I got this wrong because I made sana part of the subject which it should be because sana ends in -a which is Nominative which is the subject.


Prandia sana is not nominative.

Prandium is a neuter 2nd declension. All neuters have identical nominative and accusative, both singular and plural.

This is accusative plural.


Ah yes, Duolingo hasn't taught me about Neuters, or cases in general. Could you guys add that?


No, because not every -a is a nominative -a!!

THE SOLDIERS are nominative in this sentence, because they are the ones who 'buy' something. (Mīlitēs : a 3rd declension nominative plural, of a masc. noun)

WHAT they buy are the "healthy lunches" (whether or not the adjective sāna can really be used this way): these are accusative plural neuter, prandia sāna .

It so happens that this particular -a ending (for a neuter plural noun) can also be nominative when used in a sentence like:

Prandia sāna mīlitibus placent , "The healthy lunches please the soldiers" (i.e., the soldiers like the lunches).

If the only nouns one has learned (so far) are the 1st declension nouns like puella, pictūra, vīlla, aqua, silva (which are all feminine) or nauta, agricola, pīrāta (which are masculine), one might indeed think that the ending -a 'had' to be a nominative.

We need to distinguish the plural -a ending, which occurs only on neuter nouns when they're in the nominative / accusative plural, from the 1st declension singular nominative -a (and the singular ablative -ā).


I just want to know how the uneducated roman made all of these distinctions back then.

Or were declensions a common topic discussed over meals and drinks in taverns


But there are still languages today that have several cases of (individual) nouns, and several declensions of nouns, in operation. Russian and other Slavic languages, for example.

Although English may no longer have "declensions" and "cases" (except in some pronoun forms), we have very fixed 'rules' governing the placement of words; presumably, English speakers learn, in infancy, the 'rules' for placement of words and phrases in sentences, just as the speaker of an inflected language learns (without any study!) what forms of the noun to use, to convey specific meanings.

Language has the complexity it needs, in one form or another.

Since we don't have time to learn Latin as a native tongue, nor do we have the native speakers to learn it from ! , we are asking ourselves to do something rather difficult: to learn a system of reading and producing language rapidly and 'analytically.'

Infant Romans weren't studying declension tables before they could talk.

(And actually, I think the Roman empire achieved rather a high standard of literacy, which is a completely different thing from speaking one's native tongue.)


in my opinion ?healty lunches' are the object of the sentence Should it non be translated with 'prandias sanas'?


Yes, they are the object; but not every object ends in the letters -ās!

The noun "lunch" (prandium) is a neuter noun of the 2nd declension (it's listed in dictionaries as prandium, -ī, n.). This type of noun makes its plural, in both nominative and accusative cases, with the ending -a.

So, prandia sāna is the object of the verb here, in the accusative plural, with the ending -a, because the noun is of the neuter gender.

(Only 1st declension nouns use the ending -ās for accusative plural. "We see the girls," for example: Puellās vidēmus .)

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