Accipiter v Accipiter

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Accipiter v Accipiter
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 20:57:38 +1000
In the interests of relevance, perhaps the erudite members of group might like to open a discussion of the Latin and Greek roots of ornithological discourse ...

On 09/06/2009, at 8:43 PM, Scot Mcphee wrote:

I just want to add that this habit for the abbreviation of Latin terms is not an English phenomenon at all either. Its usage dates from classical Latin itself, particularly that found in monumental epigraphy. A typical inscription that you might find on an altar for example as this one found at Maryport:


In Latin, this is "Iupitter Optimus Maximus Cohors Primae Hispanorum Equitata Cui Praeest Lucius Antistius Lucius Filius Quirina Lupus Verianus Praefectus Domu Sicca Ex Africa", or in English: "To Jupiter Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Spaniards, part- mounted, under the command of the Prefect Lucius Antistius Lupus Verianus, son of Lucius, of the Quirine voting tribe, from Sicca in Africa (set this up)". (set this up) is meant but not written even in the Latin.

The Roman god "Jupiter", is nearly always written on inscriptions as "I O M" or Iupitter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter Best and Greatest).

Many other common forms abound, also at the end of a dedication one might have written V S L M or "Votum Soluit Libens Merito" or to translate, "willingly and deservedly fulfilled his vow".

Coinage also follows this sort of use, e.g. "IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P" or "Imperator Caesar Nervae Trajano Augustus Germanicus Dacius Pontifex Maximus Tribinicia Potestas Consul V Pater Patriae" or translated "Emperor Caesar Nerva Trajan Augustus Germanicus Dacius, Chief Priest, Tribunican Power (for life), Consul Five Times, Father of the Fatherland". (Germanicus Dacius are names given to him to indicate he conquered, or won battles against the Germans and the Dacians).

Last, the Romans would usually never write their first name either. G. Iulius Caesar is Gaius Julius Caesar, conquerer of Gaul and murdered dictator-for-life. There are a whole bunch of standard abbreviations e.g. L==Lucius, Gn==Gnaeus, M==Marcus and so on.

On 09/06/2009, at 18:02 , Paul Dodd wrote:

For a little bit of fun I thought I'd contribute to this debate...

Initially I thought that the distinction between "v" and "vs" as
abbreviations was that legal practitioners tended to use "v" and
sportspeople and others used "vs". Checking through the various documents from solicitors in the various cases that I've been involved in over the years (as a business owner, not a criminal!), in cases where my company has been the plaintiff, the documents are addressed as ...... (plaintiff) v. ...... (defendant) - where v. is the abbreviation for "versus", obviously. Curiously when my company is the defendant, the documents are addressed as
...... (defendant) a.t.s. ...... (plaintiff) - where a.t.s. is an
abbreviation of "at the suit of" - an English expression!

I then searched my mind for the Latin that I learnt at school many years ago. And in almost every case the common convention for the abbreviation of Latin expressions is the initial letter of each word followed by a period.
For example:

e.g. exempli gratia (for example)
i.e. id est (that is)
q.e.d quod erat demonstrandum (which was to be shown or demonstrated)
A.D. Anno Domini (in the Year of the Lord)

Modern usage tends to omit the periods between the letters, and often the
period at the end.

So what about "etc"? This is actually a concatenation of a Latin word "et"
(meaning "and") and the abbreviation for another Latin word "cetera"
(meaning "other unspecified things"). Over the years "et" and "c." have
merged into "etc." or "etc".

For the religious Christian-minded, another well-known Latin abbreviation is "INRI" - Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the
Jews). Curiously, this phrase is often written without periods.

Other Latin phrases are used today without abbreviation including "ad hoc",
"ab initio", "ad infinitum", "annus horribilis", and so on.

The only odd phrase I could find was "ad lib", which is a shortened form of "ad libitum" (at one's pleasure). A little more research indicated this
phrase was always "ad libitum" until either 1919 or 1925 in America,
depending on the reference one believes, when the phrase "adlib" was coined,
as one word.

So, in short, the "proper" abbreviation of "versus" is "v." with "vs" being
a much more recent adoption.

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Rob Geraghty
Sent: Tuesday, 9 June 2009 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Accipiter v Accipiter

Just a point of pedantry not related to birding - can anyone tell me when it
became common to concatenate "versus" to "v" rather than "vs"?  I am
guessing it's something advertisers began to make headlines narrower, a bit like the new habit of leaving out the words "hundred" and "thousand" in
advertising to make 17,990 sound smaller.

This is not a criticism of anyone on the list. I'm honestly curious if
anyone noticed when this use of "v" began.


PS Ob-birding: miserable weekend for birding in Canberra. Cold, windy, and
the birds had very sensibly looked elsewhere for shelter. :(
Rob Geraghty


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