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spurius ex orichalco

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13:59 Mar 31, 2008
Latin to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting / inscription/statue
Latin term or phrase: spurius ex orichalco
This is an inscription on a statue of a baby sitting on a globe, which was one of three identical statues given to people involved in the "butter-box babies" case in Canada in the 1940s.
xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 02:00
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Summary of answers provided
5 +1a fake (made) from mountain-copper
Joseph Brazauskas
3literally: illegitimate (child) made of/from brass
Veronika McLaren
3brass copy / falseLeonardo Marcello Pignataro
2orichalcum child
sophieb


  

Answers


20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
orichalcum child


Explanation:
spurius = illegitimate child
http://membres.lycos.fr/hbarnich/debut.htm



sophieb
France
Local time: 07:00
Native speaker of: French
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Asker: Thanks

Asker: thanks

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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
brass copy / false


Explanation:
Since "spurius" means also "fake / false". it may mean it's a brass copy of the original statue.

Leonardo Marcello Pignataro
Local time: 07:00
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian
PRO pts in category: 4
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a fake (made) from mountain-copper


Explanation:
'Orichalcus', sometimes misspelt 'aurichalcum' from a false etymological association with Latin 'aurum', 'gold', derives from Greek 'oreikkalkos' and means (1) copper mined in the mountains, (2) any yellow copper ore, or (3) brass made from this ore. There was also another variety, called 'album' or 'white' by Virgil (Aeneis, 12.87) and described by Theopompus (Historiai, 1c9) as a blend of 'pseudargyros' ('fake silver') and 'chalkos' ('copper'). Plautus (Curculio, 1.3.46, Miles Gloriosus, 3.1.61, Pseudolus, 2.3.22) and Pliny the Elder (34.2.2 § 4) inform us that it was a substance greatly prized by the ancients. It was used by the Romans to make such things as valuable armaments (Statius, Thebais, 10.660) and even a (military) tuba (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, 3.61). Callimachus (Lavatio Palladis, 19) mentions a mirror made out of it.

'Spurius', which is used substantively, not adjectivally, properly means 'bastard, illegitimate child' but is here metaphorically employed of any fake or fraud passed off as something genuine.


Joseph Brazauskas
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 16
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Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ewa Kondracka
38 days
  -> Thank you.
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
literally: illegitimate (child) made of/from brass


Explanation:
Perhaps an allusion to the fact that brass is not a pure metal?

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Note added at 1 day4 hrs (2008-04-01 18:53:37 GMT)
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The statue must be rare as no image can be found. Lots of references to butterbox babies but none referring to the above inscription.

Veronika McLaren
Local time: 01:00
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
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