Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date



The Romans of the Classical Era (circa 100 B.C.E. to 15 C.E.) had a social, religious, and legal structure that was vastly different from that of modern Western societies. On account of this difference and especially due to the influence of the Christian religion, many Roman concepts have been misunderstood and mistranslated. This thesis analyzes the Latin word pius along with its nominal and adverbial derivatives in ancient literature to try to understand how the concept actually worked in Roman cognition. Perhaps due to the fact that words like pity,' 'pious,' and 'piety' all derive from pius, the way it is translated into English often reflects less an understanding of how the Romans used it and more and understanding of the way in which Christians used it. The poets Catullus and Vergil and the historian Livy are the chief sources for this analysis.


Classics, Classical Studies, Linguistics, Semantics, Latin, Italic, Indo-European, Livy, Catullus, Vergil, Virgil

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Cyrino, Monica

First Committee Member (Chair)

Garcia, Lorenzo

Second Committee Member

Ivanova-Sullivan, Tanya