Latin for e-mail

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In keeping with mos maiorum we, the citizens of Nova Roma, seek to use as much Latin in our various communications as possible. Being a global community, we will often use e-mail or mailing lists to communicate with each other.

This page is a guide for new citizens and beginners, to aid you along your path to Romanitas. Below is a basic framework for using Latin throughout various written communication mediums to help you better assimilate and become a true Roman!

Latin Layout

To aid you in understanding how Latin changes the format of a letter, we will use the example of Agricola, writing a letter (or e-mail) to Cordus.

A typical letter in English looks like this: Latin style changes the format slightly: A similar letter all in Latin looks like this:
Dear Cordus,

Keep practicing your Latin.

Sincerely, Agricola

Agricola sends greetings to Cordus,

Keep practicing your Latin.

Take care!

Agricola Cordo sal.

Latine semper exerceas.


The big difference is that the sender's name goes at the top of the letter, not at the bottom. It is still acceptable to follow the familiar conventions and also include the sender's name on the bottom, but the way shown above is more "authentic".

Of course, just like in English, there are several ways to write a letter or message to someone - some formal and others less so. Read on below to explore various Latin methods, starting with more colloquial, less formal approaches.

Initial Greetings

The words and phrases that Latin uses usually have meanings of "sends a greeting" or "be well!". Several Latin phrases and examples have been prepared below which you can use depending on the circumstance or context of your letter, e-mail or message.


This greeting uses a Latin verb that means "to be well".

  • If you are writing to exactly one person, use "Salve!" (the imperative singular).
  • If you are writing to more than one person, use "Salvete!" (the imperative plural).

(Grammar note: "Imperative" means the form of the verb that gives a command. You are making a command that your reader(s) be well! Very Roman of you.)

Hello Cordus!

Main article: Vocative

When we address someone directly by name, we use the form of the name called the "vocative". Here are the basic rules for making a vocative:

  • If a name ends in "-ius", then the vocative ends in "-i". For example, "Tullius" becomes "Tulli".
  • If a name ends in "-us", then the vocative ends in "-e". For example, "Marcus" becomes "Marce".
  • All other names do not change at all. Examples include: "Felix" stays "Felix", "Fabia" stays "Fabia", and so on.

It is the general convention that you address someone by their cognomen (the last part of the name). Women were often called by their nomen (middle name) alone.

Here are some more examples:

  • To say hello to Marcus Lucretius Agricola you would write "Salve, Agricola!".
  • To say hello to Aulus Apollonius Cordus you would write "Salve, Corde!".
  • To say hello to Gaius Equitius Cato you would write "Salve, Cato!".

Roman tradition dictates that you should never refer to someone by their praenomen (first name). The use of the praenomen was reserved for among family members or very close friends and they were never used in a public forum. Examples of the use of praenomen in this situation would look like:

  • "Salve, Marce!"
  • "Salve, Aule!"
  • "Salve, Gai!"

It is recommended you read more on how to address fellow citizens in our article on using Roman names.

Hello Everyone!

You need to use plurals: "Salvete omnes!"

(Grammar note: "Salvete!" is the plural of "Salve!" and "omnes" is the plural of "omnis", meaning "all" or "every".)

Agricola sends greetings to Cordus

Main article: Dative

The hard part here is how to write "to Cordus". In Latin, we do not use a word for "to" in this context. Instead, we change the end of the name in a way that denotes that they are receiving the greeting.

This form of the name, or any noun, is called the "dative case".) Here are some basic rules how to make the dative:

  • Names ending in -us: Lentul-us -> Lentul-o
  • Names ending in -a: Tulli-a -> Tulli-ae
  • Names ending in -o: Cat-o -> Cato-oni

Here are some full names in the dative case for example:

  • Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus -> Gnaeo Cornelio Lentulo
  • Aula Tullia Scholastica -> Aulae Tulliae Scholasticae
  • Gaius Equitius Cato -> Gaio Equitio Catoni

There are some names that don't fit these patterns. You will have to learn more Latin to grasp the unusual cases. Or you can simply ask the Roman in question; they'll know.

"Sends greetings" is a simple phrase "salutem dicit" but the Romans nearly always abbreviated it as "s. d." or "sal." See Example 2 below for a sample.

On a mailing list you might say hello to everyone, as we show below in Example 3.

(Grammar note: "omnibus" means "to everyone". )

(Grammar note: In this example, "valete" is plural because "Omnibus" is plural. Agricola sent greetings to "all" and so said goodbye in the plural.)

Agricola sends greetings to Cordus and Everyone

If you want to send to, or reply to a message by, one person, but you also want to greet everyone else who is reading, you could write it like Example 4.

(Grammar note: In this example, the "-que" on the end of "omnibusque" means "and".)

Agricola sends many greetings to Cordus

"Salutem plurimam dicit", means "says many greetings". You can write it out, but "S.P.D." is a common acronym. Example: "Agricola Cordo S.P.D."

I really hope you're well

"Si vales, bene est, ego valeo" literally means "If you are sound, that is well; I'm sound". The common usage of this phrase is in the abbreviated form, "S.V.B.E.E.V." You can write this in addition to saying hello: “Agricola Cordo S.P.D. S.V.B.E.E.V.

Closing salutations

Latin has its own customs for closing a letter or message. Below are the most common ones you will encounter that you can use.


If you start with "Salve!" or "Salvete!" you can end with "Vale!" or "Valete!". The meaning is still "be well!" Can you see which is singular and which is plural?

Example 1 is a friendly, informal letter from M. Lucretius Agricola to A. Apollonius Cordus.

  • To say "be very well" you could use "Bene vale!".
  • To say "be most well" you could use "Optime vale!".

(Grammar note: "bene" and "optime" are adverbs.)

A more elegant and formal way to say goodbye is to use the expression "Cura, ut valeas!" which means "Take care that you be well." In plural it will become "Curate, ut valeatis!".

May the gods keep you safe

This is a nice way to end a formal letter, instead of the simple "Vale!" or "Valete!" "Di te incolumem custodiant!" is singular and "Di vos incolumes custodiant!" is plural. It means "may the Gods guard your safety".


Example 1
Simple Hello and Goodbye.
Example 2
Hello and Goodbye, Roman style.
Example 3
Hello to Everyone.
Example 4
Hello to one person and everyone.
Salve Corde!

Blah blah blah

Vale! Agricola

Agricola Cordo sal.

Blah blah blah.


Agricola omnibus sal.

Blah blah blah.


Agricola Cordo omnibusque sal.

Blah blah blah.


More Examples

An example The same example with everything spelled out.
Agricola Cordo S.P.D.


I see that a new legio was just created. I'm not sure how many legiones Nova Roma has now... do you know?

Di te incolumem custodiant!

Agricola Cordo salutem plurimam dicit.

Si vales, bene est, ego valeo.

I see that a new legio was just created. I'm not sure how many legiones Nova Roma has now... do you know?

Cura, ut valeas!

An example with everything spelled out and in the plural.
M. Lucretius Agricola omnibus salutem plurimam dicit.

Si valetis, bene est, ego valeo.

I hope all New Romans will learn about Academia Thules and Sodalitas Latinitatis, two excellent places to learn more Latin. You can learn more about them on the Nova Roma website at .

Di vos incolumes custodiant!

Difficult names

Finally, here are a few of those troublesome names with difficult datives:

-R changes to -RI:

  • Astur -> Asturi
  • Caesar -> Caesari

-O changes to -ONI:

  • Cato -> Catoni
  • Cicero -> Ciceroni

-X changes to -CI:

  • Felix -> Felici
  • Velox -> Veloci

-NS changes to -NTI:

  • Audens -> Audenti
  • Prudens -> Prudenti

Latin words

There are many Latin words you're likely to see and are frequently used in our communities. This can't be a complete Latin glossary, so keeping a dictionary by the computer is a good idea. See Reading list for lingua Latina for suggestions on Latin dictionaries. See Online resources for Latin for online dictionaries. Study our articles about Latin grammar, declensions and Latin language, visit our short Latin phrasebook.

  • "Gens" means "clan" (plural "gentes").
  • "Legio" means "legion" (plural "legiones") (as in "Roman Legion"; soldiers).
  • "Civis" means "citizen" (plural "cives")
  • "Lex" means "law" (plural "leges")
  • "Edictum" means "edict" (plural "edicta")

The names of magistracies are usually in Latin. Sometimes the singular form seems familiar but the plural is not what would be expected in English. To learn more about Latin plurals, read this article.

You could use these forms when writing to the office holders.

Nominative singular Dative singular Nominative plural Dative plural
Consul Consuli Consules Consulibus
Censor Censori Censores Censoribus
Quaestor Quaestori Quaestores Quaestoribus
Praetor Praetori Praetores Praetoribus

Example: Marcus Tullius Cicero would start a letter to the censores thus: M. Tullius Cicero censoribus S.P.D.

Computer Terms

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