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How did Romans greet and say goodbye?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Statue of Octavian of Prima Porta
Statue of Octavian from Prima Porta

If you want to say hello in ancient Rome, it would be enough to say Salvē (in case of one recipient) or Salvēte, if we would welcome a larger group of people. Naturally, you could also use the word Avē. Avē and Salvē can simply be translated as “Hi”.

If for a change, we would like to say goodbye, we could just say Vale to one person or Valete if there were more recipients.

If we want to pronounce words – in regards to pronuntiatio restituta – as the Romans spoke, letter “v” we should read “w”. So:

  • Avē – Awe
  • Salvē – Salwe
  • Salvēte – Salwete
  • Valē – Wale
  • Valēte – Walete

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