Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Quint.].
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1.5.52 Some phrases have all the appearance of a solecism and yet cannot be called faulty; take for instance phrases such as tragoedia Thyestes or ludi Floralia and MegalensiaWhere strict grammar would require tragoedia Thyestis, ludi Florales, Megalenses. The normal usage would be simply to say Thyestes, Floralia, Megalensia.: although these are never found in later times, they are the rule in ancient writers. We will therefore style them figures and, though their use is more frequent in poets, will not deny their employment even to orators. 1.5.53 Figures however will generally have some justification, as I shall show in a later portion of this work, which I promised you a little while back.I. iv. 24. The promise is fulfilled in Book IX. I must however point out that a figure, if used unwittingly, will be a solecism. 1.5.54 In the same class, though they cannot be called figures, come errors such as the use of masculine names with a female termination and feminine names with a neuter termination. I have said enough about solecisms; for I did not set out to write a treatise on grammar, but was unwilling to slight the science by passing it by without salutation, when it met me in the course of my journey.

1.5.55 I therefore resume the path which I prescribed for myself and point out that words are either

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native or foreign. Foreign words, like our population and our institutions, have come to us from practically every nation upon earth. 1.5.56 I pass by words of Tuscan, Sabine and Praenestine origin; for though Lucilius attacks Vettius for using them, and Pollio reproves Livy for his lapses into the dialect of Padua, I may be allowed to regard all such words as of native origin. Many Gallic words have become current coin, 1.5.57 such as raeda (chariot) and petorritim (four-wheeled wagon) of which Cicero uses the former and Horace the latter. Mappa (napkin) again, a word familiar in connexion with the circus, is claimed by the Carthaginians, while I have heard that gurdus, which is colloquially used in the sense of stupid, is derived from Spain. 1.5.58 But this distinction between native and foreign words has reference chiefly to Greek. For Latin is largely derived from that language, and we use words which are admittedly Greek to express things for which we have no Latin equivalent. Similiarly they at tines borrow words from us. In this connexion the problem arises whether foreign words should be declined according to their language or our own. 1.5.59 If you come across an archaistic grammarian, he will insist on absolute conformity to Latin practice, because, since we have an ablative and the Greeks have not, it would be absurd in declining a word to use five Greek cases and one Latin. 1.5.60 He will also praise the patriotism of those who aimed at strengthening the Latin language and asserted that we had no need of foreign practices. They, therefore, pronounced Castorem with the second syllable long to bring it into conformity with all those Latin nouns which have the same termination in the nominative as

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Castor. They also insisted on the forms Palaemo, Telamo, and Plato (the last being adopted by Cicero), because they could not find any Latin nouns ending in -on. 1.5.61 They were reluctant even to permit masculine Greek nouns to end in -as in the nominative case, and consequently in Caelius we find Pelia cincinnatus and in Messala bene fecit Euthia, and in Cicero Hermagora.This form does not actually occur in Cicero, MSS. evidently wrongly giving Hermagaras. So we need not be surprised that the majority of early writers said Aenea and Anchisa. 1.5.62 For, it was urged, if such words are spelt like Maecenas, Sufenas and Asprenas, the genitive should terminate in -is not in -e. On the same principle they placed an acute accent on the middle syllable of Olympus and tyrannus, because Latin does not allow an acute accent on the first syllable if it is short and is followed by two long syllables. 1.5.63 So too we get the Latinised genitives Ulixi and Achilli together with many other analogous forms. More recent scholars have instituted the practice of giving Greek nouns their Greek declension, although this is not always possible. Personally I prefer to follow the Latin method, so far as grace of diction will permit. For I should not like to say Calypsonem on the analogy of Iunonem, although Gaius Caesar in deference to antiquity does adopt this way of declining it. Current practice has however prevailed over his authority. 1.5.64 In other words which can be declined in either way without impropriety, those who prefer it can employ the Greek form: they will not be speaking Latin, but will not on the other hand deserve censure.

Simple words are what they are in the nominative, that is, their essential nature.



Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Quint.].
<<Quint. 1.5.44 Quint. 1.5.58 (Latin) >>Quint. 1.5.68

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