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This webpage reproduces an article in
Classical Philology
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan. 1909), pp82-83.

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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 p82  Some Classical Quotations from the Middle Ages

Manitius in making up his list of classical references (see Philologus, Nos. 47‑53 passim) has apparently neglected the literatures of the Scandinavian countries. I have noted a few Latin quotations from that field, assuming that they may prove to be of some interest in marking how far classical interests extended in the Middle Ages.

þioðrek Munk (Theodoricus Monachus), evidently a monk of Trondhjem, Norway, wrote in Latin a history of his native land about 1160 (see Langebek Script. Rer. Danicarum V, pp312-41). This man quotes several Latin writers, probably using books that were to be found in the monastery or in the cathedral of his native town. He uses the following passages of Lucan: 1.92, 93 (315 and again p323), 1.183 (p332, partly misquoted), 1.337 (p334), 1.666‑69 (p336), 7.552‑54 and 556 (p341), 7.812‑15 (p327). He also quotes Stat. Theb. 1.151 as belonging to Lucan.

From Horace he gets Epode 1.1 (p323) and Epist. 1.2.69, 70 (p338), the latter incorrectly and without naming the author. A quotation attributed to Vergil is identified by Suhm as coming from Proba's cento  p83 of Vergil (Lang., p336). Ovid Met. 1.128‑131 is introduced with the phrase: ut videatur notasse satyricus (p341).

Theodoricus also employs Pliny the Elder three times. He cites Plinius Secundus Naturalis historiae (scriptor) as a source of information regarding Charybdis (p325, the reference may be to N. H. 3.14). On p327 he quotes a sentence from the same work regarding the deterioration of the human race (see N. H. 7.16). Again (p334), in writing of Mithradates, he cites from Pliny: "De hoc Rege scribit Plinius secundus his verbis: Mithradates, inquit, rex Ponti, homo potentissimus et ditissimus annis XL bellum protraxit nobiscum variis eventibus, XXII gentium Rex totidem linguis jura dixit pro concione singulos sine interprete affatus." Here the writer is evidently using some intermediate source, for the end of the alleged quotation is all that is to be found in Pliny (see N. H. 25.3).

There is finally a reference to Plato reminiscent of some lines in the Timaeus (see Tim. 22C, and cf. Laws 677B): "Hanc vicissitudinem seculorum exustionis et eluvionis inducit Plato, dicens: expletis quindecim millibus annorum eas alternatim accidere, omneque humanum genus interire, praeter paucissimos qui aliquo casu evadant unde postea reparentur homines: hoc semper extitisse et semper futurum esse." In discussing this doctrine he uses, curiously enough, some Greek phrases, a bit of pedantry somewhat unusual for the remote region from which this work comes. I have not been able to find his immediate source.

The collection (Langebek) from which I have been quoting also contains some other documents which give proof of classical activities in the North. An Anonymus de Profectione in Terram Sanctam tells of a pilgrimage undertaken from Norway about 1190. The writer quotes Verg. Ecl. III.90, 91 in his preface (V, p342), and later (p347) reports a preacher as quoting Juvenal: juxta illud poeticum proverbium "quod non dant proceres dabit histrio" (cf. Sat. 7.90). Ovid Rem. am. 2 occurs in the Life of Gunner of Viborg (Lang. V. p579), and Ov. Trist. 9.5, 6 is slightly misquoted in a letter of Wilhelm the abbot (Lang. VI.74 about the year 1192). Anth. Lat. 256 (Riese) is quoted in the Encomium Emmae Reg. (II.492) in the form that Donatus' Vita Vergilii employs:

Nocte pluit tota redeunt spectacula mane

Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet.

The lines were frequently used in the Middle Ages (see Manitius, Phil. 51, p158 but not in this form. Our author attributes the distich to Vergil.

Tenney Frank

Bryn Mawr


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