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Book XII

This webpage reproduces a section of
Noctes Atticae (Attic Nights)

A. Cornelius Gellius

published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1927

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book XIV

(Vol. II) Gellius
Attic Nights

 p415  Book XIII

1 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A somewhat careful inquiry into these words of Marcus Tullius in his first Oration against Antony: "But many things seem to threaten contrary even to nature and to fate"; and a discussion of the question whether the words "fate" and "nature" mean the same thing or something different.

1 Marcus Cicero, in his first Oration against Antony,​1 has left us these words: "I hastened then to follow him whom those present did not follow; not that I might be of any service, for I had no hope of that nor could I promise it, but in order that if anything to which human nature is liable should happen to me (and many things seem to threaten contrary even to nature and contrary to fate) I might leave what I have said to‑day as a witness to my country of my constant devotion to its interests." 2 Cicero says "contrary to nature and contrary to fate." Whether he intended both words, "fate" and "nature," to have the same meaning and has used two words to designate one thing,​2 or whether he so divided and separated them that nature seems to bring some casualties and fate others, I think ought to be investigated; and this question ought especially to be asked — how is it that he has said that many things to which humanity is liable can happen contrary to fate, when the plan and order and a kind of unconquerable necessity of fate are so ordained that  p417 all things must be included within the decrees of fate; unless perhaps he has followed Homer's saying:

Lest, spite of fate, you enter Hades' home.​3

3 But there is no doubt that Cicero referred to a violent and sudden death, which may properly seem to happen contrary to nature.

4 But why he has put just that kind of death outside the decrees of fate it is not the part of this work to investigate, nor is this the time. 5 The point, however, must not be passed by, that Virgil too had that same opinion about fate which Cicero had, when in his fourth book he said of Elissa, who inflicted a violent death upon herself:4

For since she perished not by fate's decree,

Nor earned her death;

just as if, in making an end to life, those deaths which are violent do not seem to come by fate's decree. 6 Cicero, however, seems to have followed the words of Demosthenes, a man gifted with equal wisdom and eloquence, which express about the same idea concerning nature and fate. For Demosthenes in that splendid oration entitled On the Crown wrote as follows:​5 "He who thinks that he was born only for his parents, awaits the death appointed by fate, the natural death; but he who thinks that he was born also for his country, will be ready to die that he may not see his country enslaved." 7 What Cicero seems to have called "fate" and "nature," Demosthenes long before termed "fate" and "the natural death." 8 For "a natural death" is one which comes in the course of fate and nature, as it were, and is caused by no force from without.

 p419  2 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] About an intimate talk of the poets Pacuvius and Accius in the town of Tarentum.

1 Those who have had leisure and inclination to inquire into the life and times of learned men and hand them down to memory, have related the following anecdote of the tragic poets Marcus Pacuvius and Lucius Accius: 2 "Pacuvius," they say, "when already enfeebled by advanced age and constant bodily illness, had withdrawn from Rome to Tarentum. Then Accius, who was a much younger man, coming to Tarentum on his way to Asia, visited Pacuvius, and being hospitably received and detained by him for several days, at his request read from his tragedy entitled Atreus." 3 Then they say that Pacuvius remarked that what he had written seemed sonorous and full of dignity, but that nevertheless it appeared to him somewhat harsh and rugged. 4 "What you say is true," replied Accius, "and I do not greatly regret it; for it gives me hope that what I write hereafter will be better. 5 For they say it is with the mind as it is with fruits; those which are at first harsh and bitter, later become mild and sweet; but those which at once grow mellow and soft, and are juicy in the beginning, presently become, not ripe, but decayed. 6 Accordingly, it has seemed to me that something should be left in the products of the intellect for time and age to mellow."

 p421  3 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Whether the words necessitudo and necessitas differ from each other in meaning.

1 It is a circumstance decidedly calling for laughter and ridicule, when many grammarians assert that necessitudo and necessitas are unlike and different, in that necessitas is an urgent and compelling force, but necessitudo is a certain right and binding claim of consecrated intimacy, and that this is its only meaning. 2 But just as it makes no difference at all whether you say suavitudo or suavitas (sweetness), acerbitudo or acerbitas (bitterness), acritudo or acritas (sharpness), as Accius wrote in his Neoptolemus,​6 in the same way no reason can be assigned for separating necessitudo and necessitas. 3 Accordingly, in the books of the early writers you may often find necessitudo used of that which is necessary; 4 but necessitas certainly is seldom applied to the law and duty of respect and relation­ship, in spite of the fact that those who are united by that very law and duty of relation­ship and intimacy are called necessarii (kinsfolk). 5 However, in a speech of Gaius Caesar,​7 In Support of the Plautian Law, I found necessitas used for necessitudo, that is for the bond of relation­ship. His words are as follows:​8 "To me indeed it seems that, as our kinship (necessitas) demanded, I have failed neither in labour, in pains, nor in industry."

6 I have written this with regard to the lack of distinction  p423 between these two words as the result of reading the fourth book of the History of Sempronius Asellio, an early writer, in which he wrote as follows about Publius Africanus, the son of Paulus:​9 "For he had heard his father, Lucius Aemilius Paulus, say that a really able general never engaged in a pitched battle, unless the utmost necessity (necessitudo) demanded, or the most favourable opportunity offered."

4 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Copy of a letter of Alexander to his mother Olympias; and Olympias' witty reply.

1 In many of the records of Alexander's deeds, and not long ago in the book of Marcus Varro entitled Orestes or On Madness, I have read​10 that Olympias, the wife of Philip, wrote a very witty reply to her son Alexander. 2 For he had addressed his mother as follows: "King Alexander, son of Jupiter Hammon, greets his mother Olympias." Olympias replied to this effect: "Pray, my son," said she, "be silent, and do not slander me or accuse me before Juno; undoubtedly she will take cruel vengeance on me, if you admit in your letters that I am her husband's paramour." 3 This courteous reply of a wise and prudent woman to her arrogant son seemed to warn him in a mild and polite fashion to give up the foolish idea which he had formed from his great victories, from the flattery of his courtiers, and from his incredible success — that he was the son of Jupiter.

 p425  5 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] On the philosophers Aristotle, Theophrastus and Eudemus; and of the graceful tact of Aristotle in selecting a successor as head of his school.

1 The philosopher Aristotle, being already nearly sixty-two years of age, was sickly and weak of body and had slender hope of life. 2 Then the whole band of his disciples came to him, begging and entreating that he should himself choose a successor to his position and his office, to whom, as to himself, they might apply after his last day, to complete and perfect their knowledge of the studies into which he had initiated them. 3 There were at the time in his school many good men, but two were conspicuous, Theophrastus and Eudemus, who excelled the rest in talent and learning. The former was from the island of Lesbos, but Eudemus from Rhodes. 4 Aristotle replied that he would do what they asked, so soon as the opportunity came.

5 A little later, in the presence of the same men who had asked him to appoint a master, he said that the wine he was then drinking did not suit his health, but was unwholesome and harsh; that therefore they ought to look for a foreign wine, something either from Rhodes or from Lesbos. 6 He asked them to procure both kinds for him, and said that he would use the one which he liked the better. 7 They went, sought, found, brought. 8 Then Aristotle asked for the Rhodian and tasting it said: "This is truly a sound and pleasant wine." 9 Then he called for the Lesbian. Tasting that also, he remarked: "Both are very good indeed, but the Lesbian is the sweeter." 10 When he said this, no one doubted that gracefully, and at the same time tactfully, he had  p427 by those words chosen his successor, not his wine. 11 This was Theophrastus, from Lesbos, a man equally noted for the fineness of his eloquence and of his life. 12 And when, not long after this, Aristotle died,​11 they accordingly all became followers of Theophrastus.

6 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The term which the early Latins used for the Greek word προσῳδίαι; also that the term barbarismus was used neither by the early Romans nor by the people of Attica.

1 What the Greeks call προσῳδίαι, or "tones,"​12 our early scholars called now notae vocum, or "marks of tone," now moderamenta, or "guides," 2 now accenticulae, or "accents," and now voculationes, or "intonations." But the fault which we designate when we say now that anyone speaks barbare, or "outlandishly," they did not call "outlandish" but "rustic," and he said that those speaking with that fault spoke "in a countrified manner" (rustice). 3 Publius Nigidius, in his Grammatical Notes,​13 says: "Speech becomes rustic, if you misplace the aspirates."​14 4 Whether therefore those who before the time of the deified Augustus expressed themselves purely and properly used the word barbarismus (outlandishness), which is now common, I for my part have not yet been able to discover.

7 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] 1 That Homer in his poems and Herodotus in his Histories spoke differently of the nature of the lion.

Herodotus, in the third book of his Histories,​a has left the statement that lionesses give birth but once during their whole life, and at that one birth that  p429 they never produce more than one cub. 2 His words in that book are as follows:​15 "But the lioness, although a strong and most courageous animal, gives birth once only in her lifetime to one cub; for in giving birth she discharges her womb with the whelp;" 3 Homer, however, says that lions (for so he calls the females also, using the masculine or "common" (epicene) gender, as the grammarians call it) produce and rear many whelps. 4 The verses in which he plainly says this are these:16

He stood, like to a lion before its young,

Beset by hunters in a gloomy wood

And leading them away.

5 In another passage also he indicates the same thing:17

With many a groan, like lion of strong beard,

From which a hunter stole away its young

Amid dense woods.

6 Since this disagreement and difference between the most famous of poets and the most eminent of historians troubled me, I thought best to consult that very thorough treatise which the philosopher Aristotle wrote On Animals. And what I find that he has written there upon this subject I shall include in these notes, in Aristotle's own language.18

 p431  8 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That the poet Afranius wisely and prettily called Wisdom the daughter of Experience and Memory.

1 That was a fine and true thought of the poet Afranius about the birth of Wisdom and the means of acquiring it, when he said that she was the daughter of Experience and Memory. 2 For in that way he shows that one who wishes to be wise in human affairs does not need books alone or instruction in rhetoric and dialectics, but ought also to occupy and train himself in becoming intimately acquainted with and testing real life, and in firmly fixing in his memory all such acts and events; and accordingly he must learn wisdom and judgment from the teaching of actual experience, not from what books only, or masters, through vain words and fantasies, have foolishly represented as though in a farce or a dream. 3 The verses of Afranius are in a Roman comedy called The Chair:19

My sire Experience was, me Memory bore,

In Greece called Sophia, Wisdom in Rome.

4 There is also a line of Pacuvius to about the same purport, which the philosopher Macedo, a good man and my intimate friend, thought ought to be written over the doors of all temples:20

I hate base men who preach philosophy.

5 For he said that nothing could be more shameful or insufferable than that idle, lazy folk, disguised with beard and cloak, should change the character and  p433 advantages of philosophy into tricks of the tongue and of words, and, themselves saturated with vices, should eloquently assail vice.

9 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] What Tullius Tiro wrote in his commentaries about the Suculae, or "little Pigs," and the Hyades, which are the names of constellations.

1 Tullius Tiro was the pupil and freedman of Marcus Cicero and an assistant in his literary work. 2 He wrote several books on the usage and theory of the Latin language and on miscellaneous questions of various kinds. 3 Pre-eminent among these appear to be those to which he gave the Greek title Πανδέκται,​21 implying that they included every kind of science and fact. 4 In these he wrote the following about the stars which are called the Suculae, or "Little Pigs":​22 "The early Romans," says he, "were so ignorant of Grecian literature and so unfamiliar with the Greek language, that they called those stars which are in the head of the Bull Suculae, or 'The Little Pigs,' because the Greeks call them ὑάδες; for they supposed that Latin word to be a translation of the Greek name because ὕες in Greek is sues in Latin. But the ὑάδες," says he, "are so called, οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν ὑῶν (that is, not from pigs), as our rude forefathers believed, but from the word ὕειν; for both when they rise and when they set they cause rainstorms and heavy showers. And pluere, (to rain) is expressed in the Greek tongue by ὕειν."

5 So, indeed, Tiro in his Pandects. But, as a matter of fact, our early writers were not such boors and  p435 clowns as to give to the stars called hyades the name of suculae, or "little pigs," because ὕες are called sues in Latin; but just as what the Greeks call ὑπέρ we call super, what they call ὕπτιος we call supinus, what they call ὑφορβός we call subulcus, and finally, what they call ὕπνος we call first sypnus, and then, because of the kinship of the Greek letter y and the Latin o, somnus — just so, what they call ὑάδες were called by us, first syades, and then suculae.

6 But the stars in question are not in the head of the Bull, as Tiro says, for except for those stars the Bull has no head; but they are so situated and arranged in the circle that is called the "zodiac," that from their position they seem to present the appearance and semblance of a bull's head, just as the other parts, and the rest of the figure of the Bull, are formed and, as it were, pictured by the place and location of those stars which the Greeks call Πλειάδες and we, Vergiliae.

10 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The derivation of soror, according to Antistius Labeo, and that of frater, according to Publius Nigidius.

1 Antistius Labeo cultivated the study of civil law with special interest, and gave advice publicly to those who consulted him on legal questions; he was also not unacquainted with the other liberal arts, and he had delved deep into grammar and dialectics, as well as into the earlier and more recondite literature. He had also become versed in the origin and formation of Latin words, and applied that knowledge in particular to solving many knotty points of law. 2 In fact, after his death works of his were published,  p437 which are entitled Posteriores, of which three successive books, the thirty-eighth, thirty-ninth and fortieth, are full of information of that kind, tending to explain and illustrate the Latin language. 3 Moreover, in the books which he wrote On the Praetor's Edict he has included many observations, some of which are graceful and clever. Of such a kind is this, which we find written in the fourth book On the Edict:​23 "A soror, or 'sister,' " he says, "is so called because she is, as it were, born seorsum, or 'outside,' and is separated from that home in which she was born, and transferred to another family."24

4 Moreover, Publius Nigidius, a man of prodigious learning, explains the word frater, or "brother," by a no less clever and ingenious derivation:​25 "A frater," he says, "is so called because he is, as it were, fere alter, that is, 'almost another self.' "26

11 1  [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Marcus Varro's opinion of the just and proper number of banqueters; his views about the dessert and about sweetmeats.

1 That is a very charming book of Marcus Varro's, one of his Menippean Satires, entitled You know not what the Late Evening may Bring,​27 in which he descants upon the proper number of guests at a dinner, and about the order and arrangement of the entertainment itself. 2 Now he says​28 that the number of the guests ought to begin with that of the Graces and end with that of the Muses; that is,  p439 it should begin with three and stop at nine, so that when the guests are fewest, they should not be less than three, when they are most numerous, not more than nine. 3 "For it is disagreeable to have a great number, since a crowd is generally disorderly,​29 and at Rome it stands,​30 at Athens it sits, but nowhere does it recline. Now, the banquet itself," he continues, "has four features, and then only is it complete in all its parts: if a nice little group has been got together, if the place is well chosen, the time fit, and due preparation not neglected. Moreover, one should not," he says, "invite either too talkative or too silent guests, since eloquence is appropriate to the Forum and the courts, but silence to the bedchamber and not to a dinner." 4 He thinks, then, that the conversation at such a time ought not to be about anxious and perplexing affairs, but diverting and cheerful, combining profit with a certain interest and pleasure, such conversation as tends to make our character more refined and agreeable. 5 "This will surely follow," he says, "if we talk about matters which relate to the common experience of life, which we have no leisure to discuss in the Forum and amid the press of business. Furthermore, the host," he says, "ought rather to be free from meanness than over-elegant," and, he adds: "At a banquet not everything should be read,​31 but such things as are at once edifying and enjoyable."

 p441  6 And he does not omit to tell what the nature of the dessert should be. For he uses these words: "Those sweetmeats (bellaria) are sweetest which are not sweet;​32 for harmony between delicacies and digestion is not to be counted upon."

7 That no one may be puzzled by the word bellaria which Varro uses in this passage, let me say that it means all kinds of dessert. For what the Greeks call πέμματα or τραγήματα, our forefathers called bellaria.​33 In the earlier comedies​34 one may find this term applied also to the sweeter wines, which are called Liberi bellaria, or "sweetmeats of Bacchus."

12 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That the tribunes of the commons have the right to arrest, but not to summon.

1 In one of the letters of Ateius Capito we read​35 that Antistius Labeo was exceedingly learned in the laws and customs of the Roman people and in civil law. 2 "But," he adds, "an excessive and mad love of freedom possessed the man, to such a degree that, although the deified Augustus was then emperor and was ruling the State, Labeo looked upon nothing as lawful and accepted nothing, unless he had found it ordered and sanctioned by the old Roman law." 3 He then goes on to relate the reply of this same Labeo, when he was summoned by the messenger of a tribune of the commons. 4 He says: "When the tribunes of the commons had been appealed to by a woman against Labeo and had sent to him at  p443 the Gallianum36 bidding him come and answer the woman's charge, he ordered the messenger to return and say to the tribunes that they had the right to summon neither him nor anyone else, since according to the usage of our forefathers the tribunes of the commons had the power of arrest, but not of summons; that they might therefore come and order his arrest, but they did not have the right to summon him when absent."

5 Having read this in that letter of Capito's, I later found the same statement made more fully in the twenty-first book of Varro's Human Antiquities, and I have added Varro's own words on the subject:​37 6 "In a magistracy," says he, "some have the power of summons, others of arrest, others neither; summoning, for example, belongs to the consuls and others possessing the imperium;​38 arrest, to the tribunes of the commons and the rest who are attended by a messenger; neither summoning nor arrest to the quaestors and others who have neither a lictor nor a messenger. Those who have the power of summons may also arrest, detail, and lead off to prison, all this whether those whom they summon are present or sent for by their order. The tribunes of the commons have no power of summons, nevertheless many of them in ignorance have used that power, as if they were entitled to it; for some of them have ordered, not only private persons, but even a consul to be summoned before the rostra. I myself, when a triumvir,​39 on being summoned by Porcius, tribune of the commons, did not appear, following the authority of our leading men, but I held to the old law. Similarly, when I was a tribune, I ordered  p445 no one to be summoned, and required no one who was summoned by one of my colleagues to obey, unless he wished."

7 I think that Labeo, being a private citizen at the time,​40 showed unjustified confidence in that law of which Marcus Varro has written, in not appearing when summoned by the tribunes. 8 For how the mischief was it reasonable to refuse to obey those whom you admit to have the power of arrest? For one who can lawfully be arrested may also be taken to prison. 9 But since we are inquiring why the tribunes, who had full power of coercion, did not have the right to summon . . .​41 because the tribunes of the commons seem to have been elected in early times, not for administering justice, nor for taking cognizance of suits and complaints when the party were absent, but for using their veto-power when there was immediate need, in order to prevent injustice from being done before their eyes; and for that reason the right of leaving the city at night was denied them, since their constant presence and personal oversight were needed to prevent acts of violence.

13 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That it is stated in Marcus Varro's books on Human Antiquities that the aediles and quaestors of the Roman people might be cited before a praetor by a private citizen.

1 When from the secluded retreat of books and masters I had come forth among men and into the light of the forum, I remember that it was the  p447 subject of inquiry in many of the quarters frequented by those who gave public instruction in law, or offered counsel, whether a quaestor of the Roman people could be cited by a praetor. 2 Moreover, this was not discussed merely as an academic question, but an actual instance of the kind had chanced to arise, in which a quaestor was to be called into court. 3 Now, not a few men thought that the praetor did not have the right to summon him, since he was beyond question a magistrate of the Roman people and could neither be summoned, nor if he refused to appear could he be taken and arrested without impairing the dignity of the office itself which he held. 4 But since at the time I was immersed in the books of Marcus Varro, as soon as I found that this matter was the subject of doubt and inquiry, I took down​42 the twenty-first book of his Human Antiquities, in which the following is written:​43 "It is lawful for those magistrates who have the power neither of summoning the people as individuals nor of arrest, even to be called into court by a private citizen. Marcus Laevinus, a curule aedile, was cited before a praetor by a private citizen; to‑day, surrounded as they are by public servants, aediles not only may not be arrested, but even presume to disperse the people."

5 This is what Varro says in the part of his work which concerns the aediles, but in an earlier part of the same book he says​44 that quaestors have the right neither to summon nor to arrest. 6 Accordingly, when both parts of the book had been read, all came over to Varro's opinion, and the quaestor was summoned before the praetor.

 p449  14 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The meaning of pomerium.

1 The augurs of the Roman people who wrote books On the Auspices have defined the meaning of pomerium in the following terms: "The pomerium is the space within the rural district designated by the augurs along the whole circuit of the city without the walls, marked off by fixed bounds and forming the limit of the city auspices."​45 2 Now, the most ancient pomerium, which was established by Romulus, was bounded by the foot of the Palatine hill. But that pomerium, as the republic grew, was extended several times and included many lofty hills. 3 Moreover, whoever had increased the domain of the Roman people by land taken from an enemy had the right to enlarge the pomerium.

4 Therefore it has been, and even now continues to be, inquired why it is that when the other six of the seven hills of the city are within the pomerium, the Aventine alone, which is neither a remote nor an unfrequented district, should be outside the pomerium; and why neither king Servius Tullius nor Sulla, who demanded the honour of extending the pomerium, nor later the deified Julius, when he enlarged the pomerium, included this within the designated limits of the city.

5 Messala wrote​46 that there seemed to be several reasons for this, but above them all he himself approved one, namely, because on that hill Remus took the auspices with regard to founding the city, but found the birds unpropitious and was less  p451 successful in his augury than Romulus. 6 "Therefore," says he, "all those who extend the pomerium excluded that hill, on the ground that it was made ill-omened by inauspicious birds."

7 But speaking of the Aventine hill, I thought I ought not to omit something which I ran across recently in the Commentary of Elys,​47 an early grammarian. In this it was written that in earlier times the Aventine was, as we have said, excluded from the pomerium, but afterwards by the authority of the deified Claudius it was admitted and honoured with a place within the limits of the pomerium.

15 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A passage from the book of the augur Messala, in which he shows who the minor magistrates are and that the consul and the praetor are colleagues; and certain observations besides on the auspices.

1 In the edict of the consuls by which they appoint the day for the centuriate assembly it is written in accordance with an old established form: "Let no minor magistrate presume to watch the skies."​48 2 Accordingly, the question is often asked who the minor magistrates are. 3 On this subject there is​49 no need for words of mine, since by good fortune the first book of the augur Messala On Auspices is at hand, when I am writing this. 4 Therefore I quote from that book Messala's own words:​50 "The auspices of the patricians are divided into two classes. The  p453 greatest are those of the consuls, praetors and censors. Yet the auspices of all these are not the same or of equal rank, for the reason that the censors are not colleagues of the consuls or praetors,​51 while the praetors are colleagues of the consuls. Therefore neither do the consuls or the praetors interrupt or hinder the auspices of the censors, nor the censors those of the praetors and consuls; but the censors may vitiate and hinder each other's auspices and again the praetors and consuls those of one another. The praetor, although he is a colleague of the consul, cannot lawfully elect either a praetor or a consul, as indeed we have learned from our forefathers, or from what has been observed in the past, and as is shown in the thirteenth book of the Commentaries of Gaius Tuditanus;​52 for the praetor has inferior authority and the consul superior, and a higher authority cannot be elected by a lower, or a superior colleague by an inferior. At the present time, when a praetor elects the praetors, I have followed the authority of the men of old and have not taken part in the auspices at such elections. Also the censors are not chosen under the same auspices as the consuls and praetors. The lesser auspices belong to the other magistrates. Therefore these are called 'lesser' and the others 'greater' magistrates. When the lesser magistrates are elected, their office is conferred upon them by the assembly of the tribes, but full powers by a law of the assembly of the curiae; the higher magistrates are chosen by the assembly of the centuries."53

5 For this whole passage of Messala it becomes clear both who the lesser magistrates are and why they are so called. 6 But he also shows that the praetor  p455 is a colleague of the consul, because they are chosen under the same auspices. 7 Moreover, they are said to possess the greater auspices, because their auspices are esteemed more highly than those of the others.

16 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Another passage from the same Messala, in which he argues that to address the people and to treat with the people are two different things; and what magistrates may call away the people when in assembly, and from whom.

1 The same Messala in the same book has written as follows about the lesser magistrates:​54 "A consul may call away the people from all magistrates, when they are assembled for the elections or for another purpose. A praetor may at any time call away the people when assembled for the elections or for another purpose, except from a consul. Lesser magistrates may never call away the people when assembled for the elections or another purpose. Hence, whoever of them first summons the people to an election has the law on his side, because it is unlawful to take the same action twice with the people (bifariam cum populo agi), nor can one minor magistrate call away an assembly from another. But if they wish to address the people (contionem habere) without laying any measure before them, it is lawful for any number of magistrates to hold a meeting (contionem habere) at the same time." 2 From these words of Messala it is clear that cum populo agere, "to treat with the people," differs from contionem habere, "to address the people." 3 For the former means to ask something of the people  p457 which they by their votes are to order or forbid; the latter, to speak to the people without laying any measure before them.

17 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That humanitas does not mean what the common people think, but those who have spoken pure Latin have given the word a more restricted meaning.

1 Those who have spoken Latin and have used the language correctly do not give to the word humanitas the meaning which it is commonly thought to have, namely, what the Greeks call φιλανθρωπία, signifying a kind of friendly spirit and good-feeling towards all men without distinction; but they gave to humanitas about the force of the Greek παιδεία; that is, what we call eruditionem institutionemque in bonas artes, or "education and training in the liberal arts." Those who earnestly desire and seek after these are most highly humanized. For the pursuit of that kind of knowledge, and the training given by it, have been granted to man alone of all the animals, and for that reason it is termed humanitas, or "humanity."

2 That it is in this sense that our earlier writers have used the word, and in particular Marcus Varro and Marcus Tullius,​55 almost all the literature shows. 3 Therefore I have thought it sufficient for the present to give one single example. I have accordingly quoted the words of Varro from the first book of his Human Antiquities, beginning as follows:​56 "Praxiteles, who, because of his surpassing art, is unknown to no one of any liberal culture (humaniori)." 4 He does not use humanior in its usual sense of  p459 "good-natured, amiable, and kindly," although without knowledge of letters, for this meaning does not at all suit his thought; but in that of a man of "some cultivation and education," who knew about Praxiteles both from books and from story.

18 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The meaning of Marcus Cato's phrase "betwixt mouth and morsel."

1 There is a speech by Marcus Cato Censorius On the Improper Election of Aediles. In that oration is this passage:​57 "Nowadays they say that the standing-grain, still in the blade, is a good harvest. Do not count too much upon it. I have often heard that many things may come inter os atque offam, or 'between the mouth and the morsel'; but there certainly is a long distance between a morsel and the blade." 2 Erucius Clarus, who was prefect of the city and twice consul, a man deeply interested in the customs and literature of early days, wrote to Sulpicius Apollinaris, the most learned man within my memory, begging and entreating that he would write him the meaning of those words. 3 Then, in my presence, for at that time I was a young man in Rome and was in attendance upon him for purposes of instruction, Apollinaris replied to Clarus very briefly, as was natural when writing to a man of learning, that "between mouth and morsel" was an old proverb, meaning the same as the poetic Greek adage:

'Twixt cup and lip there's many a slip.

 p461  19 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That Plato attributes a line of Sophocles to Euripides; and some other matters of the same kind.

1 There is an iambic trimeter verse of notorious antiquity:

By converse with the wise wax tyrants wise.

2 This verse Plato in his Theaetetus58 attributes to Euripides. I am very much surprised at this; for I have met it in the tragedy of Sophocles entitled Ajax the Locrian,​59 and Sophocles was born before Euripides.

3 But the following line is equally well known:

I who am old shall lead you, also old.

And this is found both in a tragedy of Sophocles, of which the title is Phthiotides,​60 and in the Bacchae of Euripides.61

4 I have further observed that in the Fire-bringing Prometheus of Aeschylus and in the tragedy of Euripides entitled Ino an identical verse occurs, except for a few syllables. In Aeschylus it runs thus:62

When proper, keeping silent, and saying what is fit.

In Euripides thus:63

When proper, keeping silent, speaking when 'tis safe.

But Aeschylus was considerably the earlier writer.64

 p463  20 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Of the lineage and names of the Porcian family.

1 When Sulpicius Apollinaris and I, with some others who were friends of his or mine, were sitting in the library of the Palace of Tiberius, it chanced that a book was brought to us bearing the name of Marcus Cato Nepos. 2 We at once began to inquire who this Marcus Cato Nepos was. 3 And thereupon a young man, not unacquainted with letters, so far as I could judge from his language, said: "This Marcus Cato is called Nepos, not as a surname, but because he was the grandson of Marcus Cato Censorius through his son, and father of Marcus Cato the ex-praetor, who slew himself with his own sword at Utica during the civil war. There is a book of Marcus Cicero's about the life of the last-named, entitled Laus Catonis, or A Eulogy of Cato, in which Cicero says​65 that he was the great-grandson of Marcus Cato Censorius. 4 Therefore the father of the man whom Cicero eulogized was this Marcus Cato, whose orations are circulated under the name of Marcus Cato Nepos."

5 Then Apollinaris, very quietly and mildly, as was passing his custom when passing criticism, said: "I congratulate you, my son, that at your age you have been able to favour us with a little lecture on the family of Cato, even though you do not know who this Marcus Cato was, about whom we are now inquiring. 6 For the famous Marcus Cato Censorius had not one, but several grandsons, although not all were sprung from the same father. 7 For the famous Marcus Cato, who was both an orator and  p465 a censor, had two sons, born of different mothers and of very different ages; 8 since, when one of them was a young man, his mother died and his father, who was already well on in years, married the maiden daughter of his client Salonius, from whom was born to him Marcus Cato Salonianus, a surname which he derived from Salonius, his mother's father. 9 But from Cato's elder son, who died when praetor-elect, while his father was still living, and left some admirable works on The Science of Law, there was born the man about whom we are inquiring, Marcus Cato, son of Marcus, and grandson of Marcus. 10 He was an orator of some power and left many speeches written in the manner of his grandfather; he was consul with Quintus Marcius Rex, and during his consul­ship went to Africa and died in that province. 11 But he was not, as you said he was, the father of Marcus Cato the ex-praetor, who killed himself at Utica and whom Cicero eulogized; nor because he was the grandson of Cato the censor and Cato of Utica was the censor's great-grandson does it necessarily follow that the former was the father of the latter. 12 For this grandson whose speech was just brought to us did, it is true, have a son called Marcus Cato, but he was not the Cato who died at Utica, but the one who, after being curule aedile and praetor, went to Gallia Narbonensis and there ended his life. 13 But by that other son of Censorius, a far younger man, who, as I said, was surnamed Salonianus, two sons were begotten: Lucius and Marcus Cato. 14 That Marcus Cato was tribune of the commons and died when a candidate for the praetor­ship; he begot Marcus Cato the ex-praetor, who committed suicide at Utica during the civil war, and when Marcus  p467 Tullius wrote the latter's life and panegyric he said that he was the great-grandson of Cato the censor. 15 You see therefore that the branch of the family which is descended from Cato's younger son differs not only in its pedigree, but in its dates as well; for because that Salonianus was born near the end of his father's life, as I said, his descendants were considerably later than those of his elder brother. 16 This difference in dates you will readily perceive from that speech itself, when you read it."

17 Thus spoke Sulpicius Apollinaris in my hearing. Later we found that what he had said was so, when we read the Funeral Eulogies and the Genealogy of the Porcian Family.

21 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That the most elegant writers pay more attention to the pleasing sound of words and phrases (what the Greeks call εὐφωνία, or "euphony") than to the rules and precepts devised by the grammarians.

1 Valerius Probus was once asked, as I learned from one of his friends, whether one ought to say has urbis or has urbes and hanc turrem or hanc turrim. "If," he replied, "you are either composing verse or writing prose and have to use those words, pay no attention to the musty, fusty rules of the grammarians, but consult your own ear as to what is to be said in any given place. What it favours will surely be the best." 2 Then the one who had asked the question said: "What do you mean by 'consult my ear'?" 3 and he told me that Probus answered: "Just as Vergil did his, when in different passages  p469 he has used urbis and urbes, following the taste and judgment of his ear. 4 For in the first Georgic, which," said he, "I have read in a copy corrected by the poet's own hand, he wrote urbis with an i. These are the words of the verses:66

O'er cities (urbis) if you choose to watch, and rule

Our lands, O Caesar great.

But turn and change it so as to read urbes, and somehow you will make it duller and heavier. 5 On the other hand, in the third Aeneid he wrote urbes with an e:67

An hundred mighty cities (urbes) they inhabit.

Change this too so as to read urbis and the word will be too slender and colourless, so great indeed is the different effect of combination in the harmony of neighbouring sounds. 6 Moreover, Vergil also said turrim, not turrem, and securim, not securem:

A turret (turrim) on sheer edge standing,​68


Has shaken from his neck the ill-aimed axe (securim).​69

These words have, I think, a more agreeable lightness than if you should use the form in e in both places." 7 But the one who had asked the question, a boorish fellow surely and with untrained ear, said "I just don't understand why you say that one form is better and more correct in one place and the other in the other." 8 Then Probus, now somewhat impatient, retorted: "Don't trouble then to inquire whether you ought to say urbis or urbes. For since  p471 you are the kind of man that I see you are and err without detriment to yourself, you will lose nothing whichever you say."

9 With these words then and this conclusion Probus dismissed the man, somewhat rudely, as was his way with stupid folk. 10 But I afterwards found another similar instance of double spelling by Vergil. For he has used tres and tris in the same passage with such fineness of taste, that if you should read differently and change one for the other, and have any ear at all, you would perceive that the sweetness of the sound is spoiled. 11 These are the lines, from the tenth book of the Aeneid:70

Three (tres) Thracians too from Boreas' distant race,

And three (tris) whom Idas sent from Ismarus' land.

In one place he has tres, in the other tris; weigh and ponder both, and you will find that each sounds most suitable in its own place. 12 But also in this line of Vergil,71

This end (haec finis) to Priam's fortunes then,

if you change haec and say hic finis, it will be hard and unrhythmical and your ears will shrink from the change. Just as, on the contrary, you would make the following verse of Vergil less sweet, if you were to change it:72

What end (quem finem) of labours, great king, dost thou grant?

For if you should say quam das finem, you would somehow make the sound of the words harsh and somewhat weak.

 p473  13 Ennius too spoke of rectos cupressos, or "straight cypresses," contrary to the accepted gender of that word, in the following verse:

On cliffs the nodding pine and cypress straight.​73

The sound of the word, I think, seemed to him stronger and more vigorous, if he said rectos cupressos rather than rectas. 14 But, on the other hand, this same Ennius in the eighteenth book of his Annals74 said aere fulva instead of fulvo, not merely because Homer said ἠέρα βαθεῖα,​75 but because this sound, I think, seemed more sonorous and agreeable.

15 In the same way Marcus Cicero also thought it smoother and more polished to write, in his fifth Oration against Verres,​76 fretu rather than freto. He says "divided by a narrow strait (fretu)"; for it would have been heavier and more archaic to say perangusto freto. 16 Also in his second Oration against Verres, making use of a like rhythm, he said​77 "by an evident sin," using peccatu instead of peccato; for I find this written in one or two of Tiro's copies, of very trustworthy antiquity. 17 These are Cicero's words: "No one lived in such a way that no part of his life was free from extreme disgrace, no one was detected in such manifest sin (peccatu) that while he had been shameless in committing it, he would seem even more shameless if he denied it."

18 Not only is the sound of this word more elegant in this passage, but the reason for using the word is definite and sound. 19 For hic peccatus, equivalent to peccatio, is correct and good Latin, just as many of the early writers used incestus (criminal), not of the one who committed the crime, but of the crime  p475 itself, and tributus, where we say tributum (tribute). Adlegatus (instigation) too and arbitratus (judgment) are used for adlegatio and arbitratio, and preserving these forms we say arbitratu and adlegatu meo. 20 So then Cicero said in manifesto peccatu, as the early writers said in manifesto incestu, not that it was not good Latin to say peccato, but because in that context the use of peccatu was finer and smoother to the ear.

21 With equal regard for our ears Lucretius made funis feminine in these verses:78

No golden rope (aurea funis), methinks, let down from heaven

The race of mortals to this earth of ours,

although with equally good rhythm he might have used the more common aureus funis and written:

Aureus e caelo demisit funis in arva.

22 Marcus Cicero calls​79 even priests by a feminine term, antistitae, instead of antistites, which is demanded by the grammarians' rule. For while he usually avoided the obsolete words used by the earlier writers, yet in this passage, pleased with the sound of the word, he said: "The priests of Ceres and the guardians (antistitae) of her shrine." 23 To such a degree have writers in some cases followed neither reason nor usage in choosing a word, but only the ear, which weighs words according to its own standards.​80 24 "And as for those who do not feel this," says Marcus Cicero himself,​81 when speaking about appropriate and rhythmical language, "I know not what ears they have, or what there is in them resembling a man."

 p477  25 But the early grammarians have noted this feature in Homer above all, that when he had said in one place​82 κολοιούς τε ψηράς τε, "both crows and starlings," in another place​83 he did not use ψηρῶν τε, but ψαρῶν:

As lights a cloud of starlings (ψαρῶν) or of daws,

not conforming to general usage, but seeking the pleasing effect peculiar to the word in each of the two positions; for if you change one of these for the other, you will give both a harsh sound.

22 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The words of Titus Castricius to his young pupils on unbecoming clothes and shoes.

1 Titus Castricius, a teacher of the art of rhetoric, who held the first rank at Rome as a declaimer and an instructor, a man of the greatest influence and dignity, was highly regarded also by the deified Hadrian for his character and his learning. Once when I happened to be with him (for I attended him as my master) and he had seen some pupils of his who were senators wearing tunics and cloaks on a holiday, and with sandals on their feet,​84 he said: "For my part, I should have preferred to see you in your togas, or if that was too much trouble, at least with girdles and mantles. But if this present attire of yours is now pardonable from long custom, yet it is not at all seemly for you, who are senators of the Roman people, to go through the streets of the city  p479 in sandals, nor by Jove! is this less criminal in you than it was in one whom Marcus Tullius once reproved for such attire."

2 This, and some other things to the same purport, Castricius said in my hearing with true Roman austerity. 3 But several of those who had heard him asked why he had said soleatos, or "in sandals," of those who were gallicae, or "Gallic slippers," and not soleae. 4 But Castricius certainly spoke purely and properly; 5 for in general all kinds of foot-gear which cover only the bottom of the soles, leaving the rest almost bare, and are bound on by slender thongs, are called soleae, or sometimes by the Greek word crepidulae. 6 But gallicae, I think, is a new word, which came into use not long before the time of Marcus Cicero. In fact, he himself uses it in his second Oration against Antony:​85 "You ran about," says he, "in slippers (gallicis) and cloak." 7 Nor do I find this word with that meaning in any other writer — a writer of high authority, that is; but, as I have said, they called that kind of shoe crepidae and crepidulae shortening the first syllable of the Greek word κρηπῖδες, and the makers of such shoes they termed crepidarii. 8 Sempronius Asellio in the fourteenth book of his Histories says:​86 "He asked for a cobbler's knife from a maker of slippers (crepidarius sutor)."

23 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Of the Nerio of Mars in ancient prayers.

1 Prayers to the immortal gods, which are offered according to the Roman ritual, are set forth in the  p481 books of the priests of the Roman people, as well as in many early books of prayers. 2 In these we find: "Lua,​87 of Saturn; Salacia, of Neptune; Hora, of Quirinus; the Virites of Quirinus; Maia of Vulcan; Heries of Juno; Moles of Mars, and Nerio of Mars." 3 Of these I hear most people pronounce the one which I have put last with a long initial syllable, as the Greeks pronounce Νηρεΐδες ("Nereids"). But those who have spoken correctly made the first syllable short and lengthened the third. 4 For the nominative case of the word, as it is written in the books of early writers, is Nerio, although Marcus Varro, in his Menippean Satire entitled Σκιομαχία, or "Battle of the Shadows," uses in the vocative Nerienes, not Nero, in the following verses:88

Thee, Anna and Peranna, Panda Cela, Pales,

Nerienes and Minerva, Fortune and likewise Ceres.

5 From which it necessarily follows that the nominative case is the same. 6 But Nerio was declined by our forefathers like Anio; for, as they said Aniēnem with the third syllable long, 7 so they did Neriēnem. Furthermore, that word, whether it be Nerio or Nerienes, 8 is Sabine and signifies valour and courage. Hence among the Claudii, who we are told sprang from the Sabines, whoever was of eminent and surpassing courage was called Nero.​89 9 But the Sabines  p483 seem to have derived this word from the Greeks, who call the sinews and ligaments of the limbs νεῦρα, whence we also in Latin call them nervi. 10 Therefore Nerio designates the strength and power of Mars and a certain majesty of the War-god.

11 Plautus, however, in the Truculentus says​90 that Nerio is the wife of Mars, and puts the statement into the mouth of a soldier, in the following line:

Mars, coming home, greets his wife Nerio.

12 About this line I once heard a man of some repute say that Plautus, with too great an eye to comic effect, attributed this strange and false idea, of thinking that Nerio was the wife of Mars, to an ignorant and rude soldier. 13 But whoever will read the third book of the Annals of Gnaeus Gellius will find that passage shows learning, rather than a comic spirit; for there it is written that Hersilia, when she pleaded before Titus Tatius and begged for peace, prayed in these words:​91 "Neria of Mars, I beseech thee, give us peace; I beseech thee that it be permitted us to enjoy lasting and happy marriages, since it was by thy lord's advice that in like manner they carried off us maidens,​92 that from us they might raise up children for themselves and their people, and descendants for their country." 14 She says "by thy lord's advice," of course meaning her husband, Mars; and from this it is plain that Plautus made use of no poetic fiction, but that there was also a tradition according to which Nerio was said by some to be the wife of Mars. 15 But it must be noticed besides that Gellius writes Neria with an a, not Nerio nor Nerienes. 16 In addition to Plautus too, and Gellius, Licinius  p485 Imbrex, an early writer of comedies, in the play entitled Neaera, wrote as follows:93

Neaera I'd not wish to have thee called;

Neriene rather, since thou art wife to Mars.

17 Moreover, the metre of this verse is such that the third syllable in that name must be made short,​94 contrary to what was said above. But how greatly the quantity of this syllable varied among the early writers is so well known that I need not waste many words on the subject. 18 Ennius also, in this verse from the first book of his Annals,95

Neriene of Mars and Here,​96

if, as is not always the case, he has preserved the metre, has lengthened the first syllable and shortened the third.

19 And I do not think that I ought to pass by this either, whatever it amounts to, which I find written in the Commentary of Servius Claudius,​97 that Nerio is equivalent to Neirio, meaning without anger (ne ira) and with calmness, so that in using that name we pray that Mars may become mild and calm; for the particle se, as it is among the Greeks, is frequently privative in the Latin language also.

24 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Remarks of Marcus Cato, who declared that he lacked many things, yet desired nothing.

1 Marcus Cato, ex-consul and ex-censor, says that when the State and private individuals were abounding in wealth, his country-seats were plain and  p487 unadorned, and not even whitewashed, up to the seventieth year of his age. And later he uses these words on the subject:​98 "I have no building, utensil or garment bought with a great price, no costly slave or maidservant. If I have anything to use," he says, "I use it; if not, I do without. So far as I am concerned, everyone may use and enjoy what he has." 2 Then he goes on to say: "They find fault with me, because I lack many things; but I with them, because they cannot do without them." This simple frankness of the man of Tusculum, who says that he lacks many things, yet desires nothing, truly has more effect in inducing thrift and contentment with small means than the Greek sophistries of those who profess to be philosophers and invent vain shadows of words, declaring that they have nothing and yet lack nothing and desire nothing, while all the time they are fevered with having, with lacking, and with desiring.

25 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The meaning of manubiae is asked and discussed; with some observations as to the propriety of using several words of the same meaning.

1 All along the roof of the colonnades of Trajan's forum​99 there are placed gilded statues of horses and representations of military standards, and underneath is written Ex manubiis. 2 Favorinus inquired, when he was walking in the court of the forum, waiting for  p489 his friend the consul, who was hearing cases from the tribunal — and I at the same time was in attendance on him — he asked, I say, what that inscription manubiae seemed to us really to mean. Then one of those who were with him, 3 a man of a great and wide-spread reputation for his devotion to learned pursuits, said: "Ex manubiis is the same as ex praeda; for manubiae is the term for booty which is taken manu, that is 'by hand.' " Then Favorinus rejoined: 4 "Although my principal and almost my entire attention has been given to the literature and art of Greece, I am nevertheless not so inattentive to the Latin language, to which I devote occasional or desultory study, as to be unaware of this common interpretation of manubiae, which makes it a synonym of praeda. But I raise the question, whether Marcus Tullius, a man most careful in his diction, in the speech which he delivered against Rullus on the first of January On the Agrarian Law, joined manubiae and praeda by an idle and inelegant repetition, if it be true that these two words have the same meaning and do not differ in any respect at all." And then, such was Favorinus' marvellous and almost miraculous memory, 5 he at once added Cicero's own words. 6 These I have appended:​100 "The decemvirs will sell the booty (praedam), the proceeds of the spoils (manubias), the goods reserved for public auction, in fact Gnaeus Pompeius' camp, while the general sits looking on"; and just below he again used these two words in conjunction:​101 "From the booty (ex praeda), from the proceeds of the spoils (ex manubiis), from the crown-money."​102 7 Then, turning to the man who had said that manubiae was the same as praeda, Favorinus said, "Does it seem to you that in both  p491 these passages Marcus Cicero weakly and frigidly used two words which, as you think, mean the same thing, thus showing himself deserving of the ridicule with which in Aristophanes, the wittiest of comic writers, Euripides assailed Aeschylus, saying:103

Wise Aeschylus has said the same thing twice;

'I come into the land,' says he, 'and enter it.'

But 'enter' and 'come into' are the same.

By Heaven, yes! It is just as if one said

To a neighbour: 'Use the pot, or else the pan'?

8 "But by no means," said he, "do Cicero's words seem like such repetitions as μάκτρα, pot, and κάρδοπος, pan, which are used either by our own poets or orators and those of the Greeks, for the purpose of giving weight or adornment to their subject by the use of two or more words of the same meaning."

9 "Pray," said Favorinus, "what force has this repetition and recapitulation of the same thing under another name in manubiae and praeda? It does not adorn the sentence, does it, as is sometimes the case? It does not make it more exact or more melodious, does it? Does it make an effective cumulation of words designed to strengthen the accusation or brand the crime? As, for example, in the speech of the same Marcus Tullius On the Appointment of an Accuser one and the same thing is expressed in several words with force and severity:​104 'All Sicily, if it could speak with one voice, would say this: "Whatever gold, whatever silver, whatever jewels I had in my cities, abodes and shrines.' " For having once mentioned the cities as a whole, he added 'abodes' and 'shrines,' which are themselves a  p493 part of the cities. Also in the same oration he says in a similar manner:​105 10 'During three years Gaius Verres is said to have plundered the province of Sicily, devastated the cities of the Sicilians, emptied their homes, pillaged their shrines.' 11 Does he not seem to you, when he had mentioned the province of Sicily and had besides added the cities as well, to have included the houses also and the shrines, which he later mentioned? So too do not those many and varied words, 'plundered, devastated, emptied, pillaged,' have one and the same force? They surely do. But since the mention of them all adds to the dignity of the speech and the impressive copiousness of its diction, although they are nearly the same and spring from a single idea, yet they appear to contain more meaning because they strike the ears and mind more frequently.

12 "This kind of adornment, by heaping up in a single charge a great number of severe terms, was frequently used even in early days by our most ancient orator, the famous Marcus Cato, in his speeches; for example in the one entitled On the Ten, when he accused Thermus because he had put to death ten freeborn men at the same time, he used the following words of the same meaning, which, as they are brilliant flashes of Latin eloquence, which was just then coming into being, I have thought fit to call into mind:​106 'You seek to cover up your abominable crime with a still worse crime, you slaughter men like swine, you commit frightful bloodshed, you cause ten deaths, slay ten freemen, take life from ten men, untried, unjudged, uncondemned.' 13 So too Marcus Cato, at the beginning of the speech which he delivered in the senate, In Defence  p495 of the Rhodians, wishing to describe too great prosperity, used three words which mean the same thing.​107 14 His language is as follows: 'I know that most men in favourable, happy and prosperous circumstances are wont to be puffed up in spirit and to increase in arrogance and haughtiness.' 15 In the seventh book of his Origins too,​108 in the speech which he spoke Against Servius Galba, Cato used several words to express the same thing:​109 'Many things have dissuaded me from appearing here, my years, my time of life, my voice, my strength, my old age; but nevertheless, when I reflected that so important a matter was being discussed. . . .'

16 "But above all in Homer there is a brilliant heaping up of the same idea and thought, in these lines:110

Zeus from the weapons, from the dust and blood,

From carnage, from the tumult Hector bore.

Also in another verse:111

Engagements, battles, carnage, deaths of men.

17 For although all those numerous synonymous terms mean nothing more than 'battle,' yet the varied aspects of this concept are elegantly and charmingly depicted by the use of several different words. 18 And in the same poet this one thought is repeated with admirable effect by the use of two words; for Idaeus, when he interrupted the armed contest of Hector and Ajax, addressed them thus:112

No longer fight, dear youths, nor still contend,

 p497  19 and in this verse it ought not to be supposed that the second word, meaning the same as the first, was added and lugged in without reason, merely to fill out the metre; for that is utterly silly and false. But while he gently and calmly chided the obstinate fierceness and love of battle in two youths burning with a desire for glory, he emphasized and impressed upon them the atrocity of the act and the sin of their insistence by adding one word to another; and that double form of address made his admonition more impressive. 20 Nor ought the following repetition of the same thought to seem any more weak and cold:113

With death the suitors threatened, and with fate,


because he said the same thing twice in θάνατον (death) and μόρον (fate); for the heinousness of attempting so cruel and unjust a murder is deplored by the admirable repetition of the word meaning 'death.' 21 Who too is of so dull a mind as not to understand that in114

Away, begone, dire dream,


Away, begone, swift Iris,

two words of the same meaning are not used to no purpose, ἐκ παραλλήλων, 'as the repetition of two similar words,' as some think, but are a vigorous exhortation to the swiftness which is enjoined?

22 "Also those thrice repeated words in the speech of Marcus Cicero Against Lucius Piso, although displeasing to men of less sensitive ears, did not merely aim at elegance, but buffeted Piso's assumed expression  p499 of countenance by the rhythmical accumulation of several words. 23 Cicero says:​116 'Finally, your whole countenance, which is, so to speak, the silent voice of the mind, this it was that incited men to crime, this deceived, tricked, cheated those to whom it was not familiar.' 24 Well then," continued Favorinus, "is the use of praeda and manubiae in the same writer similar to this? Truly, not at all! 25 For by the addition of manubiae the sentence does not become more ornate, more forcible, or more euphonious; 26 but manubiae means one thing, as we learn from the books on antiquities and on the early Latin, praeda quite another. For praeda is used of the actual objects making up the booty, but manubiae designates the money collected by the quaestor from the sale of the booty. 27 Therefore Marcus Tullius, in order to rouse greater hatred of the decemvirs, said that they would carry off and appropriate the two: both the booty which had not yet been sold and the money which had been received from the sale of the booty.

28 "Therefore this inscription which you see, ex manubiis, does not designate the objects and the mass of booty itself, for none of these was taken from the enemy by Trajan, but it declares that these statues were made and procured 'from the manubiae', that is, with the money derived from the sale of the booty. 29 For manubiae means, as I have already said, not booty, but money collected from the sale of the booty by a quaestor of the Roman people. 30 But when I said 'by the quaestor,' one ought now to understand that the praefect of the treasury is meant. 31 For the charge of the treasury has been transferred from the quaestors to praefects.​117 However, it is possible to find instances in which  p501 writers of no little fame have written in such a way as to use praeda for manubiae or manubiae for praeda, either from carelessness or indifference; or by some metaphorical figure they have interchanged the words, which is allowable when done with judgment and skill. 32 But those who have spoken properly and accurately, as did Marcus Tullius in that passage, have used manubiae of money."

26 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] A passage of Publius Nigidius in which he says that in Valeri, the vocative case of the name Valerius, the first syllable should have an acute accent; with other remarks of the same writer on correct writing.

1 These are the words of Publius Nigidius, a man pre-eminent for his knowledge of all the sciences, from the twenty-fourth book of his Grammatical Notes:​118 "How then can the accent be correctly used, if in names like Valeri we do not know whether they are genitive​119 or vocative? For the second syllable of the genitive has a higher pitch than the first, and on the last syllable the pitch falls again; but in the vocative case the first syllable has the highest pitch, and then there is a gradual descent."​120 2 Thus indeed Nigidius bids us speak. But if anyone nowadays, calling to Valerius, accents the first syllable of the vocative according to the direction of Nigidius, he will not escape being laughed at. 3 Furthermore, Nigidius calls the acute accent "the highest pitch," and what we call accentus, or "accent," he calls voculatio, or "tone," and the case which we now call genetivus, or "genitive," he calls casus interrogandi, "the case of asking."

 p503  4 This too I notice in the same book of Nigidius:​121 "If you write the genitive case of amicus, he says, "or of magnus, end the word with a single i; but if you write the nominative plural, you must write magnei and amicei, with an e followed by i, and so with similar words. Also​122 if you write terra in the genitive, let it end with the letter i, as terrai;​123 but in the dative with e, as terrae. Also​124 one who writes mei in the genitive case, as when we say mei studiosus, or 'devoted to me,' let him write it with i only (mei), not with e (meei);​125 but when he writes mehei, it must be written with e and i, since it is the dative case." 5 Led by the authority of a most learned man, I thought that I ought not to pass by these statements, for the sake of those who desire a knowledge of such matters.

27 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Of verses of Homer and Parthenius, which Virgil seems to have followed.

1 There is a verse of the poet Parthenius:126

To Glaucus, Nereus and sea-dwelling Melicertes.

2 This verse Virgil has emulated, and has made it equal to the original by a graceful change of two words:127

To Glaucus, Panopea, and Ino's son Melicertes.

 p505  3 But the following verse of Homer he has not indeed equalled, nor approached. For that of Homer​128 seems to be simpler and more natural, that of Virgil​129 more modern and daubed over with a kind of stucco,​130 as it were:

Homer: A bull to Alpheus, to Poseidon one.

Virgil: A bull to Neptune, and to you, Apollo fair.

28 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] Of an opinion of the philosopher Panaetius, which he expressed in his second book On duties, where he urges men to be alert and prepared to guard against injuries on all occasions.

1 The second book of the philosopher Panaetius On Duties was being read to us, being one of those three celebrated books which Marcus Tullius emulated with great care and very great labour. 2 In it there was written, in addition to many other incentives to virtue, one especially which ought to be kept fixed in the mind. 3 And it is to this general purport:​131 "The life of men," he says, "who pass their time in the midst of affairs, and who wish to be helpful to themselves and to others, is exposed to constant and almost daily troubles and sudden dangers. To guard against and avoid these one needs a mind that is always ready and alert, such as the athletes have who are called 'pancratists.'​b 4 For just as they, when called to the contest, stand with their arms raised and stretched out, and protect their head and face by opposing their hands as a rampart; and as all their limbs, before the battle  p507 has begun, are ready to avoid or to deal blows — so the spirit and mind of the wise man, on the watch everywhere and at all times against violence and wanton injuries, ought to be alert, ready, strongly protected, prepared in time of trouble, never flagging in attention, never relaxing its watchfulness, opposing judgment and forethought like arms and hands to the strokes of fortune and the snares of the wicked, lest in any way a hostile and sudden onslaught be made upon us when we are unprepared and unprotected."

29 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That Quadrigarius used the expression cum multis mortalibus; whether it would have made any difference if he had said cum multis hominibus, and how great a difference.

1 The following is a passage of Claudius Quadrigarius from the thirteenth book of his Annals:​132 "When the assembly had been dismissed, Metellus came to the Capitol with many mortals (cum mortalibus multis); from there he went home attended by the entire city." 2 When this book and this passage were read to Marcus Fronto, as I was sitting with him in company with some others, it seemed to one of those present, a man not without learning, that the use of mortalibus multis for hominibus multis in a work of history was foolish and frigid, and savoured too much of poetry. Then Fronto said to the man who expressed this opinion: "Do you, a man of most refined taste in other matters, say that mortalibus multis seems to you foolish and frigid, and do you think there is no reason why a man whose language is chaste, pure and almost conversational,  p509 preferred to say mortalibus rather than hominibus? And do you think that he would have described a multitude in the same way if he said cum multis hominibus and not cum multis mortalibus? 3 For my part," continued Fronto, "unless my regard and veneration for this writer, and for all early Latin, blinds my judgment, I think that it is far, far fuller, richer and more comprehensive in describing almost the whole population of the city to have said mortales rather than homines. 4 For the expression 'many men' may be confined and limited to even a moderate number, but 'many mortals' somehow in some indefinable manner includes almost all the people in the city, of every rank, age and sex; so you see Quadrigarius, wishing to describe the crowd as vast and mixed, as in fact it was, said that Metellus came into the Capitol 'with many mortals, speaking with more force than if he had said 'with many men.' "

5 When we, as was fitting, had expressed, not only approval, but admiration of all this that we had heard from Fronto, he said: "Take care, however, not to think that mortales multi is to be used always and everywhere in place of multi homines, lest that Greek proverb, τὸ ἐπὶ τῇ φακῇ μύρον, or 'myrrh on lentils,'​133 which is found in one of Varro's Satires,​134 be applied to you." 6 This judgment of Fronto's, though relating to trifling and unimportant words, I thought I ought not to pass by, lest the somewhat subtle distinction between words of this kind should escape and elude us.

 p511  30 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] That facies has a wider application than is commonly supposed.

1 We may observe that many Latin words have departed from their original signification and passed into one that is either far different or near akin, and that such a departure is due to the usage of those ignorant people who carelessly use words of which they have not learned the meaning. 2 As, for example, some think that facies, applied to a man, means only the face, eyes and cheeks, that which the Greeks call πρόσωπον; whereas facies really designates the whole form, dimensions and, as it were, the make-up of the entire body, being formed from facio as species is from aspectus and figura from fingere. 3 Accordingly Pacuvius, in the tragedy entitled Niptra, used facies for the height of a man's body in these lines:135

A man in prime of life, of spirit bold,

Of stature (facie) tall.

4 But facies is applied, not only to the bodies of men, but also to the appearance of other things of every kind. For facies may be said properly, if the application be seasonable, of a mountain, the heavens and the sea.​136 5 The words of Sallust in the second book of his Histories are:​137 "Sardinia, in the African Sea, having the appearance (facies) of a human foot,​138 projects farther on the eastern than on the western side." 6 And, by the way, it has also occurred to me that Plautus too, in the Poenulus, said facies, meaning  p513 the appearance of the whole body and complexion. These are his words:139

But tell me, pray, how looks (qua sit facie) that nurse of yours? —

Not very tall, complexion dark. — 'Tis she! —

A comely wench, with pretty mouth, black eyes —

By Jove! a picture of her limned in words!

7 Besides, I remember that Quadrigarius in his nineteenth book used facies for stature and the form of the whole body.

31 [Legamen ad versionem Latinam] The meaning of caninum prandium in Marcus Varro's satire.

1 Lately a foolish, boastful fellow, sitting in a bookseller's shop, was praising and advertising himself, asserting that he was the only one under all heaven who could interpret the Satires of Marcus Varro, which by some are called Cynical, by others Menippean. And then he displayed some passages of no great difficulty, which he said no one could presume to explain. 2 At the time I chanced to have with me a book of those Satires, entitled Ὑδροκύων, or The Water Dog.​140 I therefore went up to him and said: 3 "Master, of course you know that old Greek saying, that music, if it be hidden, is of no account.​141 I beg you therefore to read these few lines and tell me the meaning of the proverb contained  p515 in them." 4 "Do you rather," he replied, "read me what you do not understand, in order that I may interpret it for you." 5 "How on earth can I read," I replied, "what I cannot understand? Surely my reading will be indistinct and confused, and will even distract your attention."

6 Then, as many others who were there present agreed with me and made the same request, I handed him an ancient copy of the satire, of tested correctness and clearly written. 7 But he took it with a most disturbed and worried expression. 8 But what shall I say followed? I really do not dare to ask you to believe me. 9 Ignorant schoolboys, if they had taken up that book, could not have read more laughably, so wretchedly did he pronounce the words and murder the thought. 10 Then, since many were beginning to laugh, he returned the book to me, saying, "You see that my eyes are weak and almost ruined by constant night work; I could barely make out even the forms​142 of the letters. 11 When my eyes have recovered, come to me and I will read the whole of that book to you." 12 "Master," said I, "I hope your eyes may improve; but I pray you, tell me this, for which you have no need of your eyes; what does caninum prandium mean in the passage which you read?" 13 And that egregious blockhead, as if alarmed by the difficulty of the question, at once got up and made off, saying: "You ask no small matter; I do not give such instruction for nothing."

14 The words of the passage in which that proverb is found are as follows:​143 "Do you not know that Mnesitheus​144 writes that there are three kinds of wine, dark, light and medium, which the Greeks call  p517 κιρρός or 'tawny'; and new, old and medium? And that the dark gives virility, the light increases the urine, and the medium helps digestion? That the new cools, the old heats, and the medium is a dinner for a dog (caninum prandium)?" 15 The meaning of "a dinner for a dog," though a slight matter, I have investigated long and anxiously. 16 Now an abstemious meal, at which there is no drinking, is called "a dog's meal," since the dog has no need of wine. 17 Therefore when Mnesitheus named a medium wine, which was neither new nor old — and many men speak as if all wine was either new or old — he meant that the medium wine had the power neither of the old nor of the new, and was therefore not to be considered wine at all, because it neither cooled nor heated. By refrigerare (to cool), he means the same as the Greek ψύχειν.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Phil. I.10.

2 This is the recognized figure of speech known as hendiadys.

3 Iliad, XX.336.

4 Aen. IV.696.

5 205, p296.

6 467, Ribbeck3.

7 i.e. Gaius Iulius Caesar.

8 ii, p121, Dinter; O.R.F.2, p412.

9 Fr. 5, Peter.

10 p255, Riese.

11 In 322 B.C.

12 The Greeks had a pitch accent, pronouncing the accented syllable with a higher tone.

13 Fr. 39, Swoboda.

14 Cf. Catull. LXXXIV.

15 III.108.

16 Iliad, XVII.133.

17 Iliad, XVIII.318.

18 The passage is not quoted; see critical note. Aristotle tells us that the lioness gives birth to young every year, usually two, at most six, sometimes only one. The current idea that the womb is discharged with the young is absurd; it arose from the fact that lions are rare and that inventor of the story did not know the real reason, which is that their habitat is of limited extent. The lionesses in Syria give birth five times, producing at first five cubs, then one less at each successive birth.

19 298, Ribbeck3.

20 348, Ribbeck3.

21 Literally, all-embracing.

22 pp7 ff. Lion.

23 Fr. 26, Huschke; 2, Bremer (ii, p85).

24 That is to say, by marriage.

25 Fr. 50, Swoboda.

26 These derivations are, of course, purely fanciful; soror and frater are cognate with "sister" and "brother," and are not of Latin derivation.

27 Apparently a proverbial expression; cf. Virg. Georg. I.461, Denique, quid vesper serus vehat . . . sol tibi signa dabit.

28 Fr. 333, Bücheler.

29 There is a word-play on turba and turbulenta, which it seems difficult to reproduce. Cf. Ausonius, p12, 146, Peiper; I, p22, L. C. L.:

Quinque advocavi; sex enim convivium

Cum rege iustum; si super, convicium est.

30 Referring to turba as the throng of citizens in public assembly.

31 Readings or music were common forms of entertainment at a Roman dinner (cf. e.g. Pliny, Epist. III.1.9). Legi, however, may have the meaning of legere in § 3 (end), in which case the reference would be to the viands and βιωφελῆ would mean "wholesome."

32 An example of Varro's fondness for word-plays "sweetest" is used in the double sense of sweetest to the taste and pleasantest in their after-effects.

33 mensa secunda bellariorum occurs in the Transactions of the Arval Brethren for May 27, A.D. 218.

34 p144, 65, Ribbeck3.

35 Fr. 19, Huschke; ii p287, Bremer.

36 Probably Labeo's country place. He spent half the year in retirement (Dig I.2.2.47), and praedia Galliana are mentioned in CIL III.536, and IX.1455, col. iii, lines 62‑64.

37 Fr. 2, Mirsch.

38 The right of commanding an army conferred by the Lex curiata de imperio on the dictator, consuls, magister equitum and praetors.

39 That is, one of the triumviri capitales, a minor office.

40 That is, he had not yet held a magisterial office.

41 There seems to be a lacuna in the text. Supply "we may assume that it was," or something similar.

42 From his bookcase.

43 Fr. 3, Mirsch.

44 See XIII.12.6, above.

45 That is to say, the pomerium separated the ager Romanum, or country district, from the city. The auspices could be taken only within the pomerium. When a furrow was drawn and the earth turned inward to mark the line of the city walls, the furrow represented the pomerium. On the derivation of the word see T.A.P.A. XLIV.19 ff.

Thayer's Note: That article just gives one opinion out of many (which, for what it's worth, doesn't convince me in the least); but by following the links there, the diligent student will find some of the other opinions. The debate is by no means over, and only the limitations imposed by copyright law have prevented me from giving some very recent articles coming down on all sides of the question.

46 Fr. 3, Huschke; id., Bremer (ii, p265).

47 The name is obviously corrupt; see critical note.

48 That is, for omens.

49 This and the following verbs seem to be in epistolary past tenses; that is, Gellius uses the tenses which would represent the time from the standpoint of his future readers.

50 Fr. 1, Huschke; 1a, Bremer (i, p263).

51 Explained in § 6, below.

52 Fr. 8, Peter2; 2, Huschke; id., Bremer (i, p35).

53 On these comitia see XV.27, below.

54 Fr. 2, Huschke; id, Bremer (i, p263).

55 De Orat. I.71; II.72, etc.

56 Fr. 1, Mirsch.

57 lxv.1, Jordan.

58 Really Theages 6, p125B.

59 Fr. 13, Nauck2.

60 Id. 633.

61 193.

62 Fr. 208, Nauck2 (Choeph.º 576).

63 Id. 413.

64 According to tradition Euripides was born on the day of the battle of Salamis (480 B.C.), Aeschylus took part in the fight, and Sophocles, then about sixteen years old, figured in the celebration of the victory. Christ, Griech. Lit., assigns Euripides' birth to 484.

65 Fr. 1, p987, Orelli2.

66 Georg. I.25.

67 Aen. III.106.

68 Aen. II.460.

69 Aen. II.224.

70 Aen. X.350.

71 Aen. II.554.

72 Aen. I.241.

73 Ann. 490, Vahlen2. Ennius also has longi cupressi in Ann. 262.

74 Ann. 454, Vahlen2, cf. II.26.4.

75 Iliad XX.446; XXI.6.

76 II.5.169.

77 II.2.191.

78 II.1153.

79 In Verr. IV.99.

80 cf. Hor. Epist. I.7.98.

81 Orat. 168.

82 Iliad XVI.583.

83 Iliad XVII.755.

84 Instead of the senatorial shoe; this was red or black and was fastened on by four black thongs which passed crosswise around the ankle and the calf of the leg; cf. Hor. Sat. I.6.27.

85 Phil. II.76.

86 Fr. 11, Peter2.

87 These names apparently represented characteristics of the deities with which they are coupled, which in some cases later became goddesses; see Fowler, Roman Festivals, pp60 ff. Gellius is apparently right in his explanation of Nerio in §§ 7‑10, while later myths made her the wife of Mars. Lua (cf. luo, "purify"), according to Livy XLV.33.2, was a goddess to whom, in company with Mars and Minerva, the captured arms of an enemy were devoted when they were burned by the victors. Salacia (cf. sal, "salt one") was a sea-goddess. Hora, according to Nonius, p120, was a goddess of youth. Ovid, Met. XIV.830‑851, says that it was the name given to Hersilia, the wife of Romulus, after her deification. For the other names see the Index.

Thayer's Note: See also St. Augustine's comments, hostile of course (De Civ. Dei VII.22), on Salacia and Venilia, Neptune's other wife or concubine.

88 Frag. 506, Bücheler.

89 See Suet. Tib. I.2.

90 515.

91 Fr. 15, Peter2.

92 Referring to the rape of the Sabine women. Itidem shows that Cn. Gellius had in mind the later myth (see note 1, p480) that Mars finally carried off Nerio as his bride.

93 p39, Ribbeck3.

94 That is, Nēriĕnem, instead of Nĕriēnem.

95 Ann. 104, Vahlen2.

96 See Paul. Fest., p89, 4, Lindsay: Herem Marteam antiqui accepta hereditate colebant, quae a nomine appellabatur heredum, et esse una ex Martis comitibus putabatur.

97 Fr. 4, Fun.

98 O.R.F., p146, Meyer2.

99 The largest and grandest of the imperial fora, including the basilica Ulpia, the column of Trajan, and the library.

Thayer's Note: For full details, see the article Forum Traiani in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

100 De Leg. Agr. I, p601, Orelli2.

101 Id. II.59.

102 It was customary for cities in the provinces to send golden crowns to a victorious general, which were carried before him in his triumph. By the time of Cicero the presents took the form of money, called aurum coronarium. Later, it was a present to the emperor on stated occasions.

103 Frogs 1154, 1156 ff.

104 Div. in Caec. 19.

105 § 11.

106 p39, 127, Jordan.

107 Orig. V.1, p21, 8, Jordan.

108 Frag. 108, Peter2.

109 O.R.F., p123, Meyer2.

110 Iliad XI.163.

111 Odyss. XI.612.

112 Iliad VII.279.

113 Odyss. XX.241.

114 Iliad II.8.

115 Iliad VIII.399.

116 In Pis. 1.

117 See Suet. Claud. xxiv.

118 Fr. 35, Swoboda.

119 On casus interrogandi for the genitive see Fay, A.J.P. XXXVI (1916), p78.

120 See note 2, p426. Many believe this to be true also of the Latin sermo urbanus; see Class. Phil. II.444 ff.

121 36 Swoboda.

122 Id. 37.

123 Really terrāi.

124 Id. 38.

125 Gellius refers only to the ending, which is i alone, and not i preceded by e.

126 Anal. Alex., p285, fr. 33, Meineke.

127 Georg. I.437.

128 Iliad XI.728.

129 Aen. III.119.

130 Referring to the otiose epithet pulcher, which is "gilding the lily."

131 Fr. 8, Fowler.

132 Fr. 76, Peter2.

133 That is, to use a costly perfumed oil to dress a dish of lentils; proverbial for a showy entertainment with little to eat.

134 p219, Bücheler.

135 253, Ribbeck3.

136 Just so we speak of the face of nature, the face of the waters, and the like.

137 ii.2, Maur.

138 That is, the sole of the foot.

139 1111.

140 This, with the Ἱπποκύων, or Dog-Knight, and the Κυνορήτωρ, or Dog-Rhetorician, justifies the term Cynicae as applied to Varro's Saturae.

141 The same proverb is put into the mouth of Nero by Suetonius (NeroXX.1), where the meaning is, that it is of no use for one to know how to sing, unless he proves that knows how by singing in public.

142 Apices here seems to refer to the strokes of which the letters were made up; cf. Cassiodorus VII.184.6 K., digamma nominatur quia duos apices ex gamma littera habere videtur, and Gell. XVII.9.12.

143 Fr. 575, Bücheler.

144 A celebrated Athenian physician of the fourth century before our era.

Thayer's Notes:

a III.108.

b The pancratium (from pan, "all", "every"; and kratos, "strength"), was something like today's cage-fighting, in which just about every means of attack and defense was allowed. For details, see the article Pancratium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

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