Sebastian Castellio's Bible

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
In the olden days, people still learnt to write in different authors' styles.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
often putting the finite verb after the subject or otherwise at or near the end with an accompanying infinitive in the middle (Erant autem quī dēferre minōrēs opēs volēbant ad urbem illam...), as in so much Late Latin, shouldn't be considered a mistake.
Who considers that a mistake? It isn't even a mistake by Ciceronian standards.
How did Plautus get on your list? Most Ciceronians dismiss his style.
Did you read all of my post? Particularly this bit:
I'm not a hardcore Ciceronianist.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
What does that mean?
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
I like the Vulgate quite a bit. And I personally have zero personal problems with Late Latin. In fact, I'd prefer it if most everything in terms of formal writings from Cato the Elder all the way down to writings by the more learned authors of the 5th and 6th century AD was fair game (so including Symmachus, Orosius, Vegetius, Hilarius, Boethius, Isidore, Pope Gregory I). I consider them native speakers of Latin too after all, even if for later authors the written language was quite a bit more distanced from their natural dialect than the earlier ones. I'd say that writing mostly in SVO sentences, often putting the finite verb after the subject or otherwise at or near the end with an accompanying infinitive in the middle (Erant autem quī dēferre minōrēs opēs volēbant ad urbem illam...), as in so much Late Latin, shouldn't be considered a mistake. Nevertheless I actually avoid such things because I've come to understand that socially my view is an unusual one...

I agree Castellio's Bible sounds excessively convoluted in order to Ciceronian, but it's still interesting to have a look at.
I was listening to Vivarium Novum seminars recently and had the impression that they use SVO a lot when talking, but I may be wrong.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
In the olden days, people still learnt to write in different authors' styles.
Have you ever tried that? I haven't; not extensively at least. It mustn't be easy. I think there's little point, in serious writing, in trying to produce a copy of another author's style, but as an exercise I guess it can be good.
 
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Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
I love Plautus.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Have you ever tried that? I haven't; not extensively at least.
Not in prose. I try to follow the metrical standards set up by Ovid as much as I can and try to borrow a few of his word choices, favourite stylistic devices and latent, little humour to the extent I'm able to. But obviously my lines wouldn't ever pass for Naso.

It mustn't be easy.
Well, I think it requires a lot of reading of one specific author and doing some writing exercises alongside (that's how we did it with Cicero). I think you get a rather decent feeling eventually. For example, I would expect Dantius to have a good feeling for Livius.

I think there's little point, in serious writing, in trying to produce a copy of another author's style, but as an exercise I guess it can be good.
What kind of serious writing? :D
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
that's how we did it with Cicero
Which doesn't mean anyone expected Ciceronian style, btw. People were happy enough if somebody produced a semi-comprehensible sentence without too many mistakes.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Who considers that a mistake? It isn't even a mistake by Ciceronian standards.
If done now and then, a text would remain perfectly Ciceronian. Writing nearly every sentence as SVO or S + finite verb + O + infinitive is not exactly Ciceronian though. It is true, however, that I misremembered why the S + infinitive + O + V construction is relevant though: the thing is that it becomes rarer in Late Latin, not more frequent. I actually just found there is a whole chapter in a recent linguistics book entitled Word Order Change (2018, Martins & Cardoso), written by a latinist called Lieven Danckaert, which "investigates the loss of the word order pattern 'V-O-Aux' in Latin. This order was fully productive in Classical Latin, but in the Late Latin period (from 150 until 600 AD) the relevant pattern is only rarely attested".

I remember once coming across a study that looked into basic word order in main clauses in Latin from the 1st c. BC to the 2nd c. AD, and then from the 4th to the 6th, showing the language quickly becoming largely VO (if I recall correctly, it was apparently already mostly VO in the 2nd century) and then only kept becoming VO further so. I believe it's one of the papers in one of these two collections, but sadly I can't just drive to UBC's library due to the virus:

Wright, Roger (ed.). 1991. Latin and the Romance languages in the early Middle Ages.
Wright, Roger (ed.). 2002. A Sociophilological Study of Late Latin. (in one of the papers towards the end that are on grammar changes)


By the way, there is a bit of a famous quote by the grammarian Plotius Sacerdos, from the time after the third-century crisis, where he complains about Cicero's use of monosyllabic forms of esse at the end of sentences:

Antiqui quidem oratores, in quibus maxime Tullius, numquam necessariis sensibus praeposuerunt orationis structuram, sed magis fortiter et gravi compositione quam molliter vel laxe dicere maluerunt, et, cum haberent occasionem sic struendi, quem ad modum nostri temporis homines delectantur, tamquam de industria usi sunt structura forti potius quam delectanti, sicut exemplis Tullianis probare breviter poterimus. Quod in primis est nostro tempore vitiosum, Tullius ille non dubitavit verbo monosyllabo finire structuram, ut est:
- "ab istius petulantia conservare non licitum est" [In Verrem I.14],
- "quae cum his civitatibus G. Verri communicata sunt" [In Caecilium 14],
- et "id quod populus Romanus iam flagitat, extincta atque deleta sit" [said of omnis improbitas, In Caecilium 26; PHI has in Cicero: exstinguenda atque delenda sit].
Hae compositiones demutatae facient nostri temporis structuras sic,
- ex tribrachy et ditrochaeo, "ab istius petulantia non est licitum conservare",
- ex trochaeo et dactylo, "quae sunt G. Verri cum his civitatibus communicata",
- ex ditrochaeo et bacchio a longa, "id quod populus Romanus iam diu efflagitat, extincta sit atque deleta".

He couches his criticism with metre, but I think it's worth suspecting it was at least also motivated by changes in grammar... That said, in the third example he does use extincta sit and not sit extincta, and that one does seem to rely on atque deleta to remain valid. I'm mostly quoting this really because I find it very amusing to see him referring to Cicero's style as vitiosum for his era in the late 3rd century.

(Also, in light of Danckaert's paper, it's amusing to see Plotius Sacerdos using the construction "...probare breviter poterimus", but maybe the late 3rd century is still a bit early... Hmm.)
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
- "ab istius petulantia conservare non licitum est" [In Verrem I.14],
Hmmm ... technically speaking, that one doesn't even finish monosyllabically.

Hae compositiones demutatae facient nostri temporis structuras sic,
- ex tribrachy et ditrochaeo, "ab istius petulantia non est licitum conservare",
- ex trochaeo et dactylo, "quae sunt G. Verri cum his civitatibus communicata",
- ex ditrochaeo et bacchio a longa, "id quod populus Romanus iam diu efflagitat, extincta sit atque deleta".
I have no idea what he means by that.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Hmmm ... technically speaking, that one doesn't even finish monosyllabically.
It optionally can; synaloepha is not mandatory.

I have no idea what he means by that.
I think he's using the metrical terms to talk about groups of syllables by number, completely ignoring traditional vowel length and natural stress. So when he describes licitum conservare as a "tribrach and ditrochee", what he means is licitum as a trisyllabic word (tribrach) and conservare as four-syllable one (ditrochee). He seems to describe the five syllables of communicata as a trochee + dactyl. I'm not sure what ditrochaeus et bacchius a longa would mean for extincta sit atque deleta though.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I think he's using the metrical terms to talk about groups of syllables by number, completely ignoring traditional vowel length and natural stress. So when he describes licitum conservare as a "tribrach and ditrochee", what he means is licitum as a trisyllabic word (tribrach) and conservare as four-syllable one (ditrochee). He seems to describe the five syllablkes of communicata as a trochee + datyl. I'm not sure what ditrochaeus et bacchius a longa would mean for extincta sit atque deleta though (or extinguenda sit atque delenda).
What the hell?
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
What the hell?
Personally I see it as a bullshit explanation to not have to think of the real reason: that putting an auxiliary verb at the end was becoming less acceptable in his day in the late 3rd century, as part of a larger movement towards SVO order, to the point that even a paragon of Latin like Tully was now sounding archaic. You sometimes come across similar bullshit explanations about English grammars from naïve native speakers, which sometimes includes English high school teachers and ESL teachers, explaining something as "tone" or "ugly vs. beautiful sound" to not have to think about grammar or the real patterns of style and genre.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
It optionally can; synaloepha is not mandatory.
I don't think any Roman of Cicero's time would ever not have elided the est there ... apart from that, eliding it gives you the most typical Ciceronian clausula - u - / - - (in this case more precisely - u - / u u - for -vare non/ licitumst)

I think he's using the metrical terms to talk about groups of syllables by number, completely ignoring traditional vowel length and natural stress. So when he describes licitum conservare as a "tribrach and ditrochee", what he means is licitum as a trisyllabic word (tribrach) and conservare as four-syllable one (ditrochee). He seems to describe the five syllablkes of communicata as a trochee + datyl. I'm not sure what ditrochaeus et bacchius a longa would mean for extincta sit atque deleta though.
That makes some sense in the first example ... and it makes sense in the third example if you consider that a in extincta to be longa (which might be what he meant by a longa?!) ... but he's losing me on the 2nd phrase.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
I don't think any Roman of Cicero's time would ever not have elided the est there ... apart from that, eliding it gives you the most typical Ciceronian clausula - u - / - - (in this case more precisely - u - / u u - for -vare non/ licitumst)
Yes, but I'm saying Plotius Sacerdos may have lacked the elision of e-. Also, that clausula of cōnservāre nōn licitum est is nevertheless not a tribrach + ditrochee, so the grammarian is not talking about that.

That makes some sense in the first example ... and it makes sense in the third example if you consider that a in extincta to be longa (which might be what he meant by a longa?!) ... but he's losing me on the 2nd phrase.
I don't think think the -a in extincta can be read as long at all in any way. It's a feminine nominative modifying omnis improbitas (it appears as extinguenda below):

Ego in hoc iudicio mihi Siculorum causam receptam, populi Romani susceptam esse arbitror, ut mihi non unus homo improbus opprimendus sit, id quod Siculi petiverunt, sed omnino omnis improbitas, id quod populus Romanus iamdiu flagitat, exstinguenda atque delenda sit: in quo ego quid eniti aut quid efficere possim, malo in aliorum spe relinquere quam in oratione mea ponere.

I'm not sure how you were solving this in Cicero's wording here, since the length of the -a of extincta seems irrelevant anyway, due to being followed by atque: extinctā atque deleta sit. I can't turn this into a ditrochee + bacchius.

And again, if Plotius Sacerdos is really talking about Cicero's wording, then we must fit example #1 cōnservāre nōn licitum est into a tribrach + ditrochee too, and I see no way to do that either, even if we can indeed fit (com)mūnicāta sunt into a trochee + dactyl the way you proposed.



Maybe if we do that for the grammarian's re-wording instead, on both the -a of extincta and the other -a of deleta, then the thing fits into a ditrochee + a bacchius of sorts, after basically reducing the first -e- of deleta too (dēleō dēlētus):

— u — u | u — —
(extīnc)tā sit atque dĕlētā

Also, if we're going to get into the business of making Plotius' rewordings fit, example #2 cīvitātibus commūnicāta fits into a trochee + (final) dactyl just as it is. That said, this requires talking about the final trochee of dactylic hexametre as a "dactyl". Not sure how good that is.

— u | — x
(cum hīs cīvitātibus com)mūnicāta

...But the only way I could this to fit example #1 into a tribrach + ditrochee would be by going crazy and ignoring the coda consonant of unstressed syllables, namely the pre-consonantal -m of licitum and the -r of cōnservāre, which seems excessive. This is why I said he was probably ignoring the usual rules and just counting syllables per word instead. Although I don't discount that ignoring these -m and -r may have been what he actually meant.

u u u | — u — u
(nōn est) licitu(m) cōnse(r)vāre
 
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Laurentius

Civis Illustris
Maybe a longa means from the long syllable/vowel. I have found a commentary and it seems to say something similar by translating as "a bacchius starting with a long syllable". It also sheds some light on the second example, which appears to be a mistranscription.
 
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