Current Issue

Vol 55 (2019)

Published September 1, 2019



The transformation of the case system in African Latin as evidenced in inscriptions

Present paper intends to explore the process of the transformation of the case system as evidenced in the inscriptions of the Roman provinces Africa Proconsularis and Numidia. First the peculiarities of the transformation of the case system in African Latin in the preChristian and Christian periods will be analysed. Then the African distributio...nal patterns of case system changes will be compared to those of other regions of the Empire selected for the survey including Spain, Gaul (including Germany), Italy, Illyricum, and the city of Rome. Finally, the results of the present analysis, especially those regarding the dialectological positioning of Roman Africa, will be compared with the results of the investigation of Gaeng 1992 regarding the later, Christian period.

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Mala bestia foras dato. Spelling mistakes and loan phrases as means of interpretation of a Latin magical text

In 1911, Auguste Audollent received a lead tablet with a Latin inscription on both sides coming from North Africa. It was lying almost undetected and forgotten for nearly one hundred years until the Hungarian visiting professor György Németh rediscovered it in the storage room of the Musée Bargoin in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The recently fi...nished complete reading of the text and its commentary will be published soon by Gy. Németh and the author of the present paper. This article aims to consider all the word forms and phrases of the tablet which differ from the Latin standard in order to look for an answer if the target, the context and the sources can be identified with the help of linguistic tools.

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Latinization of the north-western provinces: sociolinguistics, epigraphy and bilingualism. A preliminary study on the area of Nijmegen

The ERC research project LatinNow (Latinisation of the north-western provinces), is intended to be a broad-based investigation of linguistic change in the north-western Empire (namely Britain, Gaul, Germanies, Noricum, Raetia and Iberia). Drawing upon sociolinguistics, bilingualism studies, digital epigraphy, and archaeology, specifically the a...nalysis of writing materials, the area of Nijmegen has been used as a starting point, showing the different phonological features available and how they are distributed on the different writing materials, in terms of studying changes in the Germanies.

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The Endovellicus sanctuary in Portugal: An example of language variation throughout votive inscriptions in Latin

This paper offers a linguistic analysis of epigraphic texts originating in the Endovellicus sanctuary, with particular reference to their use of and variation in Latin. As this sanctuary was visited by mostly local pilgrims from Roman times to late antiquity, the aim of the linguistic analysis is to identify linguistic variation in the... sanctuary’s votive texts. The paper also demonstrates that differences in the spellings of the name of the god worshipped in the sanctuary may show characteristics of Vulgar Latin. The epigraphic corpus under study shows various Vulgar Latin traits common to other epigraphic texts known in Lusitania in the same period, with examples of the literary influence and high-level use of the Latin language, which may be related to the high social and cultural status of certain worshippers.

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Phonetic changes in the Latin of Noricum

Previous studies analyzed the Vulgar Latin of the inscriptions of Pannonia Inferior, Dalmatia and Venetia et Histria, comparing the differences between the provincial capitals and the countryside of the provinces, in order to verify the hypothesis of Untermann (1980) and Herman (1983) about the existence of a larger regional dialect of Latin the Alps–Danube–Adria region. The analyses made clear that these geographic unites don’t constitute a solid and uniform dialectal area, but there are undeniable common characteristics, such as the weakness of the /w/~/b/ merger or the lack of sonorization, which allow us to suppose that the Vulgar Latin variants of these provinces were somewhat more connected among each other than with the rest of the empire. This study involves another province of the Alps–Danube–Adria region, Noricum, in the examination, systematically discusses the changes in the vowel and consonant systems based on the relative distribution of diverse types of non-standard data from the inscriptions of Noricum, and contrasts the linguistic phenomena of an earlier period (1st–3rd c. AD) with a later stage (4th–6th c. AD) of Vulgar Latin, attempting to define whether Noricum fits common characteristics found in the other provinces of the Alps–Danube–Adria region.

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Some preliminary remarks concerning sociolinguistic variation within the „Vulgar” Latin vowel system: as evidenced by the inscriptional data

This paper aims to investigate whether a statistical analysis of linguistic data in inscriptions may serve for the study of sociolinguistic variation within the Latin Language. In particular, this study focuses on the quantitative vs. qualitative phonemic opposition within the vowel system of the so-called “Vulgar” Latin. In order to do so,... we will study the relative frequency of the <ae>/<ē> and <ae>/<ĕ> graphemic oscillations in three different corpora of both synchronic and syntopic - but diaphasically and diastratically different - inscriptions from the city of Rome (cf. Mancini 2014). All the inscriptions considered in this sample date back from ca. 50 AD to ca. 250 AD (the last date referring to the “end” ofso-called Classical Latin according to Adamik 2015). Our results may point to the existence of a “disturbance” within the quantitative-based vowel system of Classical Latin, at least as far as some sub-standard varieties of the language are concerned.

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The vivo suo formula, as a possible manifestation of the interconnection of the Greek and Latin languages in Moesia Inferior

The paper focuses on a strange variant of the se vivo expression which can be found mostly in Moesia Inferior: the vivo suo fecit formula. It appears only in twelve inscriptions, but that makes up one third of all the occurrences of the se vivo fecit expression in this region. How can we account for this formula, whic...h cannot be explained by the classical Latin grammar? This intriguing form has attracted the attention of Giovanbattista Galdi, who in 2002 dedicated a paper to the possible origin of the formula. In this paper, he claims that the vivo suo form is the result of the interconnection of the Latin and Greek languages in Moesia Inferior, since the expression usually occurs in areas populated by Greeks. Galdi attributes the emergence of the formula to the fact that the Greek language does not have a possessive pronoun (like the Latin suus), but uses the genitive case of the reflexive pronoun (ἑαυτοῦ) to express the possessive relation. According to this theory the bilingual environment in Moesia Inferior, and more specifically the aforementioned Greek structure caused a confusion in Latin in the use of the possessive pronoun (suus) and the reflexive pronoun (se). The aim of my paper is to examine Galdi’s argument and to point out the problematic elements of this theory.

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The confusion between <B> and <V> in Latin inscriptions from Sardinia

This paper focuses on the distribution of the alternation of <B> and <V> in a corpus of Latin inscriptions from Sardinia (1st century BC – 7th century AD). The distribution of the graphemes has been related to the dating and the provenance place of the inscriptions, and the total number of occurrences has been compared with the nu...mber of corresponding forms in Classical Latin. The amount of other consonantal misspellings in the texts has been examined as well, in order to verify whether the absence of misspellings could be due to a high degree of literacy of those involved in the crafting of the inscriptions. The results of the survey show a widespread graphemic confusion between <B> and <V> in the island, especially from the third century AD. In most of the cases, Classical Latin /w/ is represented as <B>, both in initial and internal position. It will be shown that the examination of the variables considered here could shed light on the evolution of Latin /b/ and /w/ in Sardinia.

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The role of archaisms in the Latin inscriptions of the Roman Empire: some new considerations in light of computerized dialectology

This paper aims to reconsider the role of archaisms in epigraphy and, above all, their possible dialectal value. Indeed, according to a traditional theory, provinces that were colonized earlier by the Romans preserved archaic varieties of Latin. Scholars have often used inscriptions to support this idea, particularly in the case of Hispania..., but the results of this paper, which rely on the methodology of modern Computerized Dialectology, are negative in this regard.

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Byzantine epigrams on the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.: The case of Georgios Pisides

This article is dealing with issues of the Cross alongside the epigrams related to the Crucifixion written by a distinguished Byzantine scholar of the 7th century, Georgios Pisidis, focusing our attention and scope on particular aspects of those epigrams such as the possible influences and impact from literary texts previously and later written... and most noticeable motifs.

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Epic meals: Who should read epic poetry in Rome?

In this paper, the presence of food and dinners in connection with epic poetry in three different Juvenalian poems is discussed. The first is Satire 4 containing a mock-epic, the plot of which revolves around a giant turbot that is described with epic-style elements, and that is given to the emperor Domitian characterized by uncontroll...ed gluttony. The other two poems, Satires 5 and 11, both focusing on dinner parties, are in connection with the epic genre as well: while in the closing poem of Book 1, several epic connotations appear in the description of the gluttonous Virro’s extravagant dinner, in Satire 11, the enjoyment of epic poetry is praised and compared to an almost pornographic dance performance in a luxurious feast. Reading the three poems together, it might be proved from another aspect that we have to make a distinction between the Juvenalian evaluation of topics described using epic-style elements and the epic poetry itself.

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Augustus as Princeps Senatus

Octavian took the title of princeps senatus during the first lectio senatus of his long reign. The article deals with the role of the title of princeps of the Senate in the system of government under Augustus. I argue that the first Roman Emperor attached importance to his position of the princeps senatus not only in the context of the First se...ttlement but during his whole long reign. The Emperor was eager to highlight the overall importance of this post. Moreover, he defined his place in the Senate with this position and it had functional significance for him during sessions of the consilium publicum. The restoration of the title of princeps senatus took place in a new circumstance. The reality of the epoch led to some transformations in the title’s functionality.

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Myth and philosophy: The Great Sinner’s topos in Ovid, Lucretius and Seneca

In my paper I examine the occurrence of a repeated pattern, namely the catalogue of the so-called Great Sinners, in the work of three Latin authors: Ovid, Lucretius and Seneca. Through the hermeneutical category of (external) intertextuality, the paper explores how the same Leitmotiv is profitably employed by different authors across d...iverse genres and contexts, changing certain features while retaining the same core. Specifically, it will be shown that these Latin writers drew the list of the Great Sinners from previous sources, but that they also adapted the catalogue to the content and patterns of their own works. Finally, it is noted that these three occurrences of the catalogue should be seen more generally as a specimen for the process of imitatio/aemulatio of previous traditions brought forth by classical writers.

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Chronicle of the first planned excavation in Hungary: István Schönvisner and De ruderibus

The excavation carried out by István Schönvisner, under what is today Florian Square (Budapest, Distr. III.), next to the Villa Torcularia, during which he revealed the sudatorium of Aquincum’s bigger bath, the Thermae Maiores began on 10th February 1778. Thanks to this excavation and the rapid publication of the results, ...the professor of antiquity and numismatics of Buda University became the founder of provincial archaeological research in Pannonia. In the same year he published the results of the exploration in De Ruderibus Laconici Caldariique Romani..., which – like Schönvisner’s other works – is revolutionary. He systematically processed the inscribed and figurative fragments which were discovered during the excavation and gave a complete overview of the era’s cultural history. In this paper, I would like to demonstrate the historical and cultural historical importance of this work, present its structure, the topics discussed, and the results by which István Schönvisner laid down the foundations of scientific classical archaeology in Hungary.

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Commune sepulcrum: The ‘Catullan’ Memory of Troy in Vergil’s Aeneid

In Roman literature, Troy appears as a locus memoriae on several occasions. As a locus memoriae is an image of a location’s past state, it inevitably recalls that past state’s absence in the present. Troy as a literary locus memoriae recalls its own present absence, that it is only a ruin, or – according to Luca...n – even less than a ruin. In this context, a literary phenomenon, i. e. the depiction of Troy being the equivalent of the absence of/or the grief for the loss of something or somebody can later be traced in the Roman poetry. Catullus, mourning his brother’s death at Troy, calls the city the common grave (commune sepulcrum) of Asia and Europe in his carmen 68. Regarding Troy, several complex allusions can be noticed in Vergil’s Aeneid recalling both Catullus 68 and 101, the two poems that are in both thematic and intertextual connection with each other. The purpose of the present study is to examine – by means of analysing the above mentioned intertexts – what kind of special locus memoriae Troy becomes in the Aeneid. This will be of crucial importance to observe the way Troy later appears in Lucan’s Bellum Civile.

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Some notes on the literature on ancient didactic poetry

The student of ancient didactic poetry has to face a complex web of modern findings and opinions about the genre. This paper attempts to present a few prominent studies from some specific points of view, such as the ways in which they describe the genre (with categorizations and sets of criteria) and in which they delineate ancient views on the... genre. The levels of a historical approach and self-awareness in these studies are also examined.

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