Vol. 56 (2020)

Published September 1, 2020



  • The Transformation of the Vowel System in African Latin With a Focus on Vowel Mergers as Evidenced in Inscriptions and the Problem of the Dialectal Positioning of Roman Africa

    Present paper intends to explore the process of the transformation of the vowel system as evidenced in the pre-Christian and Christian inscriptions of the Roman provinces Africa Pro-consularis including Numidia and Mauretania Caesariensis. With the help of the LLDB-Database, the phonological profiles of the selected African provinces will be drawn and compared to those of six more territorial units, i.e. Sardinia, Hispania, Gallia, Dalmatia, the city of Rome and Bruttium et Lucania. Then the dialectal position of the selected African provinces will be described by various methods of phonological analysis regarding vocalism in both periods. It will be demonstrated how the selected African provinces did not form a homogeneous dialectological area. The vocalism of Latin in later Africa Proconsularis including Numidia turns out to be of the same type as of the later Latin in Sardinia, while the vocalism of the Latin in later Mauretania Caesariensis might have started to develop toward the eastern or Balkan type of vocalism. Regarding consonantism, especially the b-w merger, later Mauretania Caesariensis shows explicitly different trends from what we see in later Africa Proconsularis.

  • Parallel Phrases and Interaction in Greek and Latin Magical Texts.: The Pannonian Set of Curse Tablets

    Magical texts represent an inexhaustible source for the phenomena of an ancient language for special purposes. The scope of this paper is limited to the different kinds of word-borrowings in the Pannonian set of curse tablets. One-language, well written and easily readable magical texts can be difficult to understand while explicit and unambiguous wording is expected in such practical genre like curses which level at definite persons. Harmful curse tablets and protective amulets, however, can be obscure. This study aims to give a comprehensive account of the possible reasons why these texts have a cloudy style, with special outlook of parallel phrases in Greek pieces of evidence.

  • Linguistic Peculiarities in the Latin Inscriptions of Potaissa (Dacia)

    Around 200 inscriptions have been found at Potaissa so far. Some of them disappeared and their texts are known to us exclusively from publications, others are kept in museum collections. The subject of this study is their linguistic examination, by following the peculiarities and the deviations from the classical norms of the language. When possible, this data will be related to details on the donors, on the provenance of the epigraphs, on their type, and on other information that can contribute to shaping the cultural-linguistic profile of the Roman town.

  • Orthography as Described in Latin Grammars and Spelling in Latin Epigraphic Texts

    This paper examines writing and orthography in the work of Latin grammarians and spelling variants in epigraphic texts. It focuses on the uses of the letter H and the spelling of the word sepulchrum. The word’s spelling seems to be connected to the spelling of other words through the adjective pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum. The analysis indicates that the teaching and learning of orthography had a limited influence on epigraphic texts, but there is evidence of the consistently high frequency of the spelling sepulcrum. The paper also shows how data on Latin orthography can help in understanding the chronology of the evolution of spelling in epigraphic texts.

  • Frameworks of Reference in the Identification of Latin Dialects

    Various studies proved that the methodology of J. Herman produces plausible and verifiable results in the field of Latin dialectology, but certain methodological questions remained still unanswered regarding our points of reference in the decision which proportions of the data of the inscriptional faults are classified significant; how to decide on the basis of the proportion of a certain error type if a certain linguistic change was in progress, if it was completed, or if it was not active in the examined territory; which types of errors can serve as base or bases of comparison for a specific examined error type; which periods and territories should be the point of reference in comparisons. In the present study, we attempt to give answers to these questions by running statistical surveys using different points of reference in statistical significance and different bases of comparisons in the error types, and we set up a list of expected results based on the known tendencies of sound changes in Vulgar Latin against which we will measure the actual results of the survey in order to determine which methods were the most effective in meeting the expected picture that we already know about the development of Romance languages.

  • CIL III 9527 as Evidence of Spoken Latin in the Sixth-century Dalmatia

    The epitaph of Priest Iohannes (CIL III 9527, Salona, August 13, 599 or AD 603) is one of the few inscriptions from the sixth-century Salona, which can be dated with precision. It is also one of the rare inscriptions from Dalmatia of this period, which mention a person (proconsul Marcellinus) known from other sources (Registrum epistularum of Pope Gregory the Great). However, its linguistic importance seems to be summarized in the remark of its most recent editor Nancy Gauthier (2010) that the language of the epitaph reflects the features of Latin spoken in Dalmatia at the time (“la langue vivante”). The aim of this paper was to check the plausibility of this statement by comparing the Vulgar Latin features in the inscription with the results of research on Latin in late Dalmatia. Also, a new interpretation of the word obsis l. 13 is proposed.

  • A Preliminary Investigation on the / Graphemic Oscillation in Latin Inscriptions From Rome: The Relationship Between Vowel Alternations, Lexical Stress and Syllabic Structure

    This paper is aimed at supplementing the results obtained in Papini 2019. In particular, I will consider the position of the investigated <ae>/<ĕ> and <ae>/<ē> graphemic oscillations with respect to both 1) lexical stress (distinguishing between misspellings occurring in stressed and unstressed position) and 2) syllabic structure (i.e., open vs closed syllables). The aim of the present paper is to verify whether the relationship between the investigated spelling variations and these two variables might be regarded as simply due to chance.

  • A Study on the Weakening of the Word Final –s Compared to –m in the Epigraphic Corpus

    The position of the word final –s, after a weakening in archaic Latin, seems to be fixed in the spoken language in the classical period. Then, it partially disappeared in the Romance languages: in modern languages, it is conserved only north and west of the Massa–Senigallia line, while we cannot find it neither in the eastern regions nor in South Italy. Based on this fact, linguists generally claim that the weakening of the final –s started only after the intensive dialectal diversification of Latin, simultaneously with the evolution of the Romance languages. However, the data of the Computerized Historical Linguistic Database of Latin Inscriptions of the Imperial Age (LLDB) do not verify this generally accepted opinion. We can find almost as many examples of the lack of word final –s as that of –m also from the earlier centuries of the Imperial age. The aim of this paper is to explore the reasons behind the inconsistencies between the scholarly consensus and the epigraphical data.

  • Remarks on Vowel Deletion in Latin Inscriptions From Sardinia

    Abstract: This paper focuses on the frequency of vowel deletion in a corpus containing the available Latin inscriptions from Sardinia. The frequency of the phenomenon has been examined with reference to the amount of other deviant spellings displayed in the epigraphic texts, the dating and the type of the inscriptions involved. The results of the analysis show a very low frequency of vowel deletion in the inscriptions from the island, which is consistent with the Romance evolution of the Sardinian varieties. In particular, late syncope is infrequent, especially when its relative frequency is compared with that provided for other areas of the Empire. Therefore, though it is possible to find a correlation between the data from Latin inscriptions and Romance, our results reinforce the conclusions put forward by Adamik,1 according to which the allegedly high frequency of syncope in late Latin and the assumption of a pan-Romance core of Romance syncope is not supported by inscriptional evidence.

  • Consonantal Degemination in Latin Inscriptions of the Roman Empire:: A Dialectological and Sociolinguistic Perspective

    In this paper, a survey is conducted on the phenomenon of consonantal degemination through the corpus of epigraphic materials. The aim of this research is to understand the nature of this phenomenon and its possible implications in the field of dialectological studies.

  • Minitrae Et Numini Eius. A Celtic Deity and the Vulgar Latin in Aquincum

    The subject of this paper is a curious and somewhat problematic inscription on an altar from Aquincum. Among the many features of this inscription that are interesting for our study, the most striking one is the beginning of the text: the name of the god or goddess is controversial. Who exactly was Minitra? A Celtic goddess, or someone much better known from Roman religious life? According to Géza Alföldy, the native gods of Pannonia were venerated still in the 3rd century A.D., including Teutates, Sedatus, Ciniaemus and Minitra, etc. Since the inscription in question contains many vulgar Latin phenomena, it becomes questionable whether the name of the deity is written correctly, especially because, while the names of classical gods rarely appear misspelled, the names of the gods of so-called ‘eastern’ cults and mystery religions appear in a number of faulty variations. I will try to identify the deity through the analysis of Vulgar Latin phenomena.

  • Honesty, Shame, Courage: Reconsidering the Socratic Elenchus

    The elenchus (gr. ἔλεγχος, literally “argument of disproof”, “refutation”, “cross-examining”) is the core of the Socratic method represented by Plato in his early dialogues. This enquiring technique, employed by Socrates to question his interlocutors about the nature or definition of ethical concepts, is the object of a never-ending scholarly debate, concerning especially its primary purpose: is it a positive method, leading to knowledge, or is it rather a negative method, aiming exclusively at refuting the interlocutor’s belief? This paper, through the analysis of some key passages in Plato’s early dialogues, focuses on the structural features of the elenchus in order to understand how the elenctic refutation is developed, why Socrates chooses a dialectical method often ending in aporia, and whether the Socratic method can be considered, not merely an instrument aiming at the recognition of one’s ignorance, but primarily a positive search for knowledge.

  • Contextualising Fregellae: Local Interests in a “Globalised” Mediterranean

    The article employs the Latin colony of Fregellae as a case study to overcome the communis opinio that colonial settlements were parva simulacra Urbis (Gell. XVI.13.9). In particular, the colony, initially founded by Rome in the context of the Second Samnite War, could move away from the Urbs and develop localised interests. Such interests could be explained through a dynamic contact between colonists and local populations, thus forming a variegated social landscape which did not necessarily display cultural similarity with Rome. Similarly, the cityscape could be employed to ascertain how certain colonies chose architectural solutions which took into account localised needs. It is in this context that the article will examine the alliance between Fregellae and Rome in light of the Second Punic War. Traditionally interpreted as a demonstration of blind loyalty, the article will put forth the idea that the colony could decide its alliances in view of potential benefits, which, in the case of Fregellae, were manifested in the economic and military advantages reaped in the eastern Mediterranean. Interestingly, these benefits affected the colony and, more specifically, its architectural facade, as seen in the building activity carried out in the period immediately after the endeavours in the East.

  • The Comoedia Togata, a ‘Roman’ Literary Genre?

    This paper aims to shed fresh light on the Togata. By analysing the extant fragments, I will investigate if and in what sense it may be defined as a ‘Roman’ literary genre. I will focus on its ‘Roman-ness’, and I will highlight that it is a complex concept, without the ‘nationalistic’ connotations that one normally gives to the notion. I will demonstrate that the Togata is ‘Roman’ because it betrayed an attempt at creating a genre distinguished from the Palliata, and it had a widespread ‘Roman’ patina, with settings, names, and stereotypes which one would not find in other contemporary genres, in particular the Palliata. At the same time, I will also reflect on the fact that the Togata was a multifarious genre, with Latin, Italic, and Greek elements, and I will show that this was, paradoxically, another aspect of its ‘Roman-ness’.

  • Fathers and Sons Catullan Echoes of Remembering and Forgetting in Vergil’s Aeneid

    In Vergil’s Aeneid the problematics of remembering and forgetting emerge as an issue of essential importance: the Trojans – somewhat paradoxically – have to bring about both of them in order to be able to found a new native land in Italy. The matter in question emphatically occurs in two speeches of fathers given to their sons in the epic: in that of the shade of Anchises given to Aeneas in Book 5 and in that of Aeneas given to Ascanius in Book 12. These passages both recall the speech of Aegeus to Theseus in Catullus 64, in which the father aims to ‘program’ his son’s mind to remember his instructions. It will be of fundamental importance to observe the way the Catullan text presenting the failure of this kind of ‘mnemotechnical’ remembering encodes forgetting into the Vergilian passages mentioned above, by means of intertextual connections.

  • Velleius Paterculus and the Roman Senate at the Beginning of the Principate

    The “Roman history” by Velleius Paterculus is the sole historiographical work written by a contemporary of Augustus and Tiberius. The paper deals with representation of the Roman Senate of Velleius’ time in his work. I argue that in his compendium the historian reflected the ambivalent position of the Senate under the first two Roman Emperors. He depicts the institution as more passive in comparison with its description in the previous period and as depending on the Princeps. At the same time this Roman author characterizes the Senate as having maiestas, the notion which was not connected with this authority under the Republic. Assigning of maiestas to the Senate by Velleius reflects a deep change in the position of the curia due to decline of the popular assemblies’ significance at the beginning of the Principate.

  • Fleeing Sisters: the Golden Age in Juvenal 6

    The opening of Juvenal’s longest and maybe the most well-known poem, Satire 6, is based on the ancient concept of the “Ages of Man”, starting from the reign of Saturn and ending with the flight of the two sisters, Pudicitia and Astraea. The first part of this 24-line-long passage depicts the Golden Age by making use of two different sources: the idealized Golden Age appearing in Vergil’s poetry among others and the prehistoric primitive world from Book 5 of Lucretius. The Juvenalian Golden Age, presented briefly in a naturalistic way, is a curious amalgam of these two traditions, being the only time in human history according to the poet when marital fidelity was unblemished. However, while reading Satire 6, it seems far from obvious that the lack of adultery should be attributed to higher morals.

  • From Grief to Superbia: the Myth of Niobe in Greek and Roman Funerary Art

    The Greek myth of Niobe was known in the ancient world both by literary sources and visual representations. Both in Ancient Greece and in Ancient Rome, the myth was represented, alongside a variety forms of art, in funerary art, but in a different manner during each period of time. In Ancient Greece, the myth was represented on Apulian and South Italian vases, portraying the finale scene of the myth: Niobe’s petrification. In Ancient Rome, a shift is visible: the portrayal of the scene of the killing of Niobe’s children on sarcophagi reliefs. The aim of this paper is to follow the iconography of each culture and to understand the reason for the shift in representation, while comparing the two main media forms.

  • Life and Work of Prague Master Simon of Tišnov

    The Bohemian Reformation is a widely researched topic. However, not enough attention is given to all participants during the course events. The aim of this article is to introduce the life and literary work of the little-known University of Prague Master, Simon of Tišnov (ca. 1370–1432), a medieval scholar with roots in the Moravian town called Tišnov, a defender of John Wycliffe’s philosophy, an ardent supporter of the Bohemian reformation movement and, eventually, an objector, or rather an opponent, of those who followed the teachings of John Wycliffe and John Hus. The article is focused on Simon’s very first publication, viz. the Defensio of John Wycliffe’s treatise De probationibus propositionum which is also known under the title Logicae continuatio.

  • On the Manuscript(s) of Lazius’ Description of Transylvania

    The upsurge of cosmographical and geographical literature can be seen in humanist circles from the 14th century onwards. Beside chorography, the encomium of towns and cities was also a popular genre; some elements of ethnography, natural, economic and political geography were also built into the histography. A century later, this tendency reached Hungary and the social aspiration to presentation of the country appeared in Hungary too. Owing to these factors, chorography of Hungary was written by Miklós Oláh; humanist historians (for instance Antonio Bonfini) also incorporeted geographical digression into their work. Not only descriptions of Hungary, but some geographical descriptions of Transilvania were made in the second half of the 16th century; one of these was written by a 16 th century Viennese humanist polyhistor, Wolfgang Lazius. The purpose of this paper is to provide a description of the three textual variants of the manuscript of the Transylvania-description by Lazius, to explore their relationship to each other, and to establish their order of composition.

  • Religious Vocabulary in Demosthenes’ Speech Against Timocrates

    In this study I argue that the words “ἱερόσυλος” (temple-robber) and “κατάρατος” (accursed) are key elements in Demosthenes’ speech against Timocrates. In both cases, I argue that in this speech elements of religious vocabulary are clearly used: Demosthenes legitimately and convincingly uses such strong expressions against his opponents. As these words rarely occur in texts of the classical period, I shell examine in parallel the prose texts of the fifth to third centuries BC, furthermore the epigraphical sources and the dramas, which are the primary requirements to understanding the role of these words in argument.

  • Callidus and Comedy: a New Argument for an Old Etymology

    In the corpora of republican authors and the glosses of late antique grammarians, the lexemes callidus and calliditas are used to describe a certain variety of intelligence, which is often translated into English as “cleverness” or “cunning.” This paper looks more closely at these lexemes in order to explain how the root call- (“hard”) came to be associated with mental capacity and acuity. In short, I argue that the type of intelligence that callidus originally denoted ought to be linked to the brutal treatment of slaves and the coping mechanisms that they had to develop in light of their condition as chattel. Not only is this violent form of education depicted in Plautus’ comedies, but its implications and logic can also be found in later authors such as Cicero.

  • Virgil’s Dido and the Death of Marcus Antonius

    Virgil’s account of the death of Dido at the end of Aeneid IV has been the subject of an appreciably extensive critical bibliography. What has not been recognized to date has been the influence of the tradition of the suicide of the former triumvir Marcus Antonius on Virgil’s depiction of Dido’s demise.