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The vivo suo formula, as a possible manifestation of the interconnection of the Greek and Latin languages in Moesia Inferior
Published August 10, 2020

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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