Classical Quarterly 35 (3-4):127- (1941)
AbstractFollowing the example of the late Professor R. S. Conway, who in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philological Society, vol. v, part i , discussed ‘The Use of the Singular Nos in Cicero's Letters’, I examined Catullus’ employment of the idiom in an article published in Mnemosyne, series iii, vol. vii, fasc. 2 , pp. 148–56. While the usage of Catullus exemplified various of Conway's indisputable types of the singular nos, such as the Plural of Authorship and the Plural of Proprietorship, my observations did not confirm his main thesis of a ‘projective’ use, which L. C. Purser reviewing his rnonograph called ‘a Pluralis Dignitatis or Fiduciae, not to say Adrogantiae’, in direct contrast to the orthodox pluralis modestiae. I found that, where the use of nos related to a state of mind of the writer or speaker, not merely to circumstances of his environment, the usage in Catullus was either a pluralis modestiae or one of several derivative types. My examination of Virgil seems wholly to confirm the conclusions reached concerning Catullus, whose types of singular nos I classified as follows: the Plural of Proprietorship ; the Traveller's Plural ; the Local Plural ; the Plural of Authorship ; the Social and Domestic Plural ; the pluralis modestiae , pp. 87–9); the Plural of Pleading or Requesting; the Plural of Pathos or Self-pity. Of these , , , and are a product of circumstances of environment and relate to a group of which the speaker or writer is a member; , , , and express an attitude or state of mind. Virgil's examples of the usage fall into six of these categories, and being absent. For the purposes of the present study I shall, in order to indicate more clearly the connexion between and , and the subjective character of , number the six Virgilian categories as follows: the Plural of Proprietorship; the Social and Domestic Plural; the Plural of Authorship; the pluralis modestiae; the Plural of Pleading or Requesting; the Plural of Pathos, Self-pity, or Complaint
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