The elements which every schoolboy learns on beginning Latin Verse Composition include a number of rules which seem arbitrarily designed to make the game harder. In hexameters, he is told, he must have a masculine caesura either in the third foot or in the second and fourth, and end normally with a disyllabic or a trisyllable; in pentameters he must end with a disyllabic; and in neither line may a single monosyllable stand at the end. Rarely, in my experience, is (...) any reason given him by way of redress, and he will search for one in vain in most of the school text-books, in introductions like Postgate's to Tibullus and Propertius, and in histories of Latin literature like Wight Duff's and Mackail's. This reticence may be due to the dissensions of experts on this subject and on the subject of Latin accentuation in general, but the theory that predominates in England, among those who hold a theory at all, explains so many of the phenomena that it deserves to be more widely and precisely known. The most detailed exposition of it is by E. H. Sturtevant, who summed up his analyses in a pair of articles in the Transactions of the American Philological Association in 1923–4. While his careful work is invaluable as marshalling the statistics and evidence, it errs on the side of excessive minuteness, and leaves room not merely for some additions, but for a different kind of treatment concerned less with bare statistics and more with poetic principles and historical development. Since Latin Verse Composition plays such an important part in English higher classical education, it seems desirable that a less technical and more accessible account should be available for English readers. Such an account I attempt to give here, keeping separate as far as possible the exposition and the consideration of the criticisms and rival theories that have been advanced. (shrink)
As in literature poetry precedes prose, so in poetry a special and ‘heightened’ diction seems to precede everyday language. Mr.T.S.Eliot has put it thus: ‘Every revolution in poetry is apt to be, and sometimes to announce itself as, a return to common speech.’ How does this apply to Greek and Latin ? There are objections to considering words in isolation from this point of view, since neutral ones are apt to go now grey, now purple, according to their company; but (...) if we do not do so, we deny ourselves the only considerable method of investigation that is still open to us. Again, we must recognize that most poems are composed largely of ordinary words, though these are often used in a way that is not ordinary. (shrink)
In his valuable contribution to the Fondation Hardt Entretiens of 1960 on Hesiod Professor La Penna dealt with the famous ‘theodicy of labour’ in Virgil, Georgics I. 118–59. He recalled that, whereas Hesiod made Prometheus' trickery the reason for Zeus' hiding fire and the other goods and so rendering labour necessary, Virgil omits mention of Prometheus or of any element of guilt.
The fragmentary columns of the Fourth Book of Philodemus' περ μονσικς were the first-fruits of Herculaneum, published in 1793, with venturesome reconstructions and learned notes, by the Academici of Naples. Fragments of the other books occur in four volumes of the Collectio Altera of 1862–5. A. Teubner Text by J. Kemke, a pupil of Bücheler, appeared in 1884, upon which Gomperz made a number of improvements in a pamphlet published in the following year. Otherwise, save for a few pages in (...) H. Abert's Die Lehre vom Ethos in der griechischen Musik published in 1899, the work has attracted very little attention; which is scarcely surprising in view of the state of the text and the peculiar awkwardness of Philodemus' Greek. (shrink)
In C.Q. xliii , p. 39, Mr. J. H. Quincey quotes the opening lines of Catalepton 5 as, Ite hinc,-inanes, ite, rhetorum ampullae, inflata rhoso* non Achaico verba, and adds, ‘the second line is corrupt and no satisfactory emendation has been proposed’. The MS. readings are: rhorso B, roso Mu, om. in lacuna Ar. In face of these voces nihili many have fallen back on the rore of the Aldine edition of 1517. But this does not really help, for one (...) does not inflate with dew: orators are not dew-bags, but wind-bags. It occurred to me some years ago that what is needed is some word meaning breath or wind to go with inflata, and that in view of the rh in rhorso it was probably a Greek word which a scribe had failed to recognize. I conjectured οζ, and found subsequently that this had been proposed by K. Münscher in Hermes, xlvii , pp. 153–4. οȋζος used of any rushing sound, is applied to speech by Philostratus , and by Pollux . It is easy to see how rhoezo could degenerate into rhoeso-rhoso-roso. (shrink)
It has been pointed out to me that in my article on ‘The Augustan Rules for Dactylic Verse’ I misrepresented an observation of Maas as reported by Wilamowitz in his Griechische Verskunst, p. 53. Wilamowitz' words are: ‘Wenn Tibull und Ovid den Pentameter so bauen, dass die vorletzte Silbe betont wird, tun sie das nach dem Vorgange gleichzeitiger griechischer Epigrammatiker.’ This means, of course, that the Greek writers mentioned ended with a paroxytone word, not necessarily with a disyllable, as I (...) assumed it to mean, and I apologize for the oversight. (shrink)