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[2arg] Of a disgraceful blunder of Caesellius Vindex, which we find in his work entitled Archaic Terms.

IN those highly celebrated notes of Caesellius Vindex On Archaic Terms we find a shameful oversight, although in fact the man is seldom caught napping. This error has escaped the notice of many, in spite of their diligent search for opportunities to find fault with Caesellius, even through misrepresentation. Now, Caesellius wrote that Quintus Ennius, in the thirteenth book of his Annals, used cor in the masculine gender.

I add Caesellius' own words: “Ennius used cor, like many other words, in the masculine gender; for in Annals xiii. he wrote quem cor.” He then quoted two verses of Ennius 1 :

While Hannibal, of bold breast, did me exhort
Not to make war, what heart thought he was mine?
[p. 9] The speaker is Antiochus, king of Asia. He is surprised and indignant that Hannibal, the Carthaginian, discourages his desire to make war on the people of Rome. 2 Now, Caesellius understands the lines to mean that Antiochus says: “Hannibal dissuades me from making war. In so doing, what kind of heart does he think I have, and how foolish does he believe me to be, when he gives me such advice?”

So Caesellius; but Ennius' meaning was quite different. For there are three verses, not two, which belong to this utterance of the poet's, and Caesellius overlooked the third verse:

Through valour war's great advocate and friend.
The meaning and arrangement of these three verses I believe to be this: “Hannibal, that boldest and most valiant of men, who I believed (for that is the meaning of cor meum credidit, exactly as if he had said “who l, foolish man, believed”) would strongly advise war, discourages and dissuades me from making war.” Caesellius, however, somewhat carelessly misled as to the connection of the words, assumed that Ennius said quem cor, reading quem with an acute accent, 3 as if it belonged with cor and not with Hannibal. But I am well aware that one might, if anyone should have so little understanding, defend Caesellius' masculine cor by maintaining that the third verse should be read apart from the others, as if Antiochus had exclaimed in broken and abrupt language “a mighty adviser!” But those who would argue thus do not deserve a reply.

[p. 11]

1 381 ff., Vahlen2.

2 Antiochus did not follow Hannibal's advice and suffered a crushing defeat at Thermopylae in 191 B.C.

3 The interrogative quem would be stressed (have “an acute accent”), while the relative quem would not (i.e., would have a grave accent).

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LEX
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