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[12arg] On words which are used with two opposite meanings, both active and passive.

As the adjective formidulosus may be used both of one who fears and of one who is feared, invidiosus of [p. 189] one who envies and of one who is envied, suspiciosus of one who suspects and of one who is suspected, ambitiosus of one who courts favour and of one who is courted, gratiosus also of one who gives, and of one who receives, thanks, laboriosus of one who toils and of one who causes toil—as many other words of this kind are used in both ways, so infestus too has a double meaning. For he is called infestus who inflicts injury on anyone, and on the other hand he who is threatened with injury from another source is also said to be infestus.

But the meaning which I gave first surely needs no illustration, so many are there who use infestus in the sense of hostile and adverse; but that second meaning is less familiar and more obscure. For who of the common run would readily call a man infestus to whom another is hostile? However, not only did many of the earlier writers speak in that way, but Marcus Tullius also gave the word that meaning in the speech which he wrote In Defence of Gnaeus Plancius, saying: 1 “I were grieved, gentlemen of the jury, and keenly distressed, if this man's safety should be more endangered (infestior) for the very reason that he had protected my life and safety by his own kindliness, protection and watchfulness.” Accordingly, I inquired into the origin and meaning of the word and found this statement in the writings of Nigidius: 2Infestus is derived from festinare,” says he, “for one who threatens anyone, and is in haste to attack him, and hurries eagerly to crush him; or on the other hand one whose peril and ruin are being hastened— both of these are called infestus from the urgent imminence of the injury which one is either about to inflict on someone, or to suffer.” 3

[p. 191] Now, that no one may have to search for an example of suspiciosus, which I mentioned above, and of formidulosus in its less usual sense, Marcus Cato, On the properly of Florius, used suspiciosus as follows: 4 “But except in the case of one who practised public prostitution, or had hired himself out to a procurer, even though he had been ill-famed and suspected suspiciousus, they decided that it was unlawful to use force against the person of a freeman.” For in this passage Cato uses suspicious in the sense of “suspected,” not that of “suspecting.” Sallust too in the (Cailine uses formidulosus of one who is feared, in this passage: 5 “To such men consequently no labour was unfamiliar, no region too rough or too steep, no armed foeman to be dreaded (formidulosus).”

Gaius Calvus also in his poems uses laboriosus, not in the ordinary sense of “one who toils,” but of that on which labour is spent, saying: 6

The hard and toilsome (laboriosum) country he will
In the same way Laberius also in the Sisters says: 7
By Castor! sleepy (somniculosum) wine!
and Cinna in his poems: 8
As Punic Psyllus doth 9 the sleepy (somniculosam) asp. 10

Metus also and iniuria, and some other words of the kind. may be used in this double sense; for metus hostium, “fear of the enemy,” is a correct expression [p. 193] both when the enemy fear and when they are feared. Thus Sallust in the first book of his History 11 speaks of “the fear of Pompey,” not implying that Pompey was afraid, which is the more common meaning, but that he was feared. These are Sallust's words: “That war was aroused by the fear of the victorious Pompey, who was restoring Hiempsal to his kingdom.” Also in another passage: 12 “After the fear of the Carthaginians had been dispelled and there was leisure to engage in dissensions.” In the same way we speak of the “injuries,” as well of those who inflict them as of those who suffer them, and illustrations of that usage are readily found.

The following passage from Virgil affords a similar instance of this kind of double meaning; he says: 13

Slow from Ulysses' wound,
using vulnus, not of a wound that Ulysses had suffered, but of one that he had inflicted. Nescius also is used as well of one who is unknown as of one who does not know; but its use in the sense of one who does not know is common, while it is rarely used of that which is unknown. Ignarus has the same double application, not only to one who is ignorant, but also to one who is not known. Thus Plautus in the Rudens says: 14
In unknown (nesciis) realms are we where hope
knows naught (nescia). 15
And Sallust: 16 “With the natural desire of mankind to visit unknown (ignara) places.” And Virgil: 17
Unknown (ignarum) the Laurentine shore doth Mimas hold.

[p. 195]

1 § 1.

2 Fr. 47, Swoboda.

3 The usual derivation is from in + fendo (cf. offendo), but this is rejected by Walde, who compares Gk. θάρσος.

4 lvii. 1, Jordan.

5 vii. 5.

6 Fr. 2, Bährens, F.P.R.

7 86, Ribbeck3.

8 Fr. 2, Bährens.

9 Some such word as “handle” is to be supplied.

10 The Psylli, according to Pliny, Nat. Hist. vii. 14, were an African people whose bodies contained a poison deadly to serpents, and gave out an odour which put snakes to flight; see also Nat. Hist. viii. 93; Dio Cassius, li. 14. Psyllus came to be a general term for snake-charmers and healers of snakebites, as in Suetonius, Aug. xvii. 4.

11 i. 53, Maur.

12 I. 12, Maur.

13 Aen. ii. 436.

14 v. 275.

15 That is, not knowing what to expect

16 Hist. i. 103, Maur.

17 Aen. x. 706.

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