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Preface.


A Summary of Plautine Syntax will, I hope, be of use not merely to readers of Plautus, but to all who are interested in Latin Grammar. These Comedies are the earliest remains of Roman Literature, and they reveal to us the obscure beginnings of many a construction which is fully developed in classical Latin. For example, the classical use of the Supine, of quominus, and of other words can be understood only with the help of Plautine Latin (see below, I. 1).

A Summary cannot achieve completeness in cataloguing instances, in discussing doubtful readings or constructions, in pursuing minor details and occasional varieties. But some compensation for these omissions will be found in the bibliographical references; for ever since Ritschl brought the study of Plautus into fashion, there has been a steady stream of monographs1 on special points of Plautine Syntax. The Syntax of Terence and the early Latin Poets has been included as far as was practicable. For the Republican Prose-writers and Inscriptions, the student should consult the brief but useful account given by Altenburg in an offprint from Fleckeisen's Jahrb├╝cher der classischen Philologie (Suppl. XXIV), entitled de Sermone Pedestri Italorum Vetustissimo, Leipzig (Teubner), 1898; and he will find some interesting parallels from the other ancient dialects of Italy in C. Buck's Grammar of Oscan and Umbrian (Boston, 1904).

The only existing work which deals with Early Latin Syntax as a whole, Holtze Syntaxis priscorum scriptorum latinorum usque ad Terentium, Leipzig, 1861, was compiled at a time before the text of the early authors had been properly restored. Of the long-promised Historische Grammatik der lateinischen Sprache, edited by a group of German scholars, only the first volume (Leipzig, Teubner, 1903) has appeared as yet (see below, V. 1).

1 Where a recent monograph contains mention of earlier writings on the same subject, I have not thought it necessary to refer to them. In other respects too, utility and brevity, rather than completeness, are consulted in my bibliographical notices. When the example of this or that construction is taken from a play of which there is an annotated edition, additional examples will often be found in the editor's note on the line cited.

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