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Since Aelius Stilo declared that the Muses, if they had spoken Latin, would have used the Latin of Plautus, and since Cicero expresses his admiration for the old-fashioned language of a Roman matron by saying that it reminded him of Plautus and Naevius (de Or. 3, 45), we must see in his plays, not vulgar Latin, but the every-day talk of the educated Romans of his time. How far he permits himself on occasion to reproduce the vulgarisms of uneducated speakers is a question that has not yet been investigated; but I greatly doubt that the investigation would show that this or that departure from a rule of classical Latin Syntax was found only in the utterances of slaves or of characters like Ballio in the Pseudolus. We have indeed the express testimony of an ancient writer that non salveo in Truc. 259 is a piece of bad Latin, suited to the character who uses it: “AS. salve. TR. sat mihi est tuae salutis, nil moror. non salveo.”

But the surly slave, Truculentus, from whom the play is named, is a unique type in Plautus' Comedies. He is a Roman ‘Mrs. Malaprop,’ who is credited with mutilated forms of words like rabo (v. 688) for arrabo, osculentia (v. 675) for obsequentia (with a suggestion of osculum), etc.; so that one can make no general inference from this particular case.1

1 See however Donatus on Ter. Phorm. 249, Eun. 432, 792, etc., and compare my note on p. 48 of No. 111. of this Series.

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