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The Latin of Plautus' time stands at a stage between the very early period, when the use of Prepositions to give force and precision to the meaning of the Cases was not much in evidence, and the classical period; just as classical Latin itself stands at an earlier stage than the encroachment of the Prepositions even on such cases as the Genitive and Dative.1 The primitive expression, e.g. salio monte ‘leap from the mountain,’ became first desilio monte, and finally salio (desilio) de monte. Plautine Latin may be said to be coincident with the transition from the second to the third type of expression. For its unclassical uses of a prepositionless case are usually found after a Compound Verb, e.g. foro fugiunt” Pers. 435, “saxo saliat” Trin. 265, i malam crucem (rem) beside i in malam crucem (rem) ‘go and be hanged,’ as in legal Latin the stereotyped phrase tribu movere survived long after Plautus' time, and in both colloquial and literary Latin the quasi-adverbial rus ire, domo ire, etc.2 Invado, used of a disease, takes the Accusative (Trin. 28, Asin. 55), otherwise in and Accusative (Bacch. 711, Asin. 908, Epid. 670). Just as the meaning of a Case was eked out by the addition of a cognate Preposition, salio de monte, salio ex monte (or desilio, exsilio), etc., so was the meaning of an Adverb. Plautine Latin is rich in Adverbial compounds like in-ibi, inter-ibi, etc., e.g.
1 The germs of this appear at an early stage, e.g.
- Cato Agr. Cult. 158 “addito de perna frustum”,
- 70, 2, “de ea potione unicuique bovi dato”;
- cf. Pseud. 1164 “dimidium de praeda”,
- Capt. 1019 (see below, on ad Preposition).
2 The quasi-adverbial nature of these words even in Plautus' time is seen from his use of a Preposition when an attribute is employed, e.g. “in domo istac” Curc. 208, “in patriam domum” Stich. 507, “ad alienam domum” Rud. 116, so that in Ennius trag. 281 V., “domum paternamne anne ad Peliae filias”, it may be right to construe ad ἀπὸ κοινοῦ. When the attribute is a Poss. Pronoun, the usage varies, e.g.
- “domi nostrae” Men. 359, Most. 874, Poen. 838,
- but “in nostra domo” Cas. 620, Pseud. 84 (cf. Truc. 262 “nostrae domi” P, in nostra domo A);
- “domos abeamus nostras” Poen. 814,
- but “in nostram domum” Amph. 409, Capt. 911, Trin. 382. (The reading ab domo is doubtful in Aul. 105, Epid. 681; cf. Stich. 523).
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