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THE philosopher Favorinus thus addressed a young man who was very fond of old words and made a display in his ordinary, everyday conversation of many expressions that were quite too unfamiliar and archaic: “Curius,” said he, “and Fabricius and Coruncanius, men of the olden days, and of a still earlier time than these those famous triplets, the Horatii, talked clearly and intelligibly with their fellows, using the language of their own day, not that of the Aurunci, the Sicani, or the Pelasgi, who are said to have been the earliest inhabitants of Italy. You, on the contrary, just as if you were talking to-day with Evander's mother, 1 use words that have already been obsolete for many years, because you want no one to know and comprehend what you are saying. Why not accomplish your purpose more fully, foolish fellow, and say nothing at all? But you assert that you love the olden time, because it is honest, sterling, sober and temperate. Live by all means according to the manners of the past, but speak in the language of the present, and always remember and take to heart what Gaius Caesar, a man of surpassing talent and wisdom, wrote in the first book of his treatise On Analogy: 2 'Avoid, as you would a rock, a strange and unfamiliar word.'”
1 Evander, a Greek from Pallanteum in Arcadia, migrated to Italy and settled on the Palatine hill before the coming of Aeneas.
2 A work on grammar in two books, mentioned among the writings of Caesar by Suet. Jul. lvi. 5; Fronto, p. 221, Naber (L.C.L. ii, pp. 29 and 255 ff.); described by Cic. Brut. 253 as de ratione Latine loquendi.
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