[2arg] Certain words from the first book of the Annals of Quintus Claudius, noted in a hasty reading.
WHENEVER I read the book of an early writer, I tried afterwards, for the purpose of quickening my memory, to recall and review any passages in the book which were worthy of note, in the way either of praise or censure; and I found it an exceedingly helpful exercise for ensuring my recollection of elegant words and phrases, whenever need of them should arise. For example, in the first book of the Annals of Quintus Claudius, which I had read on the preceding two days, I noted these passages: “The greater number,” says he, 1 “threw away their arms and hid themselves unarmed.” The verb inhatebrant, for “hid themselves,” seemed poetic, but neither improper nor harsh. “While these things were going on,” he says, 2 “the Latins, their spirits raised because of their easy victory, form a plan.” Subnixo animo is. significant and carefully chosen expression with the force of “raised and elevated in spirit”; and it indicates loftiness and confidence of spirit, since we are, as it were, raised and lifted up by that upon which we depend. [p. 203] “He bids each one,” he says, 3 “go to his own house and enjoy his possessions.” Frunisci, meaning “enjoy,” was somewhat rare in the days of Marcus Tullius and became still rarer after that time, and its Latinity was questioned by those who were unacquainted with our early literature. However, fruniscor is not only good Latin, but it is more elegant and pleasing than fruor, from which it is formed in the same way as fatiscor from fateor. Quintus Metellus Numidicus, who is known to have used the Latin tongue with purity and simplicity, in the letter which he sent when in exile To the Domitii, wrote as follows: “They indeed were cut off from every right and honour, I lack neither water nor fire and I enjoy (fruiscor) the greatest glory.” Novius, in his Atellan farce entitled The Miser, uses this word: 4
What eagerly they sought they can't enjoy (frunisci);“And the Romans,” says Quadrigarius, 5 “get possession of (copiantur) many arms and a great supply of provisions, and enormous booty.” Copiantur is a soldier's word, and you will not readily find it in the pleaders of civil suits; it is formed in the same way as lignantur, or “gather wood,” pabulantur, or “forage,” and aquantur, or “get water.” Quadrigarius uses sole occaso for “at sunset.” 6 This expression has a flavour of antiquity which is not without charm, if one possesses an ear that is not dull and commonplace; furthermore the phrase occurs in the Twelve Tables in the following passage: 7 [p. 205] “Before midday let them hear the case, with both parties making their pleas in person. After midday, decide the ease in favour of the one who is present. If both are present, let sunset be the limit of the proceedings.” “We,” says he, 8 “will leave it undecided (in medium).” The common people say in medio; for they think that in medium is an error, and if you should say in medium ponere (to make known), 9 they consider that also a solecism; but if anyone examines these words with some care, that expression will seem to him the more correct and the more expressive; moreover in Greek θεῖναι εἰς μέσον, is not an error. After it was announced," he says, 10 “that a battle had been fought against the Gauls (in Gallos), the State was troubled.” In Gallos is nester and finer than cum Gallis or contra Gallos; for these are somewhat awkward and out of date. “At the same time,” he says, 11 “he excelled in person, in exploits, in eloquence, in position, in energy, and confidence alike, so that it was easily seen that he possessed from himself and in himself a great equipment (magnum viaticum) for overthrowing the republic.” Magnum viaticum is a novel expression for great ability and great resources, and Claudius seems to have followed the Greeks, who transferred ἐφόδιον from the meaning of “money for a journey” to preparation for other things, and often say ἐφοδίασον for “prepare” and “make ready.” [p. 207] “For Marcus Manlius,” said he, 12 “who, as I have shown above, saved the Capitol from the Gauls, and whose service, along with that of Marcus Furius the dictator, the State found especially (cumprime) valiant and irresistible against the Gauls, yielded to no one in race, in strength and in warlike valour.” Adprime is more frequent for “especially”; cumprime is rarer and is derived from the expression cumprimis with the force of inprimis. Quadrigarius says 13 that “he has no need for riches (divitias).” We use the ablative divitiis with opus. But this usage of his is not a mistake in grammar, nor is it even what is termed a figure; for it is correct Latin and the early writers quite frequently used that case; moreover, no reason can be given why divis opus esse is more correct than divitias, except by those who look upon the innovations of grammarians as oracular responses. “For herein especially,” says he, 14 “lies the injustice of the gods, that the worst men are the least subject to injury, and that they do not allow the best men to remain long (diurnare) with us.” His use of diurnare for diu vivere is unusual, but it is justified by the figure by which we use perennare (to last for years). He says: 15 “He conversed (consermonabatur) with them.” Semocinari seems somewhat rustic, but is more correct; sermocinari is more common, but is not such pure Latin. “That he would not do even that,” says he, 16 “which he then advised.” He has used ne id quoque for ne id quidem; the former is not common now in conversation, but is very frequent in the books of the earlier writers. [p. 209] “Such is the sanctity (sanctitudo) of the fane,” says he, 17 “that no one ever ventured to violate it.” Sanctitas and sanctimonia are equally good Latin, but the word sanctitudo somehow has greater dignity, just as Marcus Cato, in his speech Against Lucius Veturius, thought it more forcible to use duritudo than duritia, saying, 18 “Who knew his impudence and hardihood (duritudinem).” “Since the Roman people,” says Quadrigarius, 19 “had given such a pledge (arrabo) to the Samites.” He applied the term arrabo to the six hundred hostages and preferred to use that word rather than pignus, since the force of arrabo in that connection is weightier and more pointed; but nowadays arrabo is beginning to be numbered among vulgar words, and arra seems even more so, although the early writers often used arra, and Laberius 20 has it several times. “They have spent most wretched lives (vitas),” says Quadrigarius, 21 and, 22 “This man is worn out by too much leisure (otiis).” In both cases elegance is sought by the use of the plural number. “Cominius,” says he, 23 “came down the same way he had gone up and so deceived the Gauls.” He says that Cominius “gave words to the Gauls,” meaning “deceived them,” although he had said nothing to anybody; and the Gauls who were besieging the Capitol had seen him neither going up nor coming down. But “he gave words” is used with the meaning of “he escaped the notice of, and circumvented.” Again he says: 24 “There were valleys and great woods (arboreta).” Arboreta is a less familiar word, arbusta 25 the more usual one. [p. 211] “They thought,” says he, 26 “that those who were without and those that were within the citadel were exchanging communications (commutationes) and plans” Commutationes, meaning “conferences and communications,” is not usual, but, by Heaven! is neither erroneous nor inelegant. These few notes on that book, such things as I remembered after reading it, I have now jotted down for my own use.
Who does not spare, enjoys the goods he has.