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I HAVE observed that the verb rescire has a peculiar force, which is not in accord with the general meaning of other words compounded with that same preposition; for we do not use rescire in the same way that we do rescribere (write in reply), relegere (reread), restituere (restore), . . . and substituere (put in the place of); 1 but rescire is properly said of one who learns of something that is hidden, or unlooked for and unexpected.

[p. 175] But why the particle re has this special force in this one word alone, I for my part am still inquiring. For I have never yet found that rescivi or rescire was used by those who were careful in their diction, otherwise than of things which were purposely concealed, or happened contrary to anticipation and expectation; although scire itself is used of everything alike, whether favourable or unfavourable, unexpected or expected. Thus Naevius in the Triphallus wrote: 2

If ever I discover (rescivero) that my son
Has borrowed money for a love affair,
Straightway I'll put you where you'll spit no more. 3
Claudius Quadrigarius in the first book of his Annals says: 4 “When the Lucanians discovered (resciverunt ) that they had been deceived and tricked.” And again in the same book Quadrigarius uses that word of something sad and unexpected: 5 “When this became known to the relatives (rescierunt provinqui) of the hostages, who, as I have pointed out above, had been delivered to Pontius, their parents and relatives rushed into the street with hair in disarray.” Marcus Cato writes in the fourth book of the Origins: 6 “Then next day the dictator orders the master of the horse to be summoned: I will send you, if you wish, with the cavalry.' It is too late,' said the master of the horse, 'they have found it out already (rescicere).'”

1 As substituere does not contain re-, it seems clear that there is a lacuna before that word, but it seems impossible to fill the gap.

2 v. 96, Ribbeck3

3 Literally, “spit down” into one's bosom, referring to he wooden fork about the slave's neck which would prevent his, and to spitting as a charm for averting evil.

4 Fr. 16, Peter.

5 Fr. 19, Peter.

6 Fr. 87, Peter.

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