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[7arg] On a letter of the grammarian Valerius Probus, written to Marcellus, regarding the accent of certain Punic names.

VALERIUS PROBUS the grammarian was conspicuous among the men of his time for his learning. He pronounced Hannibalem and Hasdrubalem and Hamilcarem with a circumflex accent on the penult, and there is a letter addressed To Marcellus, in which he asserts that Plautus, 1 and Ennius and many other early writers pronounced in that way; but he quotes a single line of Ennius alone, from the book entitled Scipio.

That verse, composed in octonarii, 2 I have appended; in it, unless the third syllable of Hannibal's name is circumflexed, 3 the metre will halt. The verse of Ennius to which I referred reads thus: 4

And where near Hannibal's forces he had camped. 5

1 Frag. inc. xlii. Götz.

2 The term octonarius is applied both to a trochaic tetrameter acatalectic (as here in the Latin verse) or to an iambic tetrameter acatalectic. It consisted of eight trochaic or iambic feet. Substitutions were allowed in every foot except the last. See note on senarius, p. 329.

3 In the Latin line the ictus falls on the penult Hánnibális, but the ordinary pronunciation was Hanníbalis.

4 Varia, 13, Vahlen2, who reads quaque.

5 Vahlen and the T.L.L. take considerat from consido, Weiss from considero.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SACRIFICIUM
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