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[12arg] That our forefathers had the custom of changing passive verbs and turning them into active.

THIS also used to be regarded as a kind of elegance in composition, to use active verbs in place of those which had a passive form and then in turn to substitute the former for the latter. Thus Juventius in a comedy says: 1

I care not if my cloak resplendent be, or spot. 2
Is not this far more graceful and pleasing than if he said maculetur, “if it be spotted”? Plautus also says in a similar way: 3
What's wrong?—This cloak doth wrinkle (rugat), I'm ill clad.
[p. 339] Also Plautus uses pulveret, not of making dusty, but of being dusty: 4
Go, sprinkle, slave; I'd have this entrance neat.
My Venus comes, don't let the place show dust (pulveret).
In the Asinaria he uses contemples for contempleris: 5 Observe (contemples) my head, if you'd your interest heed. Gnaeus Gellius in his Annals 6 writes: “After the storm quieted (sedavit) Adherbal sacrificed a bull”; Marcus Cato in his Origins: 7 “Many strangers came to that same place from the country. Therefore their wealth waxed (auxit).” Varro in the books which he wrote On Latin Diction, dedicated to Marcellus, said: 8 “In the former word the accents that were grave remain so. The others change,” where mutant, “change,” is a very elegant expression for mutantur, “are changed.” 9 The same expression too seems to be used by Varro in the seventh book of his Divine Antiquities: 10 “What a difference (quid mutet) there is between princesses may be seen in Antigone and Tullia.” But passive verbs instead of active are found in the writings of almost all the men of the olden time. A few of these, which I recall now, are the following: muneror te, or “I reward you,” for munero; significor, or “I indicate,” for significo; assentior, or “I assent,” for assentio; sacrificor, or “I sacrifice,” for sacrifice; faeneror, or “I practise usury,” for faenero; pigneror, or “I take as a pledge,” for pignero, and many others of the same kind, which will be noted as I meet them in reading.

[p. 341]

1 5, Ribbeck3.

2 The line is corrupt, but with Seyffert's emendation fairly clear.

3 Frag. fab. inc. xlv, Götz.

4 Id. xlvi.

5 v. 539.

6 Frag. 30, Peter2.

7 Id. 20.

8 Frag. 85, G. and S.

9 “Elegant” because it balances manent.

10 Frag. 1, p. cxlv, Merkel.

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