This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
I DO not understand what reason led Servius Sulpicius the jurist, the most learned man of his time, to write in the second book of his work On the Annulling of Sacred Rites 1 that testamentum is a compound word; for he declared that it was made up of mentis contestatio, or “an attesting of the mind.” What then are we to say about calciamentum (shoe), paludamentum (cloak), pavimentum (pavement), vestimentum (clothing), and thousands of other words that have been extended by a suffix of that kind? Are we to call all these also compounds? As a matter of fact, Servius, or whoever it was who first made the statement, was evidently misled by a notion of the presence of mens in testamentum, an idea that is to be sure false, but neither inappropriate nor unattractive, just as indeed Gaius Trebatius too was misled into a similar attractive combination. For he says in the second book of his work On Religions: 2 “A sacellum, or 'shrine,' is a small place consecrated to a god and containing an altar.” Then he adds these words: “Sacellum, I think, is made up of the two words sacer and cella, as if it were sacra cella, or 'a sacred clamber.'” This indeed is what Trebatius wrote, but who does not know both that sacellum is not a compound, and that it is not made up of sacer and cella, but is the diminutive of sacrum? [p. 125]
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.