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Varro and Italy: the de Lingua Latina and the Gauls

Arena, V; (2019) Varro and Italy: the de Lingua Latina and the Gauls. In: Aberson, M and Biella, MC and Wullschleger, M, (eds.) Nos sumus Romani qui fuimus ante: Memory of Ancient Italy. Peter Lang Green open access

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Abstract

In the 40s BC, Varro composed and published a grammatical treatise on the Latin language, de lingua Latina. Its 25 Books, dedicated to Cicero (or Cicero and Septimius, Varro’s quaestor), had a tripartite structure, where two triads of books were joined together to form a hexad1. After an introductory book, containing the dedication to Cicero, Varro first considered the origins of names, then their derivations and inflexions, and lastly their combination to make sentences and express a complete thought, i.e., etymology, inflexional morphology, and syntax. Thus, the first three books dealt with the discipline of etymology, one arguing against its existence and utility, one arguing in favour of its existence and utility, and one reconciling the issue, these were then followed by three books of etymologies, which showed these in operation. The second triad of books was concerned with the main criterion of Latinity, analogy, one arguing against its existence in inflexion and against the utility of its study, one arguing in its favour and for its study, and one reconciling these two views; this triad was then followed by three books on analogies in inflexion. Although Varro does not explicitly say so, these two sets on etymology and morphology seem to have been followed by six books arguing about the existence and utility of syntax and six books about actual sentences. Of the whole work, most of the triad devoted to etymologies and most of the triad devoted to the discussion of the validity of.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Varro and Italy: the de Lingua Latina and the Gauls
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3726/b16234
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3726/b16234
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062257
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