verbs verb book nouns latin speech eases books greek meaning
PRISCIAN (PDiscrANus CYSARIESSIS), the MOSt cele-brated Latin grammarian, lived about 500 A.D., i.e., some-what before Justinian. This is shown by the facts that he addressed to Anastasius, emperor of the East 491-518, a laudatory poem, and that the MSS. of his Institutiones Grammatictu contain a subscription to the effect that the work was copied (526, 527) by Flav. Theodorus, a clerk in the imperial secretariat ("memorialis sacri scrinii episto-larnm"). Three minor treatises are dedicated to Symmachus (the father-in-law of Boetius). Cassiodorus, writing in the ninety-third year of his age (560? 573?), beads some extracts from Priscian with the statement that he taught at Constantinople in his (Cassiodor's) time (Keil, G r. Lat vii. p. 207). His title C.xsariensis points, accord-ing to Niebuhr and others, to Ctesarea in -Mauretania. Priscian's teacher was Theoctistus, " noster pra3ceptor, onmis eloquentite decus, cui quicquid in me sit doctrinie post deum imputo" (hist. Gr., vi. 51), who also wrote an //Wit utio artis gra 272Maticie (ibid., xriii. 56). A later gram-marian, Futyches, pays Priscian himself a still higher com-pliment - " de quibus Romanat lumen facundite, melts, immo communis omnium hominum, prieceptor, sumnia cum subtilitate copiosissime grammaticus Priseianus disser-uisse cognoscitur" (Eutych., i. 8; Keil, Gr. Lat., v. p. 456). Priscian was quoted by several writers in Britain of the 8th century - Aldhelin, Bede, Alcuin - and was abridged or largely used in the next century by Hrabanus Maurus of Fulda and Servatus Lupus of Ferrara. Of the general use made of his great work the best proof is that, as Hertz says, there is hardly a library in Europe that did not and does not contain a copy, and that there are now about a thousand MSS. of it. The greater part of these contain only books i–xvi. (sometimes called Prisrianus major); a few contain (with the three books Ad Symmachuni) books xvii., xviii. (Priscianus minor); and a few contain both parts. The earliest MSS. are of the 9th century, though a few fragments are somewhat earlier. All are ultiinately derived from the copy made Theodorus. The first printed edition was in 14-70 at Venice. It may fairly be said that from the beginning of the 6th century until recently Priscian has reigned over Latin grammar with almost as generally recognized an authority as Justinian has over Roman law. Some account of so remarkable a treatise may reasonably be required.
The Institutiones Crammati(Te is a systematic exposition of Latin grammar, dedicated to Julian, consul and patri-cian, whom some have identified with the author of a well-known epitome of Justinian's 11'ove/hr, but the lavvyer appears to be somewhat later than Priscian. In length the treatise is about twice the size of Quintilian's Institutio Oitttoria, and about equal to Madvig's Latin Grammar. It is divided into eighteen books, of which the first sixteen deal mainly with sounds, word-formation, and inflexions, the last two, which form from a fourth to a third of the whole work, deal with syntax. Priscian informs us in his preface that he has translated into Latin such pre-cept.s of the Greeks Herodia,n and Apollonius as seemed suitable, and added to them from Latin grammarians. Of the latter he occasionally refers to Caper, Donatus, Probus, and Servius ; and more rarely to Charisius, Dio-medes, Asper, Nonius, Remmius Palamion, and others. He proceeds in orderly and almost exhaustive fashion, though with some digressions and repetitions, gives defini-tions, rules, examples, and exceptions, and constantly quotes passages froni various writers to illustrate the use of a form. He has thus preserved to us numerous frag-ments which would otherwise have been lost, e.g., from Ennius, Pacuvius, Attius, Lucilius, Cato, and Varro. But the authors whom he quotes most frequently arc Virgil, and, ftext to Mtn, Terence, Cicero, Plautus ; then Lucan, Horace, Juvenal, Sallust, Statius, Ovid, Livy, and Persius. His industry in collecting forms and examples is both great and methodical. His style is somewhat heavy-, but sensible and clear ; it has not the admirable grace of Quin-titian, nor the adroit use of a technical language such as is found in the Roman jurists ; but there is no attempt at fine wrtting, and it is free not of course from usages of late Latin, but front anything that can be called barbarism. Considering the time at which it was written, it is very creditable to the author, and not unworthy of the high place it obtained in the grammatical world. Its defects are such as were till lately common more or less to all grammars.
These defects may be referred in the main to four heads. (1) Priscian avowedly treats Greek writers on (Greek) grammar as his supreme authorities (cf. i. 13; vi. 1 ; xii. 13, &c.), and, though noticing differences between the two languages, bears too little in mind that each has a history of its own and is a law to itself. (2) There had been no scientific study of phonetics, and consequently the changes and combinations of languages are treated in a mechanical way: e.g., i passes into a, as genus, generis, generation ; into o as saxi, saxos.us (i. 33); passes into s as torque°, torsi (i. 48), &c, (3) The resolution of a word into root or stem and inflexional or derivative affixes was an idea wholly unknown, and the rules of formation are often based on unimportant phenomena, and yet are invested with an authority which is irrational and mis-leading : Venus, like other names enclitic,' in US, ought to have ffenitive Veni, but, as this might be taken for a verb, it Itas Veneris (vi. 86; viii. 5). Ador has II0 geni-tive because two rules conflict ; for neuters in or have a short penult (e.g., avuor, trquoris), and adoro, from which it is derived, has a long penult (vi. 49 ; viii. 6). (4) Tho practical meaning of the inflexions is not realized, and sy-ntactical usages are treated as if they were arbitrary or accidental associations. Thus, after laying down as a general rule for declinable words that, when they refer to one and the same person, they must have the sante case, gender, and number, Priscian adds, that when there are transitive words we may use different numbers, as doreo discipulos, docemus disciputum (xvii. 153-155). He often states a rule too broadly' or narrowly, and then, as it were, gropes after restrictions and extensions.
His etymoloffies are of course sometimes very wild : e.g., rmlebs from c:lestium vitam ducens, b being put for it because a consonant cannot be put before another conson-ant (i. 23); deterior from the verb deter°, deteris ; potior (adj.) from po6or, potiris (iii. 3); arbor from robur (vi. 48); rerbum from verberatus aerie (viii. 1), Arc. Nor is he always right in Greek usages : thus, in illustrating Latin moods by Greek he frequently uses the future optative with a.v, 6c81":(rou/To tkv, 7r/CITEI'CTOLIAL (XViii. 106), and still more strangely treats apa as identical in force with Ca1l8a712. conferebat quod eum codieem obsignasseni, &chpaytKo'n Er7 apa. (xviii. 110). He evidently regarded 'av or as normally required with the Greek optative or other moods corresponding to the Latin subjunctive (xviii. 117, cix.).
A rapid notice of the order and of some salient points will show both merits and defocts in the treatment of his subject-matter. The references are to the book and to Kreld's paragraphs.
Book i. treats of vocal sound and of letters, their cbmwes and com-binations. Etementa are vowels, semi-vowels, or inures. Vowels are named from their own sound ; semi-vowels sound a vowel before them ; mutes sound a vowel after them (i. 7). As semi-vowels lie classes); 4 171,, r, s, x, and in Greek names z. P was, ainong the earliest Latins, the Yolic digamma, but afterwards was equivalent to cp. It is, however, rather a mute, because it is not ' found at the end of a word, and can be placed before / and r in the same syllable (ib. 13). /17 is quite superfluous; g merely shows that u following has no metrical effect ; h is a mere aspiration ; and sometimes pass into consonants, and then have different metri-cal efTect from what they have as vowels (ib. 14-17). ./..) has often the sound of z : e.g.; in meridics, hodic (ib. 31).
Book ii. treats of the syllable ancl of the letters used to end it, then of the parts or speech. A syllable is an ordered combination of letters uttered with one accent and one breath (ii. 1). A word (dictio) is the unit of orderly speech (ib. 14). Speech (oratio) is a suitable arrangement of words expressing a complete meaning (ib.
15). The parts of speech are, according to Priscian, eight, viz., noun, verb, participle, pronoun, preposition, adverb, interjection, conjunction. Infinites (i.e., infinitive moods) are included tinder the verb, because they have tenses and no cases. Participles are not inchnled, because they have eases and genders but no moods (ib. 18). Priscian obtains a framework for the arrangement of his facts from the " accidents " of each part or speech, and subordinate classifications are taken from the endings of the words. Nouns have the following accidents : - species, genus, numerics, figura, eaves. As regards species (" CL1SS") 1101111S are proper or appel-lative, and each of these classes are subdivided into many others. Adjectives are (rightly) treated by Priseian in common with other nouns (ii. 22 sq.). The rest of this book and books iii. and iv. treat of the formation of the different classes of' nouns, e.g., of patronymics, possessives, comparatives, superlatives, diminutives, and other derivatives. Book v. treats of gender, number, fignre, and case. For gender, nouns are discussed by their endings. Figure is either simple or composite or decomposite (i. e. , derivative from composite), as, magnus, rio.gnaninius, magnanimitas (v. 61). There are four inodes of composition : - (1) ex duobus integris, as tribunusplebis ; (2) ex cluobus corrupts, as bellivo/us ; (3) ex integro et corrupt°, e.y., ininticus ; (4) ex corrupt° et integro, tis implies (v. 58). There are six cases, thus arranged : - (1) the nominative as the original ; (2) the genitive, because it is born from the nomin-ative, and begets the other oblique cases ; (3) the dative, " qui magis amicis convenit; " (4) the accusative, "qui magis ad inimicos attinet ;" (5) the vocative as the most imperfect ; (6) the ablative as new and peculiar to the Latins (v. 74). In book vi. the for-mation of the genitive is discussed, each nominative termination being taken in order, irrespective of the declension. I3ook vii. treats of the other eases in each of the live declensions. Neither here nor in the books on the verb are full paradigms set out as in modern grammars. "Tic, hajus, &c., are often prefixed as symbols of gender and case.
Books viii.-x. deal with the verb. Verbs have eig,ht accidents: - gouts, tempus, ?noting, species, figura, conjugatio, persona, numerus. Soine verbs (as other parts of speech) are defective, either by natural necessity or by chance. Necessity may lie in the meaning (e.g., puerperus is not found) or in the incompatibility of sound (e.g., cursor but not eursrix). Chance may lie simply in non-use, e.g., faux, prex, clicio, ,for, dor ; or because the form would be un-pleasant, e.g., metuturus or metuiturus, nutritrix (from nutritor), for which autrix is used. Sometimes a word isnot used in order to avoid confusion, e.g., conjunx has conjugis, lest conjuiigis should be taken for a verb ; maneo has maasi, not manui ; lac, clue avoid con-fusion with ablatives face, duce, &c. (viii. 4-6).
Genus or significatio verbi is its being aetive or passive. Verbs in o are active, neuter, and neutro-passive, e.g., amo, spiro, gawleo (cf. xi. 23). Verbs in or are passive, eorranon, and deponent, e.y., amor, °senior te and a te, sequor. Verbs whose meaning and use do not correspond with the form are enumerated (ib. 7-89). l'empus is present, past, and future. Past time is divided into past imper-fect, past perfect, past pluperfect. Present and future tiine are not divided by the Romans (ib. 33). Di.cero is called the subjunc-tive future (ib. 55, 57). The indicative and subjunctive have all tenses ; the imperative has present, future, and, in passive, a past (e.g., aniatus sit). The optative and infinite have one form ex-pressing both present and past imperfect, and another expressing perfect and pluperfect (ib. 33-43). The present tense embraces to some extent both past and future (e.g., Prism:anus vocor, scribo version). The perfect corresponds to Greek aorist as well as to perfect (ib. 51-54). Priscian makes five moods, - the optative (same in forms as the subjunctive) always requiring an adverb of wishing; the subjunctive, requiring not only an adverb or conjunction, but also another verb, c.g., CUM faciant venito. In expressions of com-mand, as ne dicas, another verb is not required (ib. 68). Supines and gerunds (sometimes confused, sometimes distinguished, by Priscian) are nouns used in place of the infinite. Amandus, &c., is called partieipiale or 11011101 verbale (ib. 44,70). Impersonal verbs have a peculiar meaning (ib. 69).
In class verbs are primitive or derivative. Derivatives are numerously classified as inchoativos, frequentatives, &e. (ib. 72 sq.). In figure verbs are simple or compound (ib. 81). Conjugations in Latin are determined by the vowel of the 2nd person, and are thus four only-, while the Greeks have ten. Person and number close the eighth book. Pero, volo, edo are specially treated (ix. 4-11). The formation of the perfect is first treated generally (ix. 13), and then the perfects and supines of 1st and 2nd conjugations and (in book x.) of 3rd and 4th eonjugations.
Book xi. deals with participles, which were invented to act as verbs applied to nouns, especially in oblique cases. Hence WC can say not only bonus homo loquebatur but boni honzinis loquentig orationent audivi, ke. (xi. 3). The participle has six accidents : - geizits,.casies, siglofieatio, tempts, moncrus, fiyura (ib. 13), - where goirts is gender, and signdficatio and figura have same application as in verbs. The formation of the participles, especially of the past participle, is fully discussed.
Books xii. and xiii. deal with pronouns. They have six accidents : - species, persona, genus, VACIIICT-118, figura, easus. There are four declensions, viz., personal, ille, &c., 7ItC2LS, &c., nostras, &c. Priscian classes as nouns, and not as pronouns, quis, quails, talis, quantus, tantics, tot, unns, solus, totus, alius, minus, uter, alter, and their compounds (xiii. 11, 29-35).
Having finished the four declinable parts of speech, Priscian turns to the four indeclinable. Prepositions (book xiv. ) are (except some. times in verse) pia before nouns both by apposition and com-position ; before pronouns only by apposition ; before all else hy composition (xiv. 8). Ile treats first of prepositions used with the accusative ease, then or those used with the ablative, and lastly of those occurring only in composition. Adverbs (book xv.) have species, significatio, figura, where .speeies refers to their being primi-tive or derivative, and significatio to their meaning as temporal, local, confirmative, optative, &c. Sonic are used with all tenses and moods, others with some only. They are arranged for discus-sion under their endings (ib. 7). Under the endings in it are treated also ablatives of nouns used as adverbs, e.g., mut, qua, Roma, and also other local uses of nonns, e.g., Romre sum, Romam co, (ib. 9). Interjections are separated from adverbs by Roman writers, because they express fully an emotion of the mind, e.g., papx, quid video, where papx=miror (ib. 40). Conjunctions have figura and species, I species denoting meaning and use as copulative, causal, disjunctive, &c. Some conjunctions belong to several of these classes.
The two books on syntax are looser in arrangement, and are not so clear and exhaustive as the former books. The truth is, Priscian laeked a good framework for the facts of construction, and first tries one and then another. The seventeenth book rests mainly- on Apollonins ; the eighteenth is less dependent on him, and ends with a long miscellaneous list, in alphabetical order, of Greek idioms, chiefly verbal, which he compares with corresponding Latin usagos-Part of this list occurs twice over. Omitting duplicates, there are nearly 300 such comparisons. Hertz suggests (Prfef. p. vii.) I that it was only closed by the fortunate OCC111TC11Ce of xop-rcfCO3ual, ! illustrated by a line of Terence which ended with satur ! These idioms are illustrated by copious quotations front Demosthenes and Plato, and not a few from Horner, Herodotus, Tliucydides, and Xenophon, besides Latin authors.
The syntax commences with showing the analogy of elements, words, and speech. In each of these we have repetition, omission, conjunction, transposition, &e. (xvii. 3 sq.). Then Priseian dis-eusses why interrogatives are all of two parts of speech. only, viz., nouns and. adverbs (ib. 22) : why not also verbs (ib. 36) ? dis-cusses the difference of pronouns from one another, their use with impersonals, particularly interest, refert (ib. 92), the use of the pos-sessive and reflexive pronouns. He says that 91tei ager may be used for meus (Ter, but also for " the land of my husband " (ib. 129, 130). There are many possible unions and interchanges of different parts of speech and of their accidents. Such unions as ille ego qui quondam, &c., are justified analogically by the union of different cases, e.g., animalium qux,dam sunt mortalia, or by the rise of compomids from different eases, as mediterraneus medio terra; (ib. 144-152). Different numbers and genders are combined, as pars secant ; aperite aliquis ; in Eunuchum suam ; or different eases, as urbem gluon statuo vestra est ; or different times, as post-gaunt eecidit . . . Ilion et °Innis humo fumat Troia (ib. 155-163)- Often we find interchange, e.g., of parts of speech, as sublime (volas) for an adverb, genus Wide Latinlint for ex quo, &c. (ib. 168).
In the eighteenth book. lie discusses the use of the eases. The nominative and vocative are absolute, and with substantival or vocatival verbs of the first or second person they do not require a pronoun, e.g., hanto .411711, Cicero nominor, but with other verbs they do, e.g., ego Priscianus scr-ibo, tu Apollonius (or Apolloni) scribis. l'u may, however, be oinitted with the vocative, but Priseicznus scribo is a solecism, because nouns by themselves and participles, without the vocative ease, are or the third person (lb. 2-4). If a noun requires an oblique ease, we must have the verb substantive or participle, e.g., filius Ifereulis sum. In filius Peloi Achilles multos interfecit, the participle cits ("for which we now use qui est or qui fuit") nuist be understood (ib. 6). The nominative is joined to the genitive when possession and a possessor are meant. In Hector filius Priami the genitive denotes the possessor ; in magnx virtutis vir it denotes the possession. In the latter use the Latins often have the ablative, as they haye also for the Greek genitive of consequence, yob' Cc-evTor =712C Vir0 (ib. 14). The.genitive after comparatives and superlatives and after verbals -ni.
doetus gronmatiete a 1101111 (ib. 21). The dative is used acquisi-tively, e.g., commodus tibi sum, also after verbals in -/is and -cites. Words of equivalence or subjeetion or the reverse are nsed in any order with either genitive or dative, e.g., paler filii, or filio est pater ; so sintilis, par, conieus, &c. Nominatives are joined to accusatives when what belongs to a part is assigned to the whole, e.g., fortis dextram for 'orlon dextram habens. In all (even in oblique) cases we nmst understand qui est, as albi colorent equi ejus qui est alb:* (ib. 27). The ablative is joined to the nominative to express the instrument, the possession, the con-sequence (see above). It is used also with words of passiv.e mean-ing, e.g., vidicus pha retro, dignus morte, and in comparisons Oh. 301. Ile then proceeds (in awkward language) to point ont that the nominative which is joined to a verb remains unchanged, and either takes no oblique eases of another declinable word or only; such as are construed with the verb, e.g., Terentius ambul«t ; Ca..!ar vincit Pompcium ; pater indulget Ileit the nominative, which in consequence of the nature of tlie nonn itself takes cffiligne eases,. takes those eases, be its own case what it may ; victor Pourpetz Cersar interfectus est a Beat° ; rietoris Pompeii. Orsaris ,filla fiat Julia; victori Pompeii Coisari, (ib. 35, 30). Similarly datives like carte, corcli, .kc., are used will' all eases, e.g., coreli hontinis for jucundi hominis (ih. 3S ; xi. 24). Priscian would have found it difficult to give an instance of this.
The syntax of the verb follows. The infinite is taken first as the most general. Infinites are often joined to nouns, e.g., Loma est legere, and, by a beautiful figure, to adjectives, e.g., fortis bellarc ; also to verbs and participles (xviii. 40-46). All verbs may be resolved into infinites, e.g., anthalo - dico ambalare, seribebom. - scribere ccepi. Hence etepit was sometimes omitted, e.g., ego illud scdalo negare faction, (ib. 48), Partieipials and supines have the same case a.s the verb ; verbal nouns in -dies have the same case as the nonns to which they are joined (ib. 61-63). All transitive verbs are joined either to a genitive or dative or accusative or ablative, e.g., egeo tut, insidior tibi, Ike. Similarly- partieipials or supines, e.g., miserendo tui moveor, noeitum tibi propero, nocitu tibi gaudet (ib. 61). Au instance of the last would be hard to find.
The uses of indicative, imperative, and optative moods are briefly treated. The subjunctive, which is the same in form as the optative (ib. 82), requires always to be joined to another mood or to another verb of' the same mood. It is especially frequent with si, when expressing doubt and put for 4civ (ib. 80). With the indica-tive si used for El shows confirmation and belief. In siqua for-bout vetabit, vcla.bit is put mall. gratia for vete& The subjunctive expresses doubt or approval or possibility, c.q., doubt in cloguar silcani, approval in si non pertmsum thalami twdxque faisset; where faisset 47e-yovEL fipa. Ut and qui, qux, quad, giving a reason or expressing a doubt, are often used with subjunctive (ib. 82-93). In discussing ut far 7vct, his examples carefully give the same tense of the principal verb (whether indicative or sub,junctive) as that of the dependent subjunctive, e.g., doccs proficias, doceres ut proAcres, docuisti at profeceris, clocuisses profecisses, doccbis profeeeris (future subjunctive). lint he also notes that feeissent or facerent are equally right with RiSi impedires, and that ficiant or fecero is used with either nisi impedias or impertires (ib. 101- 104).
After then discussing the eases used after verbs according to the meaning of the verbs as transitive, passive, common, absolute (c.g., rubeo pudorc), or expressing various affections of the body or mind (ib. 127-167), he proceeds to the long list of idioms spoken of above.
Priscian's three short treatises dedicated to Symmachus are on weights and measures, the metres of Terence, and some rhetorical elements. IIe also wrote De nomine, pronomine, et verb° (an abridg-ment of part of his Institationes), and an interesting specimen of the school teaching of grammar in the shape of complete parsing by question and answer of the first twelve lines of the "Eacid (Par-titiones xii. rersuum ..-Eneidosprineipalium). The metre is discussed first, each verse is scanned, and each word thoroughly and instruct-ively examined. Its meaning, its form, its accent, its class, its other eases or tenses, its compounds and derivatives are all required from the pupil, as well as the rules to which they ought to conform. Such parsing, rarely, if ever, takes place in modern schools. A treatise on accents is ascribed to Priseetn, but is rejected by modern writers on the ground of matter and language. Ile also wrote two poems, not in any way remarkable, viz., a panegyric on Anastasius in 312 hexameters with a short ifunbie introduction, and a faithful translation into 1087 hexameters of Dionysius's Pericgcsis or geog,ra-phical survey of the world. A few passages have, says Ilernhardy, been altered by Priv:Ian on acemint of their heathen contents, The (grammatical treatises have been critically edited. In excellent fashion, in Kell's Grammatiri volm. and ill., Iiiii5-1;0; the Iasi Uutiones by Martin Hertz ; and the smaller treatises by Kell. The poems have been recently edited by Wirer's, in his Poetx Latini Minorex, vol, v., IAP;.3. (11. J. IL)