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date: 20 March 2023


, 5th–6th cent. CE


, 5th–6th cent. CE
  • R. H. Robins


Priscian was the most prolific and important member of the late Latin grammarians. His grammatical works have been edited by Heinrich Keil (Grammatici Latini 2, 3), and they amount to over 1,000 printed pages in all.

Born in Mauretania, Priscian spent most of his life as a teacher of Latin in *Constantinople (Byzantium), then the capital of the eastern Roman empire. His surviving works include the Institutio de nomine et pronomine et verbo, the Praeexercitamina, a set of grammatical exercises based on each first line of the twelve books of the Aeneid, and the Institutiones grammaticae. The Institutio was an important authority for the teaching of Latin in the early Middle Ages before the much longer and more comprehensive Institutiones (974 printed pages) became widely known in and after the Carolingian age.

This work comprises eighteen books, the first sixteen setting out, after a brief introduction to orthography, the eight Latin word classes (parts of speech) in great detail. Books 17 and 18 provide an account of the syntax of Latin, the first systematic treatment of Latin syntax of which we have knowledge.


  • Late Antiquity
  • Latin Literature

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