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Peter G. M. Brown

Early 1st cent. bce, author of a work De poetis (‘On Poets’) in iambic senarii, of which the largest surviving fragment (quoted by Gell. NA 15. 24) ranks ten authors of fabulae palliatae in order of merit: *Caecilius Statius, *Plautus, *Naevius, *Licinius Imbrex, *Atilius, *Terence, *Turpilius, *Trabea, *Luscius, *Ennius.

Article

M. T. Griffin

A philosopher who accompanied *Brutus in his campaign against the triumvirs (see triumviri). He recorded, perhaps in a biography, prodigies (see portents) which preceded Brutus' last battle (Plut. Brut.48).

Article

Roger Wright

The language of the Roman Empire, spoken and written, was Latin. Like all languages spoken over a wide area for a long time, it varied greatly. Since the arrival of sociolinguistics in the 1960s, it has been accepted that such variation is in no way unnatural or sinister, and the flexibility it implies is often an advantage rather than a problem. But standardization of the Latin language was taken seriously, particularly within the traditions established by Aelius Donatus in the 4th century and Priscian in the 6th, with the result that eventually features of the language that did not accord with the precepts of these authorities were regarded as not just different but wrong. The concept of Vulgar Latin has been defined in a variety of different ways, but József Herman’s definition, as a label for all those features of Latin that we know existed, but which were not recommended by the grammarians, is probably the most useful; its meaning has thus usually been defined in opposition to that of another concept of dubious value, Classical Latin, the Latin of the grammarians (see grammar, grammarians, Latin).

Article

Vulgate  

J. H. D. Scourfield

Latin version of the Bible. The first Latin translations of Scripture (Vetus Latina, Old Latin) began to appear in the 2nd cent. ce. By the late 4th cent., the situation was chaotic: some books existed in more than one version, while some versions were subject to considerable local variation. An attempt to impose order was made in the early 380s by Pope Damasus, who commissioned Jerome to revise the Latin text of the Gospels, and perhaps of the whole of the Bible, in the light of the Greek. The gospel revision was completed in 384, and during his early years in the Holy Land (386–c.390) Jerome went on to produce Latin versions of the Psalter (the ‘Gallican Psalter’) and of other books of the OT (Old Testament) on the basis of the LXX (see septuagint). But around 390 Jerome became convinced of the need for a translation of the OT based on the Hebrew text used in Jewish communities, from which the LXX sometimes differed significantly. This immense undertaking, which occupied him for some fifteen years, resulted in a completely new translation of the Hebrew books of the OT, carried out on the basis of the original and with the aid of the Greek versions of Aquila and Symmachus. At the request of friends, and with the assistance of an interpreter, he also translated from the Aramaic the books of Tobit and Judith, which he did not recognize as part of the canon.