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W. Sidney Allen and Jonathan G. F. Powell

Our knowledge of the pronunciation of classical Latin is derived from a variety of sources. Most direct are the specific statements of Latin grammarians and other authors (though allowance must be made for the fact that the former tend to be of later date). Other sources are: puns, word-play, contemporary etymologies, and onomatopoeia; the representation of Latin words in other ancient languages; later developments in the Romance languages; the spelling conventions of Latin, and especially any deviations from these; the internal structure of Latin itself and of its metrical patterns (see grammar, latin; etymology).

It is impossible to reconstruct the vocal totality of a language spoken before the invention of sound-recording; but we can make a reasonably good approximation to the sounds of standard urban Latin as spoken around the turn of the era. It should be remembered that the pronunciation of Latin must have varied chronologically, socially, and geographically. In particular, the relatively static nature of the written medium in later antiquity may well have concealed significant changes in pronunciation.


Laura Miguélez-Cavero

Triphiodorus, who originated from Egypt and lived in the 3rd century ce, was an epic poet and teacher of grammar whose only extant work is The Sack of Troy (691 lines, narrating the final events of the Trojan War).Triphiodorus means “gift of Triphis,” a local deity of Panopolis (modern Akhmim) in Upper Egypt, and was a common name in Panopolis itself and all over Upper Egypt. This and the entry of the Suda (T 1111), calling him an Egyptian, have led to the conclusion that he originated from the area of Panopolis. The Suda actually includes two entries under the same name, the first (T 1111) calling him a poet and grammarian (γραμματικὸς καὶ ποιητὴς ἐπῶν) and attributing to him Marathoniaca (Μαραθωνιακά, on the battle of Marathon, or more likely on Theseus and the Marathonian bull, as in Callimachus’ Hecale), The Sack of Troy.


R. A. Kaster

Gaius Iulius Romanus was a grammatical writer probably active in Italy, as his references to contemporary speech in Campania (Charis. 279.1–2 Barwick: nostri per Campaniam sic locuntur) and to dialectal traits of the Vestini, Teatini, and Marucini (251.8–9) suggest. Certainly later than Apuleius, Flavius Caper (fl. ca. 200ce), and Helenius Acro (2nd centuryce), whom he cites, and earlier than Charisius (ca. mid–4th c. ce), our unique source for knowledge of him, Romanus could be dated more precisely to the third quarter of the 3rd century if the Marcius Salutaris whose opinions on Vergil he twice cites (262.10–11, 297.8–9) is identical with the procurator Marcius Salutaris, vir egregius, datable to 244/248 ce (PIR2 M.247; in his second reference Romanus calls Salutaris vir perfectissimus, a higher rank than vir egregius, presumably held at a later date; Schenkeveld identifies gdentif,, an authority περ authorityld at a later date; , cited at 251.


Alessandro Garcea

Julius Caesar’s composition of two books entitled De Analogia in the spring of 55 or 54bce must be seen as a contribution to the contemporary debate about the role of language at the end of the Republic. When normalisation measures became a priority in the growing Roman world, and after the publication of Cicero’s De Oratore, Caesar restored the use of sermo facilis et cotidianus (“easy and everyday speech”) (fr. 1b Garcea: Cic. Brut. 253) to the heart of eloquence. This standard linguistic model was based on the twin elements of Latinitas (“correct Latin”) and explanatio (“clarity”), which join in elegantia (“refined diction”) (see Auct. ad Her. 4.12.17), the chief quality of Caesar’s eloquence according to all ancient sources. To achieve the first goal, Caesar resorted to ratio (“analogy”), the rules which form a linguistic system and which, within consuetudo (“usage”), allow a distinction to be drawn between forms that are correct and those that are incorrect or useless. In order that speech may attain clarity, he called for an extremely selective dilectus uerborum (“choice of words”) (fr.


Robert A. Kaster

Varro (according to Petrarch) was “the third great light of Rome”—after Vergil and Cicero—and certainly Rome's greatest scholar. Though the great bulk of his work survives only in fragments, the quotations and paraphrases that those fragments preserve make his influence on subsequent writers evident: much of later Latin literature, from the Aeneid of Vergil down to St. Augustine's City of God, would look very different had they been unable to draw upon his learning. His writings covered nearly every branch of inquiry: history, geography, rhetoric, law, philosophy, music, medicine, architecture, religion, and more.Marcus Terentius Varro, (116–27bce), was born at Reate, in the Sabine territory (see sabini) NE of Rome. After studying at Rome with L. Aelius, the first true scholar of Latin literature and antiquities, and at Athens with the Academic philosopher Antiochus of Ascalon, Varro began a public career that brought him to the praetorship and, ultimately, to service on the Pompeian side (see .