The Connection(s) Between Speaking and Fate: Varro, On the Latin Language VI.52

“A man speaks [fatur] who first releases from his mouth a sound that has a meaning. From this, children are called infants [lit. the ‘unspeaking’] before they can do this; when they can do this, they are said “to speak”. Then, the words ‘soothsayer’ [fariolus] and ‘prophet’ [fatuus] are made based on similarity to a child’s speech. Because of the fact that the fates set the lifetime for a child by “speaking” [fando], the words ‘fate’ [fatum] and ‘fateful’ [fatales res] have developed. From the very same word, those who speak easily are called “eloquent” [facundi dicti] and those who are in the habit of uttering the future by sensing it beforehand are called “speakers of fate” [fatidici] and are also described as “speaking prophecy” [vaticinari] because they do this when their mind is in a frenzy: but this will be addressed later when we talk about poets.”

Fatur is qui primum homo significabilem ore mittit vocem. Ab eo, ante quam ita faciant, pueri dicuntur infantes; cum id faciunt, iam fari; cum hoc vocabulum, tum a similitudine vocis pueri fariolus ac fatuus dictum. Ab hoc tempora quod tum pueris constituant Parcae fando, dictum fatum et res fatales. Ab hac eadem voce qui facile fantur facundi dicti, et qui futura praedivinando soleant fari fatidici; dicti idem vaticinari, quod vesana mente faciunt: sed de hoc post erit usurpandum, cum de poetis dicemus.

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