Obnoxious Ciceronians Set Right

J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship Vol. II

“To these fastidious critics the touchstone of Ciceronianism was the lexicon of Nizolius. When some of them were attending Muretus’ lectures in Rome, he slyly introduced into his discourse some of the words which had been accidentally omitted by the lexicographer. The ‘Ciceronians’ protested that it was simple torture to listen to such barbarisms; but, when Muretus actually showed them his authority in the pages of Cicero, the words that had just before been deemed harsh and rough, at once became ‘smooth and sweet and delightful to the ear’. Similarly, the superlative illustrissimus lay under grave suspicion, so long as it was supposed that the earliest authority for its use was Gellius ; but, as soon as it was discovered in Varro, it was no longer necessary to resort to the circumlocution maxime illustris. Muretus was specially grateful to Cujas for bringing some of the old Latin words into use, ne lingua per se inops . . .magis etiam pauperetur [lest the language, already deficient in itself, should be made even poorer].

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