Latin vs. Philology: Part VI

Francesco Filelfo, Letter to Lorenzo Medici (Part 6)

“Perhaps they used to use a degenerate kind of Latin, as we see in Terence, when he says that he does not wish to die [emori] in the third conjugation, but then uses emoriri in the fourth. Or as in The Eunuch, Thrasus says, ‘For all who were present to die from laughter.’ Here, though, as it is meant as a stupid sentence for an inept and ridiculous person, so he ascribes a faulty word  to him as a foreigner in light of his ignorance of Latin. But Phaedria, who was an Athenian citizen, used each language incorruptly as though his own, and said, ‘I would prefer to die [mori]’, and not ‘moriri.’

Again, in Heautontimoroumenos, that is, The Self Punisher, the Attic youth Clytipho says, ‘I want to die [emori]’.

Pomponius then follows up and says, ‘But almost everyone in those times, who had never lived outside of the city and who had never been stained by barbarism at home used to speak correctly.’”

Utebantur enim illi forsitan depravata latinitate, qualem videmus apud Terentium, cum non emori dicit secundum tertiam coniugationem, sed emoriri secundum quartam: ut in Eunucho, loquente Thrasone: “Risu omnes qui aderant emoriri”. Hic enim ut stultam sententiam homini inepto ac ridiculo, ita etiam pro latinitatis imperitia, ut peregrino, verbum vitiosum ascripsit, emoriri inquiens; at Phedria atheniensis, qui civis esset, linguaque uteretur vernacula atque incorrupta: “Mori me” inquit “malim”, et non “moriri” dixit.

Et rursus in Heautontimoroumeno, Heautontimorumeno, hoc est se ipsum cruciantem, atticus adolescens Clytipho: “Emori cupio”.

Prosequitur deinceps Pomponius: “Sed omnes tum fere, qui neque extra urbem hanc vixerant neque eos aliquae barbariae, in domestica, infuscarant, recte loquebantur”.

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