By Robert Maltby
Etymology - the examine of phrases particularly as regards to their derivations - was once a big aspect in historic suggestion, beginning with Plato's Cratylus. within the Roman interval it turned much more major, partly end result of the effect of Stoicism at the prior improvement of Roman legislations. The De lingua latina of M. Terentius Varro, a latest of the various significant classical Latin writers, is a wealthy shop of etymological conception and instance.
With the improvement of old philology within the 19th century, old etymological perform got here to appear unscientific and hence unworthy of great realization. Classicists considered as ridiculous such derivations because the recognized ''lucus a non lucendo'' (a 'shady grove', from 'not being lit'); noticeable etymologies, usually on right names, they tended to brush aside as trivial wordplay, feeble punning, or mere ornamentation. yet more moderen scholarship has proven that etymologies in Latin and Greek poetry and prose diversity some distance past right names, and are on no account constantly visible. In an highbrow weather pleasant to varied linguistic constructions, historical etymologising is more and more getting used as a device within the examine of historic literature, and the highbrow substructure of historic etymological thought is once more being taken heavily. however the historical assets for identified etymologies are scattered and infrequently demanding to refer to, and the bounds of the potential usually are not constantly revered through literary students.
In A Lexicon of old Latin Etymologies Robert Maltby offers an integral source for this box of enquiry. He has assembled the entire explicitly attested etymologies of Latin antiquity, from the predecessors of Varro to Isidore of Seville, overlaying glossaries and scholia in addition to normal historic etymological source-works. His coverage of quoting commonly, instead of summarising, unearths the relationships among old professionals, and the reasoning at the back of a lot of their etymologies. the result's a huge paintings of reference with the intention to ease trained entry to this quarter of old technology.
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