By Ivy Livingston
Because the oldest literary Latin preserved in any volume, the language of Livius indicates many beneficial properties of linguistic curiosity and increases interesting questions of phonolgy, morphology and syntax.
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Additional resources for A Linguistic Commentary on Livius Andronicus (Studies in Classics)
Although parum exists as an indeclinable noun, historically it is the old neut. acc. sg. of the adjective which became parvus , -a , -um . *Par-u' o-m became *parom by regular sound change and this gave parum , which was able to be retained as the noun/adverb because it had become dissociated from the adjectival paradigm, where the loss of *-u' - before *-o- left a stem alternating between *par- and *paru' - . The paradigm was levelled in favor of *paru' - . 4. 2. 5. Something comparable also seems to be going on in modern English, where ‘once’ and ‘ever’ can be used interchangably in some circumstances.
This would provide a perfectly appropriate word to render moi˜ra and so Morta may preserve a trace of the original form of the participle of mereo(r). It is quite likely, however, that the name Morta would at the same time have conjured up for the Romans, as it does for many modern readers, the idea of death, mors (morti- ). Mariotti,10 while not ruling out an etymological connection between Morta and mors , imagines that this association allowed Livius to capture in a single ' toio. ˙ . . yana word the Homeric expression mo ˜i r’ o’ lo¢j Although the semantic context of Morta would seem to require the root etymology discussed above, it is nevertheless true that the root *mer- of morior , mors , etc.
This may very well have come to mean ‘just then’,13 which makes perfect sense in all the passages where the ancient grammarians translate ‘quickly’, vel sim . 14 On the other hand, the fragments of Pacuvius, Ennius, Coelius, and perhaps Accius seem to show a slightly different development of ‘then’, rather along the lines of English ‘then’ in the sense of ‘in that case, accordingly’. Thus the Pacuvius fragment */Topper tecum , sist potestas, faxsit ; sin mecum velit */could be translated, ‘‘Then let him do it with you, if he can, but if he wants to with me .
A Linguistic Commentary on Livius Andronicus (Studies in Classics) by Ivy Livingston