Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2003.11.26

Heikki Solin, Martti Leiwo, Hilla Halla-aho, Latin vulgaire / Latin tardif VI: Actes du VIe colloque international sur le latin vulgaire et tardif, Helsinki, 29 août - 2 septembre 2000.   Hildesheim:  Olms-Weidmann, 2003.  Pp. xvi, 594.  ISBN 3-487-11849-1.  EUR 80.00.  

Reviewed by Eleanor Dickey, Columbia University (
Word count: 686 words

This weighty volume contains 43 papers on late and vulgar Latin, representing most of those delivered at an international conference in 2000. As is usual in collections of this type, the quality varies considerably from one contribution to the next; in general, perhaps because most of the papers are relatively short, most do not produce conclusions of great importance. Nevertheless there is some noteworthy material in this book, and it also provides by its very inclusiveness a useful snapshot of the recent directions of work on late and vulgar Latin. The papers are written in French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish, in declining order of frequency, and are generally comprehensible. The (paperback) volume is well produced with few typographical errors.

Beyond that there is little that one can say about this book as a whole, for the papers cover a wide range of topics and have little connection to one another in theme, methodology, or approach. Some of the breadth can be gathered from the five categories into which the papers are divided: Problèmes généraux et structuraux, Textes et documents, Variation linguistique, Questions lexicales, and Système grammaticale. Within each section, however, there is also considerable breadth, so that one can really discuss only the merits of individual contributions. As it would be impractical to discuss all of them individually here, I shall attempt to give a sense of what sort of material can be found in this book by focussing on a few contributions that I found particularly interesting; for a complete list of the papers, see 1.

Heikki Solin's "Von Berenike zu Veronica und Verwandtes" explores the connection between the modern name "Veronica," widely attested in many European languages since the late middle ages, and the Macedonian name "Berenike," cognate with Greek "Pherenike." There is an interesting discussion of the early history of the word, for which the variant form Beronike is simply the substitution of the standard Greek composition vowel "o" for the less usual "e," followed by a thorough study (with complete documentation) of the name's attestation and variant spellings in inscriptions. Surprisingly, although the name "Veronice" is attested in Latin inscriptions of the later empire, it is not common and never appears in the form "Veronica." Solin concludes that the modern name, which became popular only with the canonization of saints bearing it, is not directly descended from any of the ancient name forms found in the inscriptions; instead it evolved via the common noun "veronica."

Hilla Halla-aho's "Scribes and the letters of Claudius Terentianus" concentrates on the famous 'Tiberianus archive' of Latin and Greek family letters from Egypt. Instead of looking at the writers of the letters, as is usually done, he concentrates on the scribes to whom the letters were dictated, working out which linguistic features belonged to the scribes and which to the writers and concluding that the scribes possessed very differing degrees of competence. This approach is a welcome reminder that the Latin of these letters is a more complicated affair than one sometimes thinks, but it is marred by a slightly confused conclusion. The author also assumes that the Latin closing formula bene valere te opto is modeled on the Greek ἐρρῶσθαί σε εὔχομαι, although it is now thought that this Greek version is translated from the Latin rather than vice versa.2

József Herman's opening salute to the volume's dedicatee, "En souvenir de Veikko Väänänen: l'état présent des études sur le latin tardif et vulgaire," offers a useful summary of the history of this field from the late nineteenth century onwards, with particular attention to the past quarter-century. There is of course also an emphasis on the work of the dedicatee, but this emphasis (thoroughly justified by his importance in the field) does not obscure the work of other scholars. This summary would be a useful introduction for students or others beginning to work on late and vulgar Latin, a field that can sometimes be confusing for the uninitiated.

Thus there are a number of useful and interesting contributions in this volume, which is a welcome addition to the proceedings of the five earlier conferences on this subject.


1.   Contributions: József Herman, "En souvenir de Veikko Väänänen: l'état présent des études sur le latin tardif et vulgaire"; Robert de Dardel, "Un cas de synchronie non uniforme en protoroman"; Thorsten Fögen, "Forms of language awareness in antiquity and their significance for Latin linguistics: some theoretical remarks"; Witold Man/czak, "Six attitudes envers le problème de l'origine des langues romanes"; Roman Müller, "Rhetorik und sprachlicher Paradigmenwechsel in der römischen Spätantike"; Oswald Panagl, "Analogie und Anomalie: Spielarten des paradigmatischen Ausgleichs im Spät- und Vulgärlatein"; Tamás Adamik, "Temple regulations from Furfo (CIL I2 756)"; Olga Álvarez Huerta, "Sobre los hispanismos en el Itinerarium Egeriae"; Michèle Fruyt, "Anaphore, cataphore et déixis dans l'Itinerarium d'Egérie"; Alfonso García Leal, "La lengua de las inscripciones latinas medievales de Asturias"; Sabine Grebe, "Scientific and narrative arguments in Martianus Capella"; Gerd Haverling, "Sur le latin vulgaire dans la traduction 'ravennate' des Aphorismes d'Hippocrate"; Seppo Heikkinen, Bede's De arte metrica and the origins of early medieval metre"; Dietfried Krömer, "Don't trust the label -- Zur Datierung lateinischer Texte"; Carlo Santini, "Sulla tecnica epitomatoria di Giulio Paride"; Béla Adamik, "Zur Problematik der lateinischsprachigen Bevölkerung in Konstantinopel: das Zeugnis der lateinischen Texte in dem Werk De cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae des Kaisers Konstantin VII Porphyrogennetos"; Frédérique Biville, "Le latin et le grec 'vulgaires' des inscriptions pompéiennes"; Iancu Fischer, "Phonétique et graphie dans l'Appendix Probi"; Hilla Halla-aho, "Scribes and the letters of Claudius Terentianus"; Martti Leiwo, "Greek or Latin, or something in between? The Jews of Venusia and their language"; Robert Maltby, "Evidence for late and colloquial Latin in the Commentaries of Porphyrio, Donatus and Servius"; Hubert Petersmann, "Altes und Neues in Vulgärlatein der Fluchtäfelchen von Bath und Uley"; Carmen Arias Abellán, "El color en los autores (y textos) latinos cristianos"; Louis Callebat, "Les désignations diminutives de l'habitation"; Moreno Campetella, "I termini tecnici agricoli nei Sermoni di Cesario di Arles (470-542)"; Vittorio Ferraro, "Etimologia e storia dell'it. 'bizzoco, (-a)i"; Leena Löfstedt, "Errare humanum est"; Brigitte Maire, "Quand la littérature vulgaire enfante herbes, légumes et fruits"; Antonio Ma Martín Rodríguez, "L'expression verbale de la mort chez Bède le Vénérable"; Emilio Nieto Ballester, "L'expression de la notion 'pierre' en latin tardif de Hispania: Cast. berrueco: les données de la toponymie"; Heikki Solin, "Von Berenike zu Veronica und Verwandtes"; Alberto Zamboni, "Evoluzione e rinnovamento nel lessico del latino volgare: tendenze strutturali e derive interne"; Brigitte L. M. Bauer, "The adverbial formation in mente in vulgar and late Latin: a problem in grammaticalization"; Alessandra Bertocchi and Mirka Maraldi, "Some concessive expressions in the passage from classical to late Latin"; Gualtiero Calboli, "L'emploi des modes dans le latin tardif"; Giovanbattista Galdi, "The grammar of Latin inscriptions of the Eastern Roman Empire: some morphological questions"; Benjamín García-Hernández, "La influencia griega y la renovación del prefijo SVB- en el latín tardío"; Valérie Gitton, "L'accusatif absolu dans l'Ars veterinaria de Pelagonius"; Marcela Hejtmanová, "Hedging in vulgar Latin texts"; Maria Cristina Martins, "Configurationalité et non-configurationalité en latin"; Olga Spevak, "L'emploi des conjonctions concessives dans la prose technique du IVe et Ve siecles"; Roger Wright, "Even Priscian Nods."
2.   See the arguments of Peter Parsons in P.Rain.Cent. 164.15n.

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