Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Version at BMCR home site
Claude Brunet (ed.), Des formes et des mots chez les Anciens. Mélanges offerts à Danièle Conso. Franche-Comté: Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, Pp. 387. ISBN 9782848672472. €35.00 (pb).
Reviewed by Adriana M. Manfredini, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

[The complete list of authors and titles is included at the end of the review.]

This well-deserved tribute to D. Conso by her colleagues from L'Université de Franche-Comté and from many other universities from all over France covers a wide range of topics, a fact that makes it doubly hard to review.

The editor's avant-propos is followed by the complete list of Conso's publications, a proof of her contribution to lexical-semantic studies through her thesis on forma and her work as a translator of the gromatici. The index proceeds to list 26 articles distributed into three sections. Sections I and II share a high degree of methodological uniformity and set the dominant lexical-semantic trend of the volume, whereas section III focuses on a variety of topics.

Given space limits, we intend to offer an outline of each section and then provide details of as many articles as we can. Our preference is for those collaborations which contribute to define the general profile of the volume. The exclusion of some articles does not imply a value judgment of them.

Section I, Formes en linguistique, the most homogeneous of the three, includes half of the total number of articles in this volume.

F. Bader's work revisits the idea of the suppletion of volo, vis in the verbal paradigm in order to specify the etymological difference between these two forms. The author claims that *h1w-ey-, i.e. root of vis, should be included in a chain of related roots, *h1w-el-, *h1w-en-, *h1w-ek-, which basically derive from a common stem *h1 ew- meaning "desire". Bader intends to define the particular seme of each of the forms in this series by their endings. Thus, towards the end of her article, she highlights "pursuit" as the specialized meaning of *h1w-ey-, according to numerous testimonies from other IE languages. Within the verbal paradigm, " substitution de vis a *wels(i) à la 2ème p. est celle de la "poursuite" au "désir" qui la motive."

This paper, weakened by excessive attention devoted to laryngeals, is followed in complexity by the writings of M. Fruyt, C. Kircher-Durand, J. Manessy-Guitton, C. Moussy, J.F. Thomas and C. Touratier. Yet it contrasts with all of them in that, despite their essentially linguistic nature, the latter six articles offer a more readable version of the particular subjects they deal with. We shall summarize two of them.

C. Kircher-Durand's work is based on the hypothesis that the gerund precedes the adjective in -ndus. A close reading of statistical results shows a high frequency of use of the gerund in archaic Latin which contradicts the established view that the verbal adjective historically precedes it. Kircher-Durand proposes that the conversion from the gerund into the adjective takes place through a process of syntactic reanalysis compatible with different synchronic stages of Latin. The author clearly rejects the idea that "an almost passive future participle endowed with a modal sense of obligation" was converted into a noun form that expresses a process devoid of diathesis and tense. The second part of the article deals with the genesis of Latin forms in -ndo-. C. Moussy's articulate work on the uses of opus/necesse explores the extent to which the earlier difference of senses between opus/necesse est -- "it is a need/useful" and "it is necessary" -- is preserved. Moussy wonders whether the deviation of the personal construction opus est from its earlier meaning to a stronger sense such as that of necesse est might constitute a case of suppletion between the two forms which depends on the type of syntactic subject they belong to (whether nouns or plural neuter pronouns for opus, or only neuter singular pronouns for necesse).

For a clearly defined semantic componential analysis, the reader can turn to the writings by J.F. Thomas and C. Touratier. Thomas works with the multiple meanings of celeber to conclude that a cluster of common semantic features can be clearly distinguished in its various sememes, resulting in its internal coherence as a polysemic word. Touratier, in turn, examines the polysemic verb sentire. He posits the existance of only one sememe, "X experiences a sensory impression caused by Y", derived from one of the semantic features proposed by P. Morillon, whose ideas are being reelaborated and rearranged by Touratier. This sememe is also to be taken into account when it comes to analyzing sentire as a verb of opinion, through the intervention of a metonymic process which involves a change of referent. In fact, it is not the awareness of sensory activity but the act of knowledge, which is usually the consequence of sensory activity, which is being taken as reference to this lexical unit in that particular usage.

M.A. Julia offers an article about the occurrences of forma and other parasynonymic Latin terms in the Vulgate, in close relation to the Greek and Hebrew words they translate. Through a complete survey of the Old and the New Testament, on the one hand, and the versions of the Vetus Latina and the Vulgata on the other, the author's lexical study shows the traces of a process of semantic mutation in forma, which leads from its earlier literal translation to the constitution of a final more Christianized meaning conveying the idea, not of external appearances or realities, but of an inner and spiritual essence, or reality.

Bilingualism in antiquity is addressed by F. Biville and C. Dobias-Lalou in their respective articles. Biville shows how Latin and Greek can be not only target languages for linguistic analysis, but also supplying languages for metalinguistic expressions in Priscian's Institutiones Grammaticae. The ancient grammarian establishes a process of "reversibility of rules" that works by means of a constant code-switching mechanism, resulting in a linguistic entity at the intersection of Latin and Greek, which is superimposed on them at the same time. The hellenist C. Dobias-Lalou selects bilingual inscriptions from landmarks in archaeological sites of the ancient Cyrenaica in order to register their linguistic patterns and the emergent relation of the pair fines/ὅροι. He investigates both usage and meanings of each lexical item in view of their literary and epigraphic occurrences and the possible correspondences between them.

Diachronic aspects of lexical items are especially relevant in the papers of J. Manessy-Guitton, F. Gaide and M. Crampon. Study of focus-topic is represented by M. Fruyt's article, which discusses the interpretation of personal pronouns and possessive adjectives in the context of their translation into French. Under the light of a rather rhetorical inquiry, though not devoid of formal analysis, A. Orlandini examines Cicero's Paradoxa stoicorum in order to uncover enthymemes disguised as sententiae and the Arpinate's elaboration of a much more accessible doxa of the Stoic precepts aimed for his most cultivated contemporaries.

Section II, Formes et territoires, contains only four articles, three of them on the works by the gromatici. C. Brunet, M. Clavel-Lévêque, and J.Y. Guillaumin. study land-surveyors' descriptions of the Roman territories and their boundaries, devoting their attention to certain technical or peculiar words from these treatises that triggered an etymological and lexical analysis. Brunet and Guillaumin pursue different lexical inquiries about the Libri Coloniarum -- having both taken part in the annotated translation of this text with Conso and other colleagues. Brunet's study of the meaning of the adjective demortuus confronted with its hyperonym mortuus offers a careful review of its appearances in Latin literature in order to establish a statistical record of its forms in different authors, including those of the Libri Coloniarum. The author studies the idioms where this lexical item presents itself, together with the analysis of the prefix de- and the contextual presence of verbs that emphasize the semantic feature /replacement/, thus restricting the semantic configuration of this adjective. Guillaumin focuses on the alternating use of technical words that designate square-sectioned landmarks in the Libri Coloniarum. The units quadratus, tetragonon, arca, spatula and the hapax forms lamnicus and bilamna are revised under the light of St. Isidore's Etymologiae and K. Lachmann's 1848 edition of the corpus gromaticum,1 in order to clarify as much as possible the design of these instruments created to define boundaries. Modern translations are discussed as well.2

M. Clavel-Lévèque presents a different approach to these texts, showing how these treatises preserve the Virgilian and Varronian tradition of "productive harmony" in the functions of the vineyards, not only as productive terrains but also as landscape boundary markers. A. Gonzales, in turn, addresses the intricate mythological net that reveals the foundation of Europe as a concept rather than as a geopolitical space. Gonzales also discusses etymologies in an argument about the origins of "Europe" as a noun, especially since the connection between the mythological heroine and the name of the continent appears to be controversial.

Section III, Formes, figures, images, the most heterogeneous of the three, comprises nine articles on varied topics including French literary pieces of the 17th and early 20th centuries, with F. Kerlouégan writing on the genre of the enigma and C. Cazanave on Jesuitic theatre.

Agnès and Alessandro Arbo celebrate Pliny's accuracy in his description of the singing of the nightingale (Nat. 10.43.81-85) by comparing it with Aristotle's Historia Animalium, its most closely related source. Research demonstrates that underneath the garments of Pliny's rhetorical language lies a perfect verbal reproduction of the quality of the sounds produced by the nightingale, as modern sonograms can show. Pliny stresses the idea of the existence of creatures capable of producing "an extremely elaborated ars, perfectible and transmittable, briefly speaking, similar to that of human beings".

The writings of M. Garrido-Hory and C. Sensal reintroduce the trend of lexical research we have already pointed out in Section I. By means of a systematic study of literary, juridic and epigraphic sources, Garrido-Hory demonstrates that verna did not always mean "slave born in the house" but it primarily emphasized the notion of "origin" rather than a defined juridical status, such as slavery. C. Sensal analyses ambiguous expressions registered in historical sources that regard stones as missile weapons, focusing on the adjectives lentus and manualis.

S. Ratti's article constitutes a remarkable contribution to the field of Late Antiquity. It postulates the existence of an ancient lexicon under the name of Συμποσιακά σύμμικτα, composed by Didymus Chalkénteros -- a treatise probably known to St. Jerome -- that aroused the interest and curiosity of a very young Loup de Ferrières who was philologically concerned, to say the least, about this text's cryptic title, as Ratti shows.

J. Peyras and M. Woronoff present an extended exercise in reading and comprehension. Peyras' coherent and detailed exposition of St. Cyprian's Ad Fortunatum shows the rational nature of the spiritual exercises proposed by the bishop of Carthage and their close connection with Roman military discipline. However, it fails to explain its relationship with Latin rhetoric and law, especially in the case of the Stoic influence mentioned towards the end of the article. Peyras' conviction of the existence of a current of Christian thought detached from the apologists is not as thoroughly delved into as would be expected from the claims made throughout the paper. M. Woronoff discusses the well-known fact that there are two different socio-cultural worlds depicted in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The fact that Ulysses is more of a hunter than a warrior in this last poem, together with his manual skills and his attachment to his servants, implies that he represents a new kind of king, with a new style of administration. Woronoff achieves a good synthesis of his readings and his own previous work on the subject, although references to bibliography are scarce.

Some small flaws should be pointed out: italics are frequently forgotten and, occasionally, footnotes do not match the page they are included in.

Les formes... is a good collection of articles, with updated bibliography on the linguistics of ancient languages, a general consistency in research methods, and a refreshing variety of selected sources. It is an undoubtedly useful companion to anyone deeply involved with the ever-amazing Antiquity.

Table des matières
Avant-propos, par Claude BRUNET 9
Danièle CONSO - Bibliographie 11

I - Formes en linguistique
Françoise BADER, Autour de lat. uolo, uis : problèmes étymologiques 19
Frédérique BIVILLE, Les Institutions de Priscien, une grammaire et une culture bilingues 31
Monique CRAMPON, Variations sur formosus, de Virgile à Jules Verne 51
Catherine DOBIAS-LALOU, ὅροι/ fines : un cas de bilinguisme ? 63
Michèle FRUYT, Focalisation des pronoms personnels et des adjectifs possessifs en latin 75
Françoise GAIDE, "Manger" et "mâcher" dans le De medicamentis de Marcellus. À propos de manducare, comedere, edere ; commanducare, commandere, mandere 91
Marie-Ange JULIA , Conception biblique de la forma: entre tradition hébraïque et traduction grecque 101
Chantal KIRCHER-DURAND, Réflexions autour du gérondif latin 119
Jacqueline MANESSY-GUITTON, Sur trois noms à suffixe -sc- : uerbascum, Crespuscus et coruscus 133
Claude MOUSSY, Quelques emplois parallèles de opus et de necesse 143
Anna ORLANDINI, Comment construire une doxa : enthymèmes et sententiae dans les Paradoxa Stoicorum de Cicéron 153
Jean-François THOMAS, La polysémie de lat. celeber 167
Christian TOURATIER, Essai d'analyse sémantique du verbe sentire 185

II - Formes et territoires
Claude BRUNET, Demortuos milites ou un préfixe à l'origine de reconstruction 201
Monique CLAVEL-LÉVÊQUE, Les vignes comme marqueur spatial dans les paysages cultivés : Gromatici et agronomes 217
Antonio GONZALES, Mythes d'Europe et constructions d'un paysage culturel antagonique 223
Jean-Yves GUILLAUMIN , Les désignations des bornes à section quadrangulaire dans les Libri coloniarum 243

III - Formes, figures, images
Agnès et Alessandro ARBO, In una perfecta musica scientia: le rossignol de Pline l'Ancien 255
Caroline CAZANAVE, Le Vivien de Paul Goubert ou quand l'épique et la Provence contribuaient de manière exemplaire à l'édification des collégiens 275
Marguerite GARRIDO-HORY, Verna 299
François KERLOUÉGAN, L'explication de l'Énigme de Rhétorique sur la Vendange en rimes bourguignonnes par Jean Gouin, vigneron de Couchey 309
Claire MUCKENSTURM-POULLE, La fonction des images dans les Entretiens d'Épictète (livre III) 325
Jean PEYRAS, Exercices spirituels et christianisme latin : l'Ad Fortunatum de Saint Cyprien 337
Stéphane RATTI , Jérôme, Didyme Calchentère et les συμποσιακὰ σύμμικτα 359
Catherine SENSAL, Saxa lenta, manuales lapides... De la pierre comme arme de guerre 365
Michel WORONOFF, Nouveaux maîtres, nouvelles valeurs de l'Odyssée 373


1.   K. Lachmann, Die Schriften der Römischen Feldmesser, Berlin, 1848.
2.   B. Campbell, The Writings of the Roman Land Surveyors. Introduction, Text, Translation and Commentary, London, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 2000.

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