Page images
PDF
EPUB

296), “You cannot study his work too much, both as scholars, and as men who seek and love that which is beautiful. His faults, which we cannot deny, are like the faults of a bosom friend, which we must know but towards which we ought not to be unjust, and which ought not to disturb our feelings.” The first book, and some portions of the second Punic war, are, in Niebuhr's judgment, the most beautiful portions of the whole work.

Unfortunately, the larger part of this great history is no longer extant. We have the first, third, and fourth decads, and half of the fifth, -thirty-five books, with a fragment of book ninety-first. We possess, however, summaries of all the books but two, which, though dry and meagre, are yet valuable as in some instances our sole authorities for important facts.

The peculiarities of Liry's style, as distinguished from Cicero and Caesar, are grouped by Grysar under the following heads : 1. Freer use of words. 2. Poetic diction. 3. Peculiarities of syntax. 4. Grecisms. 5. Bolder constructions. 6. Structure of the sentence. 1. Taking materials from old chronicles and (in the history of the kings) from Ennius, he easily adopted their forms of expression : hence archaisms and sometimes pleonasm. 2. Döderlein calls Livy an imitator of Virgil; and certainly he usos many words which, while found in the poets, are never met with in the older prose writers. The poetic coloring of his style appears also in the use of simple verbs for compound, in his fondness for the neuter adjective as substantive both with and without an added genitive, in various poetical constructions (as quid turres loquor, instead of de turribur), and in the frequency with which he introduces tropes and metaphors. 3. It is a peculiarity of Livy's syntax to use the genitive with the verb sum to signify participation in something, or that to which anything serves. The latter idea he often expresses by the dative of the gerundive. His use of the dative instead of the ablative with a or of the accusative with ad, is not particularly frequent. The neuter of the perfect passive participlo often stands alone in Livy in the ablative absolute. The aoristic use of the perfect indicative instead of the pluperfect, and of the perfect subjunctive instead of the imperfect, is common to Livy, Nepos, Sallust, Tacitus, and other historians. More exceptional is Livy's frequent use of the infinitive instead of the subjunctive, not only in indirect questions, but also in the oratio obliqua. This use, however, is confined to passages in orations which Livy puts in the mouth of another person. He uses sometimes the infinitive for the gerund, particularly after tempus, occasio, consilium. The construction of the par

ticles prope and paene with the verb is much more common with Livg than with other writers. He uses the participles with unusual frequency and boldness. 4. (Before proceeding to the fourth head, I cannot forbear remarking that the term “Grecisms" is used by Grysar in some cases too freely, as it has also been unnecessarily employed by many grammarians, to indicate constructions which are as natural and idiomatic in Latin as in Greek. (See Greenough on The Latin Subjunctive, p. 15.) It is true, however, that such constructions were often developed and extended from the influence of Greek writers; and a pure Grecism is occasionally found.) Among Livy's Grecisms, Grysar numbers the adjective use of particles (in Greek preceded by the arti. cle), as adhortatio invicem ; ad exploranda circa loca ; the connection of intransitive verbs with abstract substantives derived from them; the use of collective nouns with a plural verb; the free use both of the genitive to show the respect in which the signification of an adjective is taken, and of the accusative of specification; the use of the participle for an abstract substantive, as degeneratum in aliis (i. 53); freedom in attraction, as raptim, quibus quisque poterat, elatis (i. 29); and finally various Greek modes of expression, as quid ut (iva qi), ertra quam si (ikids et un), cum eo ut (äua roiode), and quam pro (o) Karà or i) Apds) after a comparative, as xxi. 29 and 32: which last construction is never found in Cicero or Caesar, though often in Tacitus. 5. Livy's constructions are often bold and poetical, soinetimes perhaps too evidently artificial. 6. He sometimes inserte too many short clauscs, to the injury of the symmetry and clearness of the sentence. To sum up, Livy appears, in accordance with the taste of his age, to have departed somewhat from the simplicity and strength of earlier writers, and to have, sought to add a charm to his style by novelty and greater freedom of expression.

I subjoin Zumpt's statement of the distinction between the styles of Livy and Cicero :

“This difference is principally to be found in Livy's frequent intro. duction of poetical words and constructions into his prose : e. g. tempestas for tempus, mortales for homines, letum for nex, degere for vivere, or agere vitam, que-que for et-et ; further, in the use of the mere ablative without the preposition in, to express place where;' in the pleo. nastic employment of adverbs, with compound verbs, to strengthen the meaning of the preposition contained in the verb; e. g. prius praecipere, ante praeoccupare, retro repetere, rursus repetere, retro redire, peryere porro, inducere exercitum in agrum hostium ; in collective nouns in the singular being connected with a predicate in the plural: e. g. omnis multitudo abeunt; ingens turba circumfusi fremebant ; clamor concursusque populi, mirantium quid rei esset ; Romanorum minus mille interfecti ; and lastly, in the use of quam for magis quam ; e. g. ipsorum quam Hannibalis interesse. There are other variations between the language of Livy and that of Cicero, which, however, must be attributed to, and are indeed proofs of, the progressive development of Latin syntax. We may mention, as one of these, the use of the future participle active, in a hypothetical sense; for example (xxiii. 44), dedituris se Hannibali non fuisse arcessendum Romanum præsidium -- that is, if they had been intending to give themselves up to Hannibal,' etc."

There has been much idle speculation as to what that “ Patavinity” was, with which, as Quintilian tells us, Livy was reproached by the celebrated orator, historian, and poet, Asinius Pollio. Livy's style had its peculiar characteristics, and one of them — his fondness for poetical forms and constructions — might easily be censured by a lover of classic simplicity. But it has been in all ages a cheap and easy device, whenever the accident of birth allows it, to stigmatize whatever doos not please one's own taste with the charge of provincialism.

PRAEFATIO.

FACTURUSNE operae pretium sim, si a primordio

a urbis res populi Romani perscripserim, nec satis scio, nec, si sciam, dicere ausim, quippe qui cum veterem tum vulgatam esse rem videam, dum novi semper scriptores aut in rebus certius aliquid allaturos se 5 aut scribendi arte rudem vetustatem superaturos credunt. Utcumque erit, juvabit tamen 'rerum gestarum memoriae principis terrarum populi pro virili parte et ipsum consuluisse; et si in tanta scriptorum turba mea fama in obscuro sit, nobilitate ac magnitudine eorum 10 me, qui nomini officient meo, consoler. Res est praeterea et inmensi operis, ut quae supra septingentesimum annum repetatur, et quae ab exiguis profecta initiis eo creverit, ut jam magnitudine laboret sua; et legentium plerisque haud dubito quin primae 15 origines proximaque originibus minus praebitura voluptatis sint, festinantibus ad haec nova, quibus jam pridem praevalentis populi vires se ipsae conficiunt. Ego contra hoc quoque laboris praemium petam, ut me a conspectu malorum, quae nostra tot per annos 20 vidit aetas, tantisper certe, dum prisca illa tota mente repeto, avertam, omnis expers curae, quae scribentis

13

« PreviousContinue »