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Language and the value of intellectual inquiry : themes in the Noctes Atticae of Aulus Gellius Reid, Shelley Annette 2001

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L A N G U A G E A N D T H E V A L U E O F I N T E L L E C T U A L INQUIRY: T H E M E S IN T H E  NOCTES ATTICAE O F A U L U S G E L L I U S by  S H E L L E Y A N N E T T E REID B . A . , T h e U n i v e r s i t y of Victoria, 1985 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FORTHE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Classical, N e a r Eastern a n d Religious Studies W e accept this thesis as c o n f o r m i n g to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A  A u g u s t 2001  © Shelley Annette R e i d , 2001  UBC  Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form  Page 1 of 1  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n .  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada  http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.html  23/08/2001  11  Abstract  A u l u s G e l l i u s c o m p o s e d his miscellany, the  Noctes Atticae (Attic Nights),  i n the m i d - s e c o n d century A D as a means of educating, entertaining a n d intellectually stimulating his fellow Romans. H i s w o r k was part of a strong miscellany tradition i n the Hellenistic a n d R o m a n w o r l d s . G e l l i u s is frequently d i s m i s s e d as a dilettante w h o collected his material without d i s c r i m i n a t i o n or forethought, a n d it is assumed that his w o r k lacks any thematic structure. W h i l e it is true that the  Noctes Atticae comprises a considerable variety of topics, it is  possible to trace particular themes i n the  Noctes Atticae, such as G e l l i u s '  fascination w i t h language a n d his belief i n the value of intellectual pursuits. Gellius' interest i n language is expressed t h r o u g h his inquiries into discrete w o r d s , i n c l u d i n g the archaic vocabulary of early L a t i n writers, but he also gave consideration to the social aspects of language, especially the issue of the determination of language usage. T h e h i g h value w h i c h he placed o n intellectual i n q u i r y a n d research is a persistent theme i n the  Noctes Atticae; G e l l i u s w a s  passionate i n his belief that the truly educated m a n never forsook his intellectual curiosity.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  hi  Abbreviations  iv  Acknowledgement  v  Nodes Atticae  Introduction  A u l u s Gellius a n d the  1  Chapter 1  A u l u s Gellius: H i s Life, E d u c a t i o n a n d Influences  Chapter 2  A Fascination W i t h W o r d s  47  Chapter 3  T h e Social Uses of L a n g u a g e  80  Chapter 4  T h e Inquiring M i n d  8  113  Conclusion  149  Bibliography  152  iv  Abbreviations  T h e abbreviation L i n chapter citations of the  Noctes Atticae is for lemma, or  chapter h e a d i n g . A b b r e v i a t i o n s u s e d i n the text for L a t i n authors a n d their w o r k s are taken f r o m the list of abbreviations f o u n d i n the  Latin Dictionary, edited b y L e w i s a n d Short  (Oxford: C l a r e n d o n Press, 1951). A b b r e v i a t i o n s u s e d i n the text for Greek authors a n d their w o r k s are taken f r o m the list of abbreviations f o u n d i n the  Greek-English Lexicon, edited b y L i d d e l l a n d  Scott (Oxford: C l a r e n d o n Press, 1968). A b b r e v i a t i o n s u s e d i n the bibliography are taken f r o m the list of abbreviations  L'Annee Philologique, w i t h the exception of ANRW, w h i c h stands for Aufsteig und Niedergang Der Romischen Welt, ed. W . Haase a n d H . T e m p o r i n i f o u n d i n the  (Berlin: de G r u y t e r , 1972 - ) .  Acknowledgement M y love a n d thanks to m y h u s b a n d , for the m a n y hours of help, to m y children, for letting me w o r k w i t h few interruptions, a n d to m y mother, for d o i n g the l a u n d r y .  1  Introduction Aulus Gellius and the Nodes Atticae  T h i s thesis examines themes f o u n d i n the w o r k of A u l u s G e l l i u s , an upper-class R o m a n gentleman, w h o , sometime i n the second half of the second century A D , wrote a n d p u b l i s h e d a miscellany w h i c h he entitled the  Noctes  Atticae (Attic Nights).* T h e Noctes Atticae, w h i c h is G e l l i u s ' only k n o w n w o r k , consists of a lengthy preface a n d twenty books d i v i d e d into a variable n u m b e r of chapters, w i t h each chapter p r o v i d e d w i t h a l e m m a , or chapter heading; nineteen of the books have s u r v i v e d the centuries almost intact, while one book, the eighth, has retained only its lemmata.  2  W i t h the inclusion of the lost chapters  f r o m the eighth book, there is a total of 398 chapters.  1  3  Gellius refers to his work as either the Noctes Atticae or the Atticae Noctes (praef. 4,10); the  former is generally preferred by modern scholars. 2  Reynolds 1983:176 - 180 provides a summary of the manuscript tradition for the Nodes  Atticae.  The eighth book was lost in entirety somewhere between the fifth and ninth centuries; the lemmata for the book reappeared early in the fifteenth century. See also Rolfe 1954: xviii - xxii. 3  Holford-Strevens 1988: 241 - 254 reviews in some detail the history of the editions and  translations of Gellius' work. The order of the preface and chapters and the division of the books have been altered on occasion by editors (notably in a French edition in the eighteenth century), but have been restored by more recent editors to that found in the manuscripts.  The length of the chapters i n each book varies greatly: a v e r y few are only several lines long; most are at least several paragraphs; a n d m a n y are several pages. T h e subject matter of the chapters varies as m u c h as their length. B o o k 9, for example, includes topics as diverse as w h y missiles hit their m a r k m o r e accurately if t h r o w n f r o m below than above ( § 1 ) ; a copy of a letter f r o m P h i l i p of M a c e d o n to Aristotle a n n o u n c i n g the birth of his son, A l e x a n d e r ( § 3 ) ; natural marvels a n d d e a d l y spells ( § 4 ) ; the quantity of the initial v o w e l i n particular verbs ( § 6 ) ; the m e t h o d to follow i n translating Greek expressions ( § 9 ) ; the o r i g i n of V a l e r i u s C o r v i n u s ' c o g n o m e n ( § 1 1 ) ; w o r d s w i t h two opposite meanings ( § 1 2 ) ; the correct genitive of fades ( § 1 4 ) ; a n d P l i n y the Elder's failure to detect a logical fallacy ( § 1 6 ) . The variety of subjects offered to his reader b y G e l l i u s is not unexpected in a miscellany, for it is in the nature of the genre to present a collection of brief notes on diverse topics. T h e information p r o v i d e d to the reader b y a miscellanist is largely, t h o u g h not necessarily exclusively, d r a w n from earlier w o r k s of history, literature or philosophy. T h e miscellany is closely related to the c o m p e n d i u m , w h i c h also p r o v i d e s its reader w i t h brief notes but o n one general topic, s u c h as military strategy or the lives of philosophers. T h e miscellany a n d c o m p e n d i u m were favourite genres i n antiquity a n d they still m a i n t a i n a certain p o p u l a r i t y i n the m o d e r n w o r l d , in publications s u c h as the  Reader's Digest. It is  3  easy to dismiss the  Noctes Atticae, as some m o d e r n critics have, as the w o r k of a n  inconsequential dabbler, a n d o n first examination such a dismissal appears to be not without cause. G e l l i u s roams w i d e l y , a n d often his decision to i n c l u d e particular material can seem p u z z l i n g . W h o , for example, w o u l d benefit f r o m k n o w i n g only the names of certain weapons, darts or swords w h i c h are to be f o u n d i n early R o m a n histories—not their physical description nor e v e n an account of h o w or w h e n they might have been used, but merely a lengthy list of their names (10.25)? Is it possible that G e l l i u s himself believes, as he reports, that P a p h l a g o n i a n partridges have two hearts a n d that Bisaltian hares two livers (14.15)? O r that Pontic ducks can expel p o i s o n (12.16)? Is there not a touch of p e d a n t r y i n G e l l i u s ' insistence that the archaic perhaps e v e n better than,  pluria (many) is as g o o d as, or  plura, w h i c h was i n use a m o n g c o n t e m p o r a r y L a t i n  speakers (5.21)? It is possible, however, to defend G e l l i u s a n d his w o r k , a n d not just as a source of historical a n d literary material f r o m antiquity w h i c h m i g h t otherwise have been lost to us (which is most assuredly the case).  4  G e l l i u s was not a  towering intellectual figure i n his day; he was a m a n of g o o d education w h o m o v e d a l o n g the fringes of the R o m a n a n d Greek intellectual a n d social elite of  4  The Noctes Atticae is often our major or even sole source for the fragmentary remains of a  number of ancient authors, such as Ennius and Varro; it also provides a wealth of otherwise unavailable detail concerning Roman legal, political, religious and social practices.  4  the mid-second century, a man of modest, perhaps even mediocre, abilities who nevertheless felt passionately about particular ideas and who wrote his miscellany to promote them. The genre of the miscellany provided Gellius a suitable framework for presenting his ideas; it allowed him a flexibility in presentation and content. He was astute enough to understand the importance of engaging his reader's attention; so he wisely constructured his miscellany out of a variety of subject matter, including elements of pure entertainment and diversion, such as the poison-spitting Pontic ducks. His success in producing a literary work that is easy and enjoyable reading is readily assessed by comparing it to another popular ancient compendium, that of Valerius Maximus, a Roman of the first century A D whose work, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia (Memorable Sayings and Doings), collected together historical exempla organised along moral themes, such as moderation, chastity and military discipline. Valerius' work is not 5  uninteresting at the level of a single chapter, but it is unrelieved by any variety in its theme, and the reader can soon weary of the repetitious moral messages. It is granted that Valerius did not intend that his work would be read at one sitting; like the Noctes Atticae, it is meant to be dipped into as the need or desire occurs. But the reader who picks up Gellius' work for a browse may likely find his attention caught by the diverting bits of information which are sprinkled  5  Gellius himself drew upon Valerius' work.  5  amongst the other, more serious topics, a n d so linger i n the w o r k m u c h longer than he otherwise m i g h t have, i m b i b i n g the earnest along w i t h the frivolous. G e l l i u s distinguishes himself amongst ancient authors of miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a for the variety of literary techniques w h i c h he e m p l o y s i n the  Noctes  Atticae. Valerius, for example, sticks to the use of direct exposition a n d quotations, s e l d o m if ever changing his tone or r h y t h m , a n d a similar style is f o u n d i n most other extant miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a f r o m the ancient w o r l d . A t h e n a e u s a n d M a c r o b i u s use the dramatic setting of a dinner party i n their miscellanies, w h i c h allows both for direct exposition a n d for the use of quotations, as w e l l as for conversation between the dinner guests. G e l l i u s , however, is more inventive. H e uses direct exposition a n d quotations (either of written w o r k s or speeches) extensively throughout the  Noctes Atticae, but b y  m o v i n g between first a n d third person reporting he makes greater use of dialogue a n d anecdote than either Athenaeus or M a c r o b i u s .  6  H e is also not  content w i t h a single setting such as a dinner party for presenting his material, but chooses to place his anecdotes i n locations as diverse as the classroom (17.20), a students' Saturnalia party (18.2), the p u b l i c libraries of R o m e (11.17), the law courts (14.2), an evening boat ride (2.21), the h o m e of senator (12.1) or i n the m i d s t of an A d r i a t i c storm (19.1), a m o n g just a few examples. T h e settings  6  Holford-Strevens 1988: 47.  are generally not detailed, but they are sufficient to engage G e l l i u s ' reader before the author proceeds to the m a i n subject of the chapter. W i t h such a diversity of subject matter a n d forms of presentation it is difficult to classify the chapters of the Noctes Atticae into any sort of thematic or structural pattern. T h i s thesis w i l l demonstrate, however, that, despite the apparent lack of structural or thematic unity a n d the seemingly trivial nature of m u c h of the w o r k , it is possible to identify two significant themes w h i c h present themselves i n every book i n the intellectual i n q u i r y .  7  Noctes Atticae, namely, language a n d the value of  G e l l i u s pursues these two concepts relentlessly a n d e v e n  passionately throughout the pages of his work. T h e first chapter w i l l present what is k n o w n of the life of G e l l i u s , most of w h i c h m u s t be inferred from the  Noctes Atticae a n d is h i g h l y speculative. But  w h i l e specific biographical details are scarce, we can, through an examination of the text, d r a w a reasonably accurate portrait of his education a n d intellectual b a c k g r o u n d . G e l l i u s ' teachers, both formal a n d informal, appear repeatedly t h r o u g h o u t his w o r k a n d they h a d a p r o f o u n d influence o n his t h i n k i n g a n d w r i t i n g a n d o n his reason for c o m p o s i n g the  Noctes Atticae.  Gellius' interest in a n d inquiries into language, particulary the discrete w o r d , w i l l f o r m the basis of the f o l l o w i n g two chapters. In the m i n d s of m a n y  7  Gellius has other, less predominant themes in the Noctes Atticae, such as the various aspects of  structure in Roman society and the oppositions of appearance and reality.  '  7  m o d e r n scholars, G e l l i u s ' interest i n w o r d s is l i m i t e d to archaism, but archaism is but one facet of his love of w o r d s a n d language.  8  In the Noctes Atticae  he  considers a n u m b e r of lexicographical issues, but he also explores some of the social aspects of language: h o w a literate society, such as G e l l i u s ' social class, determines language usage, a n d h o w language is used i n society. T h e final chapter of this thesis w i l l argue that G e l l i u s ' p r i m a r y p u r p o s e i n w r i t i n g his miscellany is to promote the value of intellectual curiosity a n d i n q u i r y a n d , to b o r r o w a more m o d e r n term, the concept of "life-long learning." For G e l l i u s , education does not stop w i t h formal studies a n d the a s s u m p t i o n of adult responsibilities; he writes for educated, upper-class m e n like himself, a n d throughout the Noctes Atticae he strives to demonstrate that the truly educated m a n continues to read, research a n d ask questions b e y o n d the confines of the classroom.  8  See Vessey 1994:1863 - 1867 on the critical stance taken towards Gellius' archaism.  8  Chapter 1 Aulus Gellius: His Life, Education and Influences  Scholars k n o w really v e r y little about the life a n d career of A u l u s G e l l i u s . T h e editors of the 1666 edition of the  Noctes Atticae s u m m e d u p the vagueness of  o u r k n o w l e d g e of the details of his life rather succinctly:  1  Dies ejus natalis incid.it in jam adfectum Trajani imperium, adolescentia in Hadrianum, florens aetas in Antoninum Pium, obitus in Marci Antonini Philosophi principium. H i s birth date occurred at the e n d of Trajan's reign, his y o u t h i n H a d r i a n ' s , his p r i m e u n d e r A n t o n i n u s Pius, a n d his death at the b e g i n n i n g of the reign of M a r c u s [Aurelius] A n t o n i n u s , the philosopher. W h a t w e d o k n o w about the m a n comes from what can be gleaned f r o m the pages of his w o r k , for G e l l i u s is not m e n t i o n e d b y any c o n t e m p o r a r y writers. There is one reference to a "Gellius" i n the correspondence of the second-century rhetorician M a r c u s C o r n e l i u s Fronto  (Amic. 1.19), but an u n e q u i v o c a l  identification cannot be m a d e w i t h the author of the  Noctes Atticae. E v e n if s u c h 2  1  Thysius 1666: *.  2  van den H o u t 1988:182. "Non agnovi ista mea ab Gellio pessime quaeri: credideris admonuisse  se edere" ("I did not know that my words were much sought after by Gellius: y o u can be certain  9  an identification c o u l d be m a d e , however, the letter is u n d a t e d a n d is therefore of l i m i t e d use i n securing Gellius' chronology.  3  Gellius' date of birth has b e e n  the subject of scholarly speculation, most recently b y P. K . M a r s h a l l a n d Leofranc Holford-Strevens. G e l l i u s provides his reader no absolute dates concerning his o w n life and, therefore, scholars rely u p o n a small h a n d f u l of textual clues.  We  4  k n o w , for example, that he was alive i n the years after H a d r i a n , w h o d i e d in 138, since he mentions "divus H a d r i a n u s " ("the deified H a d r i a n " ) o n four occasions (3.16.12; 11.15.3; 13.22.1; 16.13.4).  5  G e l l i u s associated w i t h b o t h F r o n t o a n d the  A t h e n i a n orator-philanthropist H e r o d e s Atticus; o n several occasions he refers to each of them as ex-consuls (2.26.1; 1.2.1; 19.12.1; 9.2.1), a n d we k n o w that F r o n t o a n d H e r o d e s A t t i c u s were consul  suffectus a n d consul ordinarius, respectively, i n  143 u n d e r H a d r i a n ' s successor, A n t o n i n u s Pius, w h o r u l e d f r o m 138 to 161. only other n a m e of a contemporary office-holder to appear i n the  6  The  Noctes Atticae is  that of E r u c i u s C l a r u s , w h o , according to Gellius, h e l d the office of c o n s u l twice  that I admonished h i m about publishing"). The translation is not certain, as the context of the line is not completely clear. Both Marshall 1963:143 and Baldwin 1975: 5 state that the reference might as easily be to a Lucius Gellius mentioned by Arrian, but Holford-Strevens 1988: 98 - 99 and van den Hout 1999: 427 - 428 argue that A u l u s Gellius is the most probable and reasonable identification, and van den Hout believes that Fronto is likely referring to the Noctes Atticae itself. C h a m p l i n 1980:36 calls any connection drawn between this letter and the Noctes  Atticae  "hazardous." 3  van den H o u t 1999: 427 dates the letter to the years between A D 160 and 167.  4  Marshall 1963:143 outlines the range of possibilities for Gellius' birth which were put forth by  scholars in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, from Weiss' suggestion of A D 113 u p to Friedlander's 130 -134. 5  A l l translations from Noctes Atticae, unless otherwise noted, are from Rolfe 1954 - 1961.  s  Holford-Strevens 1988: 93; Baldwin 1975: 32.  10  (13.18.2). G e l l i u s also mentions that at the time that he himself was still a student of the g r a m m a r i a n Sulpicius A p o l l i n a r i s , C l a r u s was  praefectus urbi (urban  prefect) (7.6.12). M a r s h a l l argues that Clarus, w h o d i e d i n M a r c h 146 w h i l e h o l d i n g b o t h the consulship a n d the office of the  praefectus urbi, was praefectus  urbi p r o b a b l y between the years 142 to 146. T a k i n g this c o n c l u s i o n together 7  w i t h evidence f r o m another passage i n w h i c h G e l l i u s indicates that he took u p his studies w i t h A p o l l i n a r i s o n l y after he h a d a s s u m e d the  toga virilis (adult toga)  (18.4.1), w h i c h w o u l d n o r m a l l y occur between the ages of fourteen a n d sixteen, M a r s h a l l extrapolates that G e l l i u s was at least fourteen or fifteen years o l d d u r i n g the years i n w h i c h C l a r u s was  praefectus urbi. T h i s w o u l d place G e l l i u s ' s  birth between the years 127 a n d 132. M a r s h a l l , therefore, basing his calculations o n the probable educational path w h i c h G e l l i u s took, opts for a year of birth prior to 130. Holford-Strevens, t h o u g h differing f r o m M a r s h a l l as to w h e n C l a r u s h e l d the offices of consul a n d  praefectus urbi, also argues for a date of birth  for G e l l i u s n o later than 130. H e posits that G e l l i u s was b o r n i n a year between 125 a n d 128.  9  O t h e r dates w h i c h can be inferred f r o m the text d o not offer m u c h m o r e assistance.  G e l l i u s reports, for example, a conversation between the p h i l o s o p h e r  7  Marshall 1963:144. The date of 142 is highly tentative by Marshall's own admission.  8  Marshall 1963:146.  9  Holford-Strevens 1977: 93 - 94.  11  F a v o r i n u s a n d the jurist Sextus Caecilius, i n w h i c h the latter refers to the fact that it was at least six h u n d r e d years since the p r o m u l g a t i o n of the laws of the T w e l v e Tables, an event w h i c h took place three h u n d r e d years after the f o u n d i n g of R o m e (20.1.6); this reference places their conversation at least as late as 148, w h i c h was the official celebration of the nine h u n d r e d t h anniversary of the f o u n d i n g of the city. T h e fact that G e l l i u s apparently was o n l y e a v e s d r o p p i n g o n the conversation between F a v o r i n u s a n d Caecilius a n d was likely not part of F a v o r i n u s ' coterie o n the occasion suggests that he was still a relatively y o u n g m a n , perhaps i n the range of twenty years of age.  10  G e l l i u s also mentions that  w h e n he was a student i n Greece he a c c o m p a n i e d his teacher C a l v e n u s T a u r u s , the Platonic philosopher, to the P y t h i a n games at D e l p h i (12.5.1); the games are k n o w n to have been h e l d i n 147 a n d again i n 163. Holford-Strevens argues i n favour of G e l l i u s ' attendance as a y o u n g m a n at the games of 147; his arguments are reasonable but still o n l y speculative.  11  G e l l i u s also mentions meeting a n d  conversing w i t h the philosopher Peregrinus Proteus (8.3.L; 12.11.1), w h o is said to have c o m m i t t e d suicide b y self-immolation at the O l y m p i c games i n 165  1 0  Gellius notes that "cum salutationem Caesaris opperiremur, philosophus Favorinus accessit  conlocutusque est, nobis multisque aliis praesentibus" ("as we were waiting to pay our respects to Caesar, the philosopher Favorinus met and accosted Caecilius . . . in m y presence and that of several others") (20.1.2). 11  Holford-Strevens 1977: 96.  12  (Lucian,  Peregr.l), but because G e l l i u s never alludes to his death this i n f o r m a t i o n  is of l i m i t e d use i n establishing a chronology.  T h u s all that it is reasonable for scholars to assume is that G e l l i u s w a s b o r n p r o b a b l y between 125 a n d 132 (giving both M a r s h a l l a n d H o l f o r d - S t r e v e n s their due) a n d that he was alive d u r i n g the reign of A n t o n i n u s Pius a n d likely into that of A n t o n i n u s ' successor, M a r c u s A u r e l i u s (161 - 180). A s w i t h G e l l i u s ' date of birth, we likewise have few clues as to the date of his death.  Holford-  Strevens argues, largely o n the basis of G e l l i u s ' diction i n 19.12.1 a n d 20.1.1, that the  Noctes Atticae, w h i c h appeared d u r i n g G e l l i u s ' lifetime, was p u b l i s h e d after  176, but again that is only speculation.  12  In the conclusion to his preface G e l l i u s  indicates that it is his desire to a d d m o r e books to the twenty he has already c o m p i l e d for the  Noctes Atticae. H i s failure to d o this has been interpreted to  m e a n that he d i e d shortly after the publication of his w o r k , but this is an u n s u p p o r t e d supposition. G e l l i u s was a slow worker; i n the preface to his w o r k he i m p l i e s that he spent m a n y years c o m p i l i n g his notes (praef. 2, 22). It is possible that he spent m a n y m o r e years after the publication of the  Noctes Atticae  i n similar activity, only to die before being able to put his notes into publishable form.  13  1 2  Holford-Strevens 1977:101 - 108.  1 3  Marshall 1983:176 discusses the popularity of the Noctes Atticae among the writers of late  antiquity, such as Lactantius, A m m i a n u s Marcellinus, Macrobius and Augustine, some of w h o m  13  G e l l i u s gives no place of birth for himself a n d virtually n o i n f o r m a t i o n about his family. Some scholars, i n c l u d i n g Holford-Strevens, believe that, t h o u g h G e l l i u s appears to have spent most of his life i n R o m e , he was i n fact b o r n outside Italy. T h i s notion is based o n G e l l i u s ' use of nostrum i n 16.13.2: "Quotus e n i m fere n o s t r u m est, qui, c u m ex colonia p o p u l i R o m a n i s i t . . ." ("For h o w rarely is one of us f o u n d w h o , c o m i n g f r o m a colony of the R o m a n people . . . " ) . A brief reference i n the l e m m a of 8.13 to a G r e e k w o r d (eupsones or  cupsones) w h i c h was u s e d in A f r i c a is also frequently e m p l o y e d to argue that u  A f r i c a was his province of b i r t h .  15  In his m o n o g r a p h o n G e l l i u s , Barry B a l d w i n  dismisses the idea of G e l l i u s ' A f r i c a n origins as "probably a delusion" a n d notes that, w h i l e G e l l i u s mentions A f r i c a o n twelve other occasions i n the  Noctes  Atticae, i n none of them does he offer any personal connection to the p r o v i n c e .  16  E v e n Holford-Strevens, w h o subscribes to the v i e w that G e l l i u s was f r o m A f r i c a , admits that the two passages (16.13.2 a n d 8.13.L) c o u l d be pressed too far i n this matter.  17  made extensive verbatim quotations from the text. There is nothing in their texts to indicate that Gellius published any other book which might have been lost to the modern world. 14  Marshall 1962: 273 discusses the two possible emendations for the textual corruption in the  lemma of 8.13. H e argues that eupsones is correct "beyond all doubt," as it is also found in Augustine. The meaning of the word is not clear. 1 5  Holford-Strevens 1988:10 - 12.  1 6  Baldwin 1975: 6.  1 7  Holford-Strevens 1988:12.  14  G e l l i u s tells us that he has children, but does not give their genders or ages (praef.l).  18  H e mentions neither parents nor siblings, nor does he ever  allude to a wife. H e p r o v i d e s v e r y few domestic details at all; there is n o talk of personal wealth, h o u s e h o l d routines or slaves, family celebrations or sorrows. W e surmise that he was rich e n o u g h to be able to travel abroad a n d to m i x i n an elite circle u p o n his return to R o m e , but that he was likely not a m o n g the wealthiest of the R o m a n empire. T h i s supposition is the i m p l i c a t i o n to be d r a w n f r o m his reference to a y o u n g m a n w h o was "ex ditioribus" ("from the richer class") (9.15.2). A s well, he m a y not have been wealthy e n o u g h to enjoy his o w n country retreat. O n four separate occasions he mentions s p e n d i n g the hottest part of the year w i t h friends at their country villas (9.15.1; 17.10.1; 18.5.1; 19.5.1), but he never mentions a villa of his o w n . It is a tenuous inference, h o w e v e r , that he h a d insufficient resources to o w n a v i l l a .  19  Upper-class R o m a n s frequently  partook of each other's hospitality at their country retreats, as is evident i n the letters of b o t h Cicero (Att. 13.52) a n d the y o u n g e r P l i n y {Ev. 6.14, 7.16); the s u m m e r visits to the villas of friends m a y have been reciprocated but never m e n t i o n e d b y G e l l i u s i n the  1 8  Noctes Atticae. H e does state i n one chapter that he  Gellius might have had only one child. H e tells his reader at 2.13.1 that the older Roman  writers often referred to even one child as liberi (children); Gellius may be doing the same. 1 9  Baldwin 1975: 7 - 8 comes to this conclusion. Cf. Holford-Strevens 1980:10.  15  was alone "in Praenestino recessu" ("in retirement at Praeneste") (11.3.1); it is possible that he o w n e d a villa there.  G e l l i u s tells us that he was appointed a judge at R o m e as a y o u n g m a n , but he recounts o n l y two incidents f r o m his time o n the b e n c h (12.13; 14.2); o n one occasion he declared himself unable to reach a judgement a n d excused h i m s e l f f r o m the case. W e d o not k n o w whether he c o n t i n u e d to act as a j u d g e t h r o u g h o u t his a d u l t h o o d or if he took u p any p u b l i c offices. H e mentions i n a v a g u e w a y the press of business (praef.12) a n d that on one occasion he was "defessus . . . diutina commentatione" ("wearied w i t h constant writing") (14.5.1), but w e have few other clues as to his daily preoccupations. W e k n o w that he visited libraries i n R o m e a n d other cities (9.14.3; 11.17.1; 13.20.1; 16.8.2; 18.9.5), as w e l l as booksellers (5.4.1; 9.4.1; 13.31.1); he went to d in n er parties or other social events i n b o t h A t h e n s a n d R o m e (7.13.1; 17.8.1; 18.2.2; 18.13.4; 19.7.2; 19.9.1; 20.8.2); he visited friends a n d acquaintances at their homes or i n p u b l i c places (2.26.1; 3.1.1; 12.1.3; 13.25.2; 13.29.2; 15.1.2, et al); a n d he attended o n the emperor, p r e s u m a b l y A n t o n i n u s Pius, at least twice (4.1.1; 20.1.2). G e l l i u s ' w o r l d , as it is portrayed i n the  Noctes Atticae, is confined virtually  to his intellectual studies a n d pursuits. W e k n o w that he was reasonably fluent i n Greek, for he cites Greek authors a n d examines Greek w o r d s t h r o u g h o u t the  Noctes Atticae (praef. 21; 2.27.1; 4.11.2; 6.8.5; 6.16.7; 9.8.3, et al), a n d that he spent  16  at least one year i n A t h e n s (praef. 3; 7.16.1; 9.4.1; 10.1.1; 15.2.3; 16.6.1, et al).  He  indicates that his p u r p o s e i n visiting A t h e n s was to pursue his studies (1.2.1; 18.2.2). G e l l i u s alludes to an intimate relationship w i t h the wealthy a n d p o w e r f u l H e r o d e s Atticus d u r i n g his stay i n A t h e n s (1.2.1; 9.2.1; 18.10.1; 19.12.1); he also mentions trips to A e g i n a (2.21.1), D e l p h i (12.5.1), Patrae (18.9.5) a n d Eleusis (8.10.L).  T h e information above essentially summarises what we k n o w of the life of A u l u s G e l l i u s . It seems scant, but there was little reason for G e l l i u s to have i n c l u d e d m o r e personal information about himself. H e s e l d o m includes i n the  Noctes Atticae intimate details about his contemporaries either, for that matter. But despite the lack of such intimate detail concerning its author, the  20  Noctes  Atticae is an intensely personal work; w h e n the reader completes all twenty books an intimacy has been established w i t h Gellius, but the reader's intimacy w i t h h i m lies not i n the details of b i o g r a p h y but in the realm of the intellect, i n his ideas a n d mental preoccupations. G e l l i u s reveals himself a n d his v i e w of his w o r l d to his audience p r i m a r i l y t h r o u g h his intellectual interests, n a m e l y , a love of w o r d s a n d a passion for inquiry. T o better u n d e r s t a n d these interests, we  2 0  It is particularly interesting that Gellius makes no reference to the aspects of Favorinus that are  highlighted in Philostratus' biography of the philosopher, namely his relationship with Hadrian, his ambiguous sexuality and his odd physical appearance (VS 489).  17  n e e d to examine the intellectual e n v i r o n m e n t i n w h i c h G e l l i u s flourished; i n  particular w e must consider his education a n d his scholarly influences.  G e l l i u s p r o v i d e s us w i t h the merest sketch of his f o r m a l education, a n d  w e must compare the few details w h i c h he does give us w i t h o u r current  k n o w l e d g e of second-century education i n order to fill out this sketch. O f his  earliest education, what w e w o u l d think of as b e i n g equivalent to " p r i m a r y  education," w e k n o w nothing, for G e l l i u s never alludes to it.  21  W e can o n l y  surmise that G e l l i u s ' parents w o u l d h a v e arranged for their son's most basic  schooling b y s e n d i n g h i m , a r o u n d the age of seven, to a  grammatistes, w h o taught  not g r a m m a r but the basic elements of literacy, or perhaps b y a r r a n g i n g for i n -  h o m e tutoring b y a paedagogus, a well-educated G r e e k slave.  22  T h i s early  e d u c a t i o n w o u l d consist of the r u d i m e n t s of r e a d i n g a n d arithmetical  calculations; it w o u l d also p r o v i d e an introduction to the G r e e k language.  We  m i g h t consider as an example of p r i m a r y education i n the second century the  case of one of G e l l i u s ' contemporaries, the future e m p e r o r Pertinax, w h o was  21  Booth 1979:10 warns that it is dangerous to rely too much upon contemporary models of  education when discussing education in the ancient world: "Modern scholars have been too prone to expect and detect everywhere [in ancient schooling] an elementary-secondary progression analogous with modern systems." I am using the modern terms, therefore, rather loosely. Morgan 1998: 28 also advises against holding too closely to the distinctions between the titles of grammatistes  and grammaticus,  as the titles were often used interchangeably outside the  writings of jurists and Quintilian. 2 2  Quintilian (Inst. 1.1.1. 15 - 20) argues that a child is ready for instruction well before the age of  seven, but his argument implies that seven was the standard. Bonner 1977: 39 - 45 discusses the role of the Greek paedagogus in Roman education. Marrou 1964:138 - 139 stresses that Roman  18  b o r n to an apparently wealthy freedman i n 126: "Puer litteris elementariis et  calculo i m b u t u s , datus etiam Graeco grammatico . . . " ("As a boy, he was educated i n the r u d i m e n t s of literature a n d i n arithmetic a n d was also p u t u n d e r the care of a G r e e k teacher of g r a m m a r . ..")  (Hist. Aug. Pert. 1.4) . A s A l a n 23  Booth points out, "The details [of Pertinax' education] m a y be fictitious, but the arrangements w i l l reflect k n o w n practices," a n d therefore we m a y safely speculate that this description of Pertinax's schooling likely reflects G e l l i u s ' earliest e d u c a t i o n .  24  T h e importance of literature, particularly of poetry, i n the education of children in the classical w o r l d , even at the level of schooling p r o v i d e d b y the  grammatistes or paedagogus, cannot be overstated. A s Teresa M o r g a n explains, literature was expected to be e m p l o y e d to meet a w i d e range of educational purposes, s u c h a s :  25  . . . the conveyance of practical information, the p r o v i s i o n of role models, the reflection of real life, the formation of character, the training of m e m o r y , instruction in characterization, elementary instruction in other disciplines, the demonstration of correct language, a n d the presentation of p a r a d i g m s of every type of rhetorical figure, trope, argument a n d genre.  education under the empire was essentially Greek education; the Romans adopted Hellenistic educational practices almost wholesale and made very few adaptations to them. 2 3  Translation by Magie 1960.  2 4  Booth 1979: 5.  2 5  Morgan 1998: 95.  19  T h e p r i m a r y goal of R o m a n education was eloquence, a n d "an u n r e m i t t i n g a n d  exclusive study of poetry p r e p a r e d the w a y for the teaching of eloquence." Quintilian, whose  26  Institutio Oratorio, p r o v i d e s a prescription for the e d u c a t i o n of  R o m a n y o u t h i n the first century A D , expects that orators w i l l d r a w u p o n poetry for its richness of vocabulary, its use of dramatic structure, a n d its p u r i t y of themes  (Instit. 1.8.8 - 9). Literature also contributed to the strong m o r a l  c o m p o n e n t w h i c h was an important aspect of classical e d u c a t i o n .  27  A s s o o n as  children were able to read a n d write the simplest of sentences they were e x p o s e d to verse, either t h r o u g h recitation or t h r o u g h c o p y i n g single g n o m i c lines f r o m authors s u c h as H o m e r , C a t o a n d M e n a n d e r . Q u i n t i l i a n urges teachers not to set lines w h i c h expressed insignificant thoughts for c o p y i n g , but rather to e m p l o y lines w h i c h carry an earnest m o r a l lesson  (Instit. 1.1.35). H e r e c o m m e n d s that a  teacher begin w i t h the epic poets:  Ideoque optime institutum est, ut ab Homero atque Vergilio lectio inciperet, quanquam ad intelligendas eorum virtutes firmiore iudicio opus est; sed huic rei superest tempus, neque enim semel legentur. Interim et sublimitate heroi carminis animus adsurgat et ex magnitudine rerum spiritum ducat et optimis imbuator (Instit. 1. 8. 5). It is therefore an admirable practice w h i c h n o w prevails, to b e g i n b y r e a d i n g H o m e r a n d V e r g i l , although the intelligence needs to be further d e v e l o p e d for the full appreciation of their merits; but there is plenty of time for that since the b o y w i l l read them m o r e than once. In the meantime let his m i n d be lifted b y the s u b l i m i t y  2 6  Friedlander 1968: 2.  2 7  M a r r o u 1964: 301 - 302.  20 of heroic verse, inspired b y the greatness of its theme a n d i m b u e d w i t h the loftiest sentiments.  28  M o r g a n e x a m i n e d the list of literary texts r e c o m m e n d e d for study (at b o t h the " p r i m a r y " a n d "secondary" stages of education) b y Q u i n t i l i a n a n d c o m p a r e d these to s u r v i v i n g school-text Greek p a p y r i . H e r study suggests that G e l l i u s a n d his fellow students i n the second century A D likely w o u l d have been exposed over the length of their schooling to a w i d e range of authors, t h o u g h they w o u l d certainly not have read all authors w i t h the same thoroughness.  29  H o m e r and  M e n a n d e r took top place a m o n g the Greek authors, w h i l e V e r g i l , H o r a c e ("expurgated," according to M o r g a n ) a n d Cicero r a n k e d the highest a m o n g the L a t i n , but other authors studied i n c l u d e d H e s i o d , C a l l i m a c h u s , A e s c h y l u s , Sophocles, E u r i p i d e s , Demosthenes, Isocrates, P h i l e m o n , L u c i l i u s , Persius, E n n i u s , Caecilius, Terence, Sallust, L i v y , Celsus, Statius, A s i n i u s Pollio a n d Seneca. T h e study of literature was g i v e n greater stress i n the next step i n R o m a n education, w h i c h m o v e d f r o m a "primary" level of study w i t h a "secondary" level w i t h a  grammatistes to a  grammaticus, a g r a m m a r i a n whose p r i m a r y role it was  to p r o v i d e instruction in two areas, w h i c h Q u i n t i l i a n calls "recte l o q u e n d i scientam et p o e t a r u m enarrationem" ("the art of speaking correctly a n d the  2 8  A l l translations from Institutio Oratoria are from Butler 1963 -1978.  2 9  Morgan 1998: 94 - 100.  21  interpretation of the poets")  (Instit. 1.4.2). "The interpretation of the poets"  s h o u l d not be thought of i n a m o d e r n sense, for there was a rather a m o r e mechanical a p p r o a c h i n antiquity to the language a n d syntax of verse. T h e emphasis was o n grammatical a n d metrical parsing rather than o n characterisation, m o o d , motive or theme, but this a p p r o a c h was compatible w i t h the a p p r o a c h to teaching correct speech, for a k n o w l e d g e of correct speech was c o n v e y e d b y the g r a m m a r i a n "as a set of rules g o v e r n i n g p h o n o l o g y , m o r p h o l o g y , a n d the behavior of the i n d i v i d u a l parts of speech."  30  S t u d y at the  "secondary" level also i n v o l v e d tutelage i n the subordinate so-called mathematical subjects of arithmetic, geometry, m u s i c a l theory a n d astronomy. T h e first three w o u l d have been taught b y other outside specialists, while astronomy, w h i c h was not generally taught i n R o m a n schools for its o w n sake, w o u l d fall w i t h i n the p u r v i e w of the g r a m m a r i a n , w h o was r e q u i r e d to explicate for his students the n u m e r o u s astronomical references i n poetry.  31  There is no consensus a m o n g scholars o n the age at w h i c h a R o m a n c h i l d w o u l d progress f r o m the  grammatistes to the g r a m m a r i a n . Q u i n t i l i a n m e r e l y  notes that it s h o u l d occur w h e n the c h i l d can read a n d write without difficulty  (Instit. 1.4.1). M o s t m o d e r n scholars place this transition at about eleven or  3 0  Kaster 1988:12. This point will be further touched upon in chapter 3.  3 1  Bonner 1977: 77.  22  twelve years of age, t h o u g h some argue that it was as early as n i n e .  32  Again,  parents c o u l d choose either to hire a g r a m m a r i a n to tutor their c h i l d at h o m e or to send the c h i l d to a classroom (Ins tit. 1.2.1). It appears that G e l l i u s ' parents chose the latter course, for G e l l i u s tells us that he studied w i t h the noted g r a m m a r i a n Sulpicius A p o l l i n a r i s , a n d he implies that it was not A p o l l i n a r i s w h o came to h i m but the other w a y a r o u n d (13.20.1).  33  A p o l l i n a r i s was not the only g r a m m a r i a n w h o taught G e l l i u s , but he is the only one of his g r a m m a r teachers w h o m G e l l i u s mentions b y n a m e (7.6.12).  34  G e l l i u s praises A p o l l i n a r i s o n a n u m b e r of occasions: he is " v i r u m praestanti litterarum scientia" ("a m a n eminent for his k n o w l e d g e of literature") (4.17.11); " h o m i n e m m e m o r i a e nostrae d o c t i s s i m u m " ("the most learned m a n w i t h i n m y m e m o r y " ) (13.18.2); a n d " v i r u m eleganti scientia o r n a t u m " ("a m a n of choice learning") (16.5.5); these amongst other laudatory phrases. G e l l i u s tends to be generous w i t h his praise (there are several men, for example, w h o are t e r m e d the "most learned m a n i n m y m e m o r y " i n the  Noctes Atticae), but it is clear that his  regard for A p o l l i n a r i s ' teaching is h i g h a n d that he m a i n t a i n e d a relationship w i t h A p o l l i n a r i s w h i c h extended w e l l b e y o n d his years of f o r m a l s t u d y w i t h the  3 2  Booth 1978:117; Booth 1979: 3 - 4; Kaster 1988:11.  3 3  Apollinaris also taught Pertinax, though Gellius does not mention the future emperor in the  Noctes Atticae (Hist. Aug. I. 4). 3 4  It would appear that Gellius' studies with his grammarian continued for a number of years,  perhaps even while he was studying rhetoric, for he implies at 18.4 that he became Apollinaris'  23  g r a m m a r i a n . A p o l l i n a r i s ' learning is extensive; he instructs G e l l i u s o n m a n y aspects of g r a m m a r , diction a n d style, a n d i n the  Noctes Attices he is s h o w n  s p e a k i n g w i t h some authority on H o m e r (7.6.12), A r i s t o p h a n e s (19.13.3), Plautus (20.6.9), Terence (20.6.4), Cicero (20.6.11), V e r g i l (4.17.11), Sallust (18.4.2) a n d other authors. H e is even able to discourse w i t h authority u p o n the genealogy of the family of C a t o (13.20.5). But A p o l l i n a r i s is not above G e l l i u s ' criticism, for o n two occasions G e l l i u s respectfully but o p e n l y disagrees w i t h h i m (2.16.10; 12.13.21). But, as shall be a r g u e d i n chapter 3, G e l l i u s ' relationship w i t h g r a m m a r i a n s as a w h o l e was generally ambivalent a n d was often e v e n o p e n l y hostile. A t a r o u n d the age of fifteen, after several years of schooling i n literature, the R o m a n student m o v e d on to study rhetoric, w h i c h was the p r i m a r y goal of Roman education.  35  G e l l i u s p u r s u e d his rhetorical studies w i t h at least two  teachers, A n t o n i u s Julianus a n d Titus Castricius, but it is apparent that he was closer to a n d h a d a greater regard for the former. G e l l i u s certainly has respect for C a s t r i c i u s — h e calls h i m the finest declaimer a n d instructor of rhetoric i n R o m e (13.22.1)—but of Castricius himself the reader learns o n l y that he h a d a somewhat sombre a n d severe outlook o n life a n d that he was the k i n d of teacher  student after donning the toga virilis. grammarian.  It is not reasonable to believe that Apollinaris was his first  24  w h o w o u l d chastize his students for their choice i n footwear (13.22.1). In contrast, G e l l i u s d r a w s a fine portrait of Julianus, noting his sense of judgement in literary a n d rhetorical matters (1.4.1; 18.5.6; 19.9.8) as w e l l as his w i d e range of learning. Julianus, for example, is l a u d e d for the care w i t h w h i c h he h a d analysed the texts of early L a t i n authors a n d equally praised for his ready recall of their elegant phrases (1.4.1); he demonstrates his versatility w i t h his easy discourses o n E n n i u s (18.5.5), Q u i n t u s C l a u d i u s Q u a d r i g a r i u s (9.1.3; 15.1.4) a n d C i c e r o (1.4.2) a n d he particularly impresses G e l l i u s w i t h his defence of the erotic verses of the early poets A e d i t u u s , L i c i n u s a n d C a t u l u s (19.9.10); a n d i n 9.1.3 he deftly answers G e l l i u s ' query as to w h y Q u a d r i g a r i u s m a i n t a i n e d that it is easier to shoot an a r r o w u p w a r d s than d o w n w a r d s . Julianus' charm, his sense of tact a n d delicacy a n d his gentleness of manner earn G e l l i u s ' praise, as does his declamatory ability:  Declamaverat Antonius Iulianus rhetor, praeterquam semper alias, turn vero nimium quantum delectabiliter etfeliciter. Sunt enimferme scholasticae istae declamationes eiusdem hominis eiusdemque facundiae, non eiusdem tamen cotidie felicitatis (15.1.1). T h e rhetorician A n t o n i u s Julianus, besides h o l d i n g forth o n m a n y other occasions, h a d once d e c l a i m e d w i t h m a r v e l l o u s c h a r m a n d felicity. F o r s u c h scholastic declamations generally s h o w the characteristics of the same m a n a n d the same eloquence, but nevertheless are not every d a y equally h a p p y .  3 5  Quintilian, for example, states that this is his goal early in the Institutio Oratoria (1. Praef. 9):  Oratorem autem instituimus  ilium perfectum ("My aim, then, is the education of the perfect orator").  25 T h e "scholastic declamations" to w h i c h G e l l i u s refers here are the epideictic speeches w h i c h were a p u b l i c display of oratorical skill a n d to w h i c h thousands flocked i n the second century for entertainment.  36  Students of rhetoric  i n G e l l i u s ' d a y w o u l d have been trained to this e n d (and to the use of oratory i n less dramatic settings, such as the law courts) t h r o u g h exercises called  suasoriae,  w h i c h were deliberative pieces based u p o n historical or quasi-historical themes (should H a n n i b a l attack R o m e after Cannae, for example, or s h o u l d A g a m e m n o n sacrifice Iphigenia?) a n d  controversiae, w h i c h addressed fictitious legal issues,  often of a complicated a n d h i g h l y fantastical n a t u r e .  37  G e l l i u s m u s t have  c o m p l e t e d these student exercises w i t h Julianus a n d Castricius a n d w o r k e d to i m p r o v e his o w n eloquence, but he never mentions h a v i n g h a d a n occasion or a need to e m p l o y his rhetorical skills i n any capacity as an adult, a n d a l t h o u g h he praises b o t h Julianus a n d Castricius for their oratorical skills, it is p r i m a r i l y their u n d e r s t a n d i n g of language a n d literature w h i c h warrants his attention a n d approval.  Anderson 1989: 89 - 99 describes "the concert conditions" under which these oratorical performances took place. Audience size could range from a few dozen to several thousand. See also Anderson 1993: 47 - 68.  3 6  Clark 1977: 213 - 214. Marrou 1964: 383 - 385 notes that the rhetorical exercises of Rome mirrored those of the Hellenistic world: "the same vein of phantasy, the same taste for paradoxes and improbabilities—the same tyrants and pirates, the same plagues and madness—kidnapping, rape, cruel stepmothers, disinherited sons, ticklish situations, remote questions of conscience, imaginary laws." Bonner 1977: 250 - 252 argues that by the second century A D students were first exposed to suasoriae and controversiae exercises under the tutelage of the grammarians and further practised their skills under the rhetoricians.  3 7  26  T h e f o r m a l teaching of rhetoric came to R o m e relatively late i n the republic a n d was a l o n g time in gaining p u b l i c acceptance.  38  Prior to the arrival  of G r e e k teachers of rhetoric, training i n rhetoric h a d been a c c o m p l i s h e d b y a p e r i o d of practical m o d e l l i n g called the  tirocinium fori; boys were g i v e n a basic  education a n d then sent to the f o r u m to complete their education b y listening to a successful orator a n d c o p y i n g his style.  39  Cicero, believing that natural talent  alone was insufficient to ensure success as an orator, argues i n De Oratore that this traditional a p p r o a c h to rhetorical training is too limited:  Ac, mea quidem sententia, nemo poterit esse omni laude cumulatus orator, nisi erit omnium rerum magnarum atque artium scientiam consecutus. Etenim ex rerum cognitione efflorescat et redundet oportet oratio; quae, nisi subest res ab oratore percepta et cognita, inanem quamdam habet elocutionem, et paene puerilem (1.6.20). A n d i n d e e d i n m y o p i n i o n , n o m a n can be an orator complete i n all points of merit, w h o has not attained a k n o w l e d g e of all important subjects a n d arts. F o r it is f r o m k n o w l e d g e that oratory m u s t derive its beauty a n d fullness, a n d unless there is such k n o w l e d g e , w e l l - g r a s p e d a n d c o m p r e h e n d e d b y the speaker, there m u s t be something e m p t y a n d almost childish i n the utterance.  40  A w i d e r course of studies for the future orator is u r g e d b y Cicero: the  study of history a n d law (De Oraf.1.5.18), as w e l l as p h i l o s o p h y (1.12.53 - 54).  M a r r o u notes that neither Cicero nor Q u i n t i l i a n , w h o essentially agrees w i t h  3 8  Marrou 1964: 338. Gellius recounts the expulsion of rhetoricians from Rome in 161 B C and  again in 92 B C (15.11). 3 9  M a r r o u 1964: 315.  4 0  A l l translations from De Oratore are from Sutton and Rackham 1959.  27  Cicero  (Instit.10.1.31 - 36), m a n a g e d to convince most of their respective  contemporaries.  41  T h e majority of students i n the R o m a n educational system  never progressed b e y o n d the "secondary" level of rhetorical studies, but G e l l i u s  was one of those w h o d e c i d e d to pursue a higher education. A t some point i n his y o u t h , either o n his o w n initiative or b y arrangement of his parents, G e l l i u s left R o m e to continue his studies i n Athens, f o l l o w i n g a well-established practice a m o n g y o u n g m e n of the elite classes at R o m e .  42  Other G r e e k centres of learning,  such as Ephesus, S m y r n a , Rhodes or A l e x a n d r i a , attracted students f r o m all parts of the R o m a n empire, but none of them to the extent to w h i c h A t h e n s d i d .  4 3  G e l l i u s states that he was only one a m o n g a n u m b e r of y o u n g m e n i n Athens:  Herodes Atticus, vir et Graeca facundia et consulari honore praeditus, accersebat saepe, nos cum apud magistros Athenis essemus, in villas ei urbi proximas me et clarissimum virum Servilianum compluresque alios nostrates qui Roma in Graeciam ad capiendum ingenii cultum concesserant (1.2.1.) W h i l e we were students at R o m e , H e r o d e s Atticus, a m a n of consular rank a n d of true G r e c i a n eloquence, often i n v i t e d me to his country houses near that city, i n c o m p a n y w i t h the h o n o u r a b l e Servilianus a n d several others of o u r c o u n t r y m e n w h o h a d w i t h d r a w n f r o m R o m e to Greece in quest of culture.  4 1  M a r r o u 1964: 382 - 383.  4 2  Daly 1950: 41 - 58. Daly argues that the number of young men from Rome who studied abroad  declined after the end of the Republic, but his reference is to "members of distinguished Roman families." Gellius, who was apparently not of that level of society, indicates that there were still a considerable number of Roman youths who sought a higher education outside Rome in the second century. Cf. Kaimio 1979: 205. 4 3  Daly 1950: 54.  28  G e l l i u s uses the term "culture" i n this statement, but i n this context it does not have the m o d e r n connotation of a refinement of taste a n d manner; it is instead to be equated w i t h intellectual development a n d e d u c a t i o n . G e l l i u s calls it  44  A t 13.17.1  humanitas. H e asserts that the L a t i n w o r d has virtually the same  m e a n i n g as the G r e e k jtcuSeioc, that is, "eruditionem institutionemque i n bonas artes" ("education a n d training i n the liberal arts").  Humanitas is not a triviality;  to G e l l i u s it is an essential element i n distinguishing m a n f r o m beast:  Quas qui sinceriter percupiunt adpetuntque, hi sunt vel maxime humanissimi. Huius enim scientiae cura et disciplina ex universis animantibus uni homini data est idcircoque "humanitas" appellata est (§!)• Those w h o earnestly desire a n d seek after these [liberal arts] are most h i g h l y h u m a n i z e d . F o r the pursuit of that k i n d of k n o w l e d g e , a n d the training g i v e n b y it, have been granted to m a n alone of all the animals, a n d for that reason it is termed  humanitas, or "humanity." Robert Kaster d r a w s attention to Gellius' use here of "maxime h u m a n i s s i m e " ("the most h i g h l y humanized"), a d o u b l e superlative w h i c h is "as extraordinary i n L a t i n as i n E n g l i s h . "  45  It is obvious that Gellius believes that  humanitas not  o n l y separates h u m a n s f r o m animals, it is also a means of separating the best of h u m a n i t y f r o m the  vulgus ("common people") ( § L ) . Kaster argues that G e l l i u s '  use of "vulgus" i n the l e m m a of this chapter does not refer to the o r d i n a r y  4 4  Marrou 1964: 270 discusses the close relationship between the concepts of "culture" and  "education" in classical education.  29  R o m a n of the lower orders, but "the c o m m o n r u n of educated m e n , " m e n , that is, w h o were content to reach only a certain level of education a n d w h o declined to p u r s u e the liberal arts. In 1.7.17 G e l l i u s speaks of the "vulgus s e m i d o c t u m " ("the c o m m o n r u n of half-educated men"), w h i c h Kaster notes is a "harsh" phrase: T h e phrase appears harsher still w h e n one recalls that [for  doctus is virtually a s y n o n y m of humanus: vulgus semidoctum comes very close, therefore, to connoting vulgus semihumanum. Gellius] . . .  It was the o p p o r t u n i t y to study p h i l o s o p h y w h i c h apparently d r e w G e l l i u s to A t h e n s , for he enrolled i n classes w i t h the Platonic p h i l o s o p h e r C a l v e n u s T a u r u s , a n d he also frequently sought out the C y n i c p h i l o s o p h e r Peregrinus Proteus, w h o l i v e d o n the outskirts of A t h e n s (8.3.L; 12.11.1). T a u r u s is mentioned twice as often i n the  46  Noctes Atticae as is Julianus, but  nevertheless the picture of the philosopher a n d his precepts is m u c h less w e l l defined than that of the rhetorician. C u r i o u s l y , although G e l l i u s seems to have great respect for T a u r u s , he is never the object of Gellius' praise; o n one occasion G e l l i u s does call h i m "vir m e m o r i a nostra in disciplina Platonica celebratus" ("a celebrated Platonist of m y time") (7.10.1), but that is less a c o m m e n d a t i o n than a statement of fact. T a u r u s is p o r t r a y e d as a m a n w h o tempers serious p h i l o s o p h i c  4 5  Kaster 1986: 6.  study w i t h kindliness a n d h u m o u r . H i s discussion w i t h the governor of Crete a n d the governor's father concerning their respective rights of precedence i n the political a n d social w o r l d s is carried o n "graviter s i m u l et comiter" ("at once seriously a n d pleasantly") (2.2.11), a n d G e l l i u s reports that T a u r u s b e a m e d w i t h delight at the unexpected o p p o r t u n i t y to discuss w i t h a few of his students the Stoic p h i l o s o p h y o n p a i n (12.5.5). H e was friendly to those w h o s t u d i e d w i t h h i m , a n d he often invited his students into his h o m e to share a m o d e s t m e a l a n d light but i m p r o v i n g conversation (7.13; 17.8); he was not, however, above chastizing one of them if the situation w a r r a n t e d (10.19.1; 20.4.3) or e v e n expressing anger over the dissolute a n d disrespectful b e h a v i o u r of some students of p h i l o s o p h y (1.9.8; 7.10.5).  It is difficult to discern exactly what p h i l o s o p h i c a l i m p r e s s i o n T a u r u s m a d e u p o n Gellius; despite G e l l i u s ' apparent eagerness to learn, T a u r u s ' teachings seem to have h a d m i n i m a l impact u p o n h i m . A s H o l f o r d - S t r e v e n s notes, G e l l i u s s e l d o m elaborates u p o n the content of T a u r u s ' p h i l o s o p h i c a l discourses:  47  In 17.20 G e l l i u s is too b u s y translating the  Symposium passage to  report h o w his master e x p o u n d e d it; at 1.9.9 we are told that T a u r u s detested students w h o w a n t e d to read that dialogue for A l c i b i a d e s ' d r u n k e n entry, or P h a e d r u s for Lysias' speech, but not  4 6  Holford-Strevens 1988: 227 discusses the question of Taurus' nomen, for Gellius substitutes  Calvisius for Calvenus on one occasion (18.10.3). 4 7  Holford-Strevens 1988: 70.  31  w h a t he h a d to say about these works. In 7.13 he observes that the p r o b l e m of defining the m o m e n t at w h i c h a process is c o m p l e t e d h a d elicited from Plato the concept of instantaneity . . . but takes the matter no further. G e l l i u s does, it is true, report the discussions w h i c h T a u r u s h a d w i t h his students o n the p h y s i c a l properties of oil, w i n e a n d vinegar (17.8.10) (topics that w o u l d fall w i t h i n the p u r v i e w of the ancient philosopher) a n d o n the subject of anger (1.26.3), but generally Gellius shows limited interest i n explicating T a u r u s ' teachings. That G e l l i u s was no true student of p h i l o s o p h y , h o w e v e r eager a n d enthusiastic he m i g h t have been, is m a d e painfully clear i n an episode recounted at 17.20, i n w h i c h T a u r u s warns Gellius not to value Plato's eloquence over his p h i l o s o p h y . It is not just, as Holford-Strevens indicates above, that G e l l i u s is too b u s y translating into L a t i n a passage f r o m Plato to report T a u r u s ' discourse o n the text, but it is also that he seems to miss the significance of those remarks b y his teacher w h i c h he does recount a n d w h i c h are clearly meant specifically for Gellius:  Habesne nobis dicere in libris rhetorum vestrorum tarn apte tamque modulate compositam orationem? Sed hos .. . tamen numeros censeo videas dSov napepyov. Ad ipsa enim Platonis penetralia ipsarumque rerum pondera et dignitates pergendum est, non ad vocularum eius amoenitatem nec ad verborum venustates deversitandum (17.20.5 - 6). C a n y o u quote us so apt a n d so m e l o d i o u s l y f o r m e d a passage f r o m the w o r k s of y o u r rhetoricians? But yet I advise y o u to look u p o n this r h y t h m as an incidental feature; for one m u s t penetrate to the inmost depths of Plato's m i n d a n d feel the weight a n d  32  dignity of his subject matter, not be diverted to the c h a r m of his diction or the grace of his expression. G e l l i u s ' failure to "penetrate to the inmost depths of Plato's m i n d a n d feel the weight a n d dignity of his subject matter" a n d his concentration instead u p o n  the elegance of Plato's Greek reveals where his o w n heart lay i n the struggle between rhetoric a n d p h i l o s o p h y , w h i c h was a n e n d u r i n g dispute i n the ancient world.  4 8  It is of note that T a u r u s prefaces his a d m o n i t i o n b y addressing G e l l i u s  as "tu, rhetorisce" ("you y o u n g rhetorician"):  . . . sic enim me in principio recens in diatribam acceptum appellitabat, existimans eloqueniiae unius extundendae gratia Athenas venisse . . . (17.20.4) . . . for so he used to call m e i n the beginning, w h e n I was first a d m i t t e d to his class, s u p p o s i n g that I h a d come to A t h e n s o n l y to w o r k u p eloquence . . . Perhaps T a u r u s has m o r e insight than G e l l i u s Credits h i m ; it m a y not have been Gellius' conscious intention i n c o m i n g to A t h e n s to imitate Plato's eloquence rather than his p h i l o s o p h y , but a reader of the  Noctes Atticae has g o o d reason to  concur w i t h T a u r u s ' appellation for his y o u n g student. G e l l i u s does give some attention to p h i l o s o p h i c a l ideas i n his book—the evils of avarice (3.1), the nature a n d character of pleasure (9.5), Epictetus' v i e w s o n false philosophers (17.19), are some examples—but these are far o u t n u m b e r e d b y his consideration of  4 8  Karadimas 1 9 9 6 : 1 - 2 outlines the tension between rhetoric and philosophy in the second  century.  33  g r a m m a t i c a l a n d rhetorical issues, a n d even w h e n G e l l i u s does p o n d e r  p h i l o s o p h i c a l topics it is apparent that he s e l d o m finds p h i l o s o p h y as c o m p e l l i n g  as rhetoric. Witness, for instance, h o w he closes a short discussion o n the process  of vision:  Set hie aeque non diutius muginandum, eiusdemque illius Enniani Neoptolemi, de quo supra scripsimus, consilio utendum est, qui "degustandum" ex philosophi censet, "non in earn ingurgitandum" (5.16.5). But here too we must not d a l l y longer, but follow the advice of that N e o p t o l e m u s i n Ennius, of w h o m I have just written, w h o advises h a v i n g a "taste" of p h i l o s o p h y , but not "gorging oneself w i t h it." L i k e w i s e , to the philosophic argument as to whether the h u m a n voice is corporeal or incorporeal, G e l l i u s again quotes E n n i u s , w h o notes that p h i l o s o p h y is a necessity, but only for a few m e n (5.15.9). T h e tension between rhetoric a n d p h i l o s o p h y arose f r o m the m u t u a l desire to lay c l a i m to the p r i m a r y position i n the education a n d training of youth.  49  G e o r g e A . K e n n e d y , i n his history of classical rhetoric, remarks that  m o d e r n readers tend to sympathize m o r e easily w i t h p h i l o s o p h y than rhetoric; he notes that p h i l o s o p h y is seen to be allied w i t h "devotion to truth, intellectual honesty, d e p t h of perception, consistency, a n d sincerity," w h i l e rhetoric embraces o n l y "verbal dexterity, e m p t y pomposity, triviality, m o r a l  4 9  M a r r o u 1964: 267 - 270; Karadimas 1996:1 - 2.  34  ambivalence, a n d a desire to achieve self-interest b y any means." v i e w p r o m o t e d b y m a n y philosophers, b e g i n n i n g w i t h Plato  50  T h i s was the  (Gorgias 454D -  455D), but it was not a stance w h i c h f o u n d universal acceptance i n the ancient w o r l d ; oratory, after all, h a d an important role i n the political, legal a n d social lives of the Greeks a n d R o m a n s , a n d "rhetorical theorists s u c h as Aristotle, Cicero, a n d Q u i n t i l i a n [were] not u n s c r u p u l o u s tricksters w i t h w o r d s . "  51  Q u i n t i l i a n calls rhetoric both "artem et virtutem" ("an art a n d a virtue")  (Instit. 8.  praef. 6), a n d he considers p h i l o s o p h y to be the last refuge of the slothful (12.3.12). There was often, however, a h a z y line between the two fields of knowledge.  A s we have already seen i n T a u r u s ' remarks i n 17.20 of the  Noctes  Atticae, Plato was k n o w n in the Hellenistic a n d R o m a n w o r l d s almost as m u c h for his eloquence as for his p h i l o s o p h y , a n d Cicero, whose fame rests o n his oratorical skills, believed the study of p h i l o s o p h y a requisite for true eloquence (De Orat. 1.12. 53 - 54). Because they both m a d e extensive use of w o r d s a n d w o r k e d i n the educational field, "it was, i n fact, possible," a c c o r d i n g to G . W . Bowersock, "for the professions of philosopher a n d rhetor to be conflated a n d confused."  52  A further confusion was created b y the title "sophist," a n a m e that  i n the ancient w o r l d c o u l d be a p p l i e d equally to philosopher or rhetorician a n d  5 0  Kennedy 1994: 9.  51  Kennedy 1994: 9.  5 2  Bowersock 1969:11; see, also, Brock 1911: 79.  35  for w h i c h n o clear definition has been agreed u p o n b y either ancient or m o d e r n  scholars.  53  T h e perception that p h i l o s o p h y a n d rhetoric were closely allied is evident in the  Noctes Atticae. G e l l i u s reports, for example, that T a u r u s himself resorted to  q u o t i n g Demosthenes against a student w h o m he was chastizing (10.19.2 -3) a n d that the three philosophers w h o m the A t h e n i a n s sent to R o m e as ambassadors each separately gave p u b l i c speeches "ostentandi gratia" ("for the p u r p o s e of exhibiting his eloquence") (6.14.9).  54  But the relative positions of p h i l o s o p h y a n d  rhetoric w i t h i n G e l l i u s ' o w n w o r l d are perhaps best seen i n the two figures w h o h a d the greatest influence u p o n his scholarly t h i n k i n g a n d w h o ostensibly represented each camp, n a m e l y the philosopher F a v o r i n u s of A r i e s a n d the rhetorician M a r c u s C o r n e l i u s Fronto. G e l l i u s was not their student i n a f o r m a l sense, but it is clear i n the  Noctes Atticae that he considered them role m o d e l s for  the intellectual life. In his b o o k  Vitae Sophistarum (Lives of the Sophists) the third-century writer  Philostratus writes a brief b i o g r a p h y of F a v o r i n u s , w h o m he calls a p h i l o s o p h e r as w e l l as a sophist; the latter title was bestowed u p o n h i m , states Philostratus,  5 3  See Anderson 1989: 87 - 88. Bowersock 1969:12 - 14 makes the distinction that all sophists  were rhetoricians, but not all rhetoricians were sophists, the difference being the degree of rhetorical skill. Gellius does not use the term sophist interchangeably for rhetorician, but instead contrasts the titles of sophist and philosopher (17.12.1). "Sophist" is always a pejorative term in the Noctes Atticae (5.3.7; 5.10.3). 5 4  The philosophers were Carneades, Diogenes the Stoic and Critolaus the Peripatetic.  36  because of  "r\ evyXcoxxia" ("the c h a r m a n d beauty of his eloquence") (VS 489).  55  F a v o r i n u s , w h o was b o r n i n G a u l possibly a r o u n d A D 85 a n d likely d i e d before 160, m o v e d i n the elite intellectual a n d social circles of R o m e a n d A t h e n s a n d was o n intimate terms w i t h H a d r i a n , Fronto a n d H e r o d e s A t t i c u s (VS 489 490).  F a v o r i n u s was apparently a serious philosopher of the P y r r h o n i a n  56  sceptical school (20.1.9); he c o m p o s e d , i n a d d i t i o n to at least t w o miscellanies a n d several declamations, a n u m b e r of philosophical works, n o longer extant except i n fragments, amongst them  IJepi rfjg 'Optjpov cpiXoaocpiag (On the  Philosophy of Homer), IJepi TJXdrcovog(On Plato), IJpdg'EmKznrov(Against Epictetus), IJvppcoveioi Tponoi (The Pyrrhonian Principles) and IJepi yrjpcog(On Old Age).  57  It is not, however, F a v o r i n u s ' p h i l o s o p h i c a l ideas to w h i c h Philostratus  gives particular notice i n his b i o g r a p h y , but his oratorical skills:  "HTtpocnai Se rnv yXSrrav dveipevcog pev, aocpag Se KOTipcog. eXeyero Se ai>v evnoia oxeSidoai. . . AiaXeyopevov Se avrov /card T7jv Pcopnvpeozd fjv anovSffg ndvm, Kai yap Si) KOCI oaoi rfjg'EXXrjvcovqxovfjg d^vvetoi rjoav, ovSe rovroig d<p" fjSovfjg f] aKpoacig fjv, dXXd /cdiceivovg eOeXye rfj re ijxfj tov tpOeyparog Kai to) anpaivovn rod BXepparog Kai rep pv0/u(p rfjg yXd)ttng(VS 491 492). H i s style of eloquence was careless i n construction but it was both learned a n d pleasing. It is said that he i m p r o v i s e d w i t h ease a n d f l u e n c y . . . . W h e n he delivered discourses i n R o m e , the interest i n them was universal, so m u c h so that e v e n those i n his audience w h o d i d not u n d e r s t a n d the G r e e k language shared i n the  5 5  A l l translations from Vitae Sophistarum  5 6  are from Wright 1952.  Barigazzi 1966: 3,10 - 12.  5 7  See Barigazzi 1966 for a complete list of Favorinus' known works.  37  pleasure that he gave; for he fascinated even t h e m b y the tones of his voice, b y his expressive glance a n d the r h y t h m of his speech. F a v o r i n u s appears more often i n the  Noctes Atticae than any other person,  save for G e l l i u s himself. H e is p o r t r a y e d as a m a n w h o can say or d o v i r t u a l l y n o w r o n g . O n the one occasion o n w h i c h G e l l i u s indirectly questions his abilities b y not f o l l o w i n g his advice, there is a tone of genuine regret i n G e l l i u s ' recounting of the situation (14.2.25). G e l l i u s frequently gives F a v o r i n u s his appellation of philosopher; he is often depicted discussing p h i l o s o p h i c a l issues a n d G e l l i u s often expands, sometimes at length, u p o n his master's teaching: F a v o r i n u s acts as a referee i n a discussion between two friends, a Stoic a n d a Peripatetic, o n virtue a n d the h a p p y life (18.1); he comments o n the d a m n a t i o n of faint praise (19.3); he considers the effect of avarice o n masculinity (3.1) a n d breastfeeding o n child development (12.1.5); he discusses the p h y s i c a l causes of h u n g e r (16.3.3); he counsels G e l l i u s o n the duties of a judge (14.2.12); a n d he spots the flaw i n a c o m m o n syllogism (5.11.8.). But i n G e l l i u s ' eyes F a v o r i n u s the p h i l o s o p h e r is clearly subordinate to F a v o r i n u s the orator. G e l l i u s cannot say e n o u g h about F a v o r i n u s ' oratorical abilities: " s u m m a . . . elegantia v e r b o r u m totiusque sermonis comitate atque gratia" ("the extreme elegance of d i c t i o n a n d . . . delightful a n d graceful style") (2.22.27); "amoenitates . . . et copias  ubertatesque v e r b o r u m " ("the elegance, copiousness a n d richness of his words")  (12.1.24); his "egregia atque inlustri" ("admirable a n d brilliant" language)  38  (14.1.1); a n d "amoenius et s p l e n d i d i u s et profluentius" ("[the greater] c h a r m , brilliance a n d readiness [of his speech]") (14.1.32). G e l l i u s confesses that he frequently f o l l o w e d F a v o r i n u s about the city for days o n end, "quasi ex l i n g u a p r o r s u m eius capti" ("as if actually taken prisoner b y his eloquence") (16.3.1), a n d he further admits that sometimes, enthralled w i t h F a v o r i n u s ' eloquence, he was unable to decide if it was a philosopher or rhetorician to w h o m he was listening:  Adversum istos qui sese "Chaldaeos" seu "genethliacos" appellant ac de motu deque positu stellarum dicere posse quaefutura sunt profitentur, audivimus quondam Favorinum philosophum Romae Graece disserentem egregia atque inlustri oratione; exercendi autem, non ostentandi, gratia ingenii, an quod ita serio iudicatoque existimaret, non habeo dicere (14.1.1-2). A g a i n s t those w h o call themselves "Chaldeans" or "astrologers," a n d profess f r o m the m o v e m e n t s a n d position of the stars to be able to read the future, I once at R o m e h e a r d the p h i l o s o p h e r F a v o r i n u s discourse i n G r e e k i n admirable a n d brilliant language. But whether it was for the p u r p o s e of exercising, not v a u n t i n g , his talent, or because he seriously a n d sincerely believed what he said, I a m unable to tell.  C o n s i d e r also F a v o r i n u s ' appearance in 9.8, i n the l e m m a of w h i c h G e l l i u s  informs the reader that F a v o r i n u s "the philosopher" once p r o n o u n c e d a  "brevitate eleganti sententia" ("brief a n d graceful aphorism") o n the topic of  material desire. In the b o d y of the chapter Gellius s u m s u p the p h i l o s o p h i c a l  issue w i t h a short, general statement, one w h i c h is attributed not to F a v o r i n u s  but to generic "sapientes v i r i " ("wise men"); he then adds that F a v o r i n u s  39  r o u n d e d off this p h i l o s o p h i c a l discussion w i t h a p i t h y observation "inter ingentes o m n i u m clamores" ("amid l o u d a n d general applause") ( § 3 ) . It is the report of the "loud a n d general applause" w h i c h reveals Gellius' d e c i d e d a p p r o v a l of F a v o r i n u s ' rhetorical persona, even at a m o m e n t i n w h i c h the latter is p u r p o r t e d l y i n the role of a philosopher. T h e F a v o r i n u s of the  Noctes Atticae is a n orator w h o , not surprisingly, has  a particular concern for the niceties of language a n d a n interest i n literature: he chastizes a y o u n g m a n , for example, w h o uses excessively archaic language i n his e v e r y d a y speech (1.10); he comments o n the diction of V e r g i l , n o t i n g that a particular expression u s e d b y the poet was b o r r o w e d f r o m Lucretius (1.21.4); he u n f a v o u r a b l y compares a poetic description b y V e r g i l to a parallel passage f r o m P i n d a r (17.10.1); he demonstrates w h y Plato's eloquence was superior to Lysias' (2.5.1); he discusses the names of colours (2.26.3) a n d of w i n d s (2.22.2); a n d he speculates o n the e t y m o l o g y of use of  parens (thrifty) (3.19.3) a n d o n the m e a n i n g a n d  penus (provisions) (4.1.4), manubiae (spoils of war) (13.25.2), a n d contio  (assembly) (18.7.2), citing authors f r o m H o m e r to Cicero for examples of usage. A t the close of the discourse o n penus G e l l i u s notes F a v o r i n u s ' c o m m e n t o n the importance of diction:  "Haec ego," inquit, "cum ph.ilosoph.aie me dedissem, non insuper tamen habui discere; quoniam civibus Romanis Latine loquentibus rem non suo vocabulo demonstrare non minus turpe est quam hominem non suo nomine appellore" (4.1.18).  40  "This information [i.e., the m e a n i n g of words]," said F a v o r i n u s , "although I h a d devoted myself to p h i l o s o p h y , I yet d i d not neglect to acquire; since for R o m a n citizens speaking L a t i n it is n o less disgraceful not to designate a thing b y its p r o p e r w o r d than it is to call a m a n out of his o w n name." Correct diction was always of p r i m e importance to G e l l i u s ' other major influence, Fronto, as well. G e l l i u s reports that F a v o r i n u s a d m i r e d Fronto's ability w i t h language, for at the e n d of a conversation w i t h h i m F a v o r i n u s declares himself "scientiam r e r u m u b e r e m v e r b o r u m q u e eius elegantiam exosculatus" ("enchanted w i t h [Fronto's] exhaustive k n o w l e d g e of the subject a n d his elegant diction") (2.26.20). Fronto, w h o was b o r n p r o b a b l y at the e n d of the first century A D a n d d i e d circa 167, is n o w best k n o w n as the teacher of rhetoric to the future emperor M a r c u s A u r e l i u s , t h o u g h his fame i n the ancient w o r l d was for his oratorical skills, w h i c h were r a n k e d o n par w i t h Cicero's (Dio Cassius 69.18.3). occasions i n the  58  A s i d e f r o m a few fragments a n d his appearance o n five  Noctes Atticae, all that is extant of Fronto's w o r k is a collection of  his correspondence, w h i c h comprises his letters to M a r c u s A u r e l i u s a n d other m e m b e r s of the i m p e r i a l family, as w e l l as m a n y of their replies. T h e correspondence, w h i c h was lost to scholars u n t i l it was u n c o v e r e d i n a palimpset m a n u s c r i p t i n the early decades of the nineteenth century, does not, unfortunately, live u p to Fronto's reputation for eloquence.  B a l d w i n , i n fact,  41  jokes that Fronto "lost his reputation b y b e i n g discovered," a n d it is true that m u c h of the correspondence is d u l l a n d prosaic.  59  B u t for Gellius, t h o u g h he  never alludes to Fronto's fame as an orator, the rhetorician was a master of language w h o m he sought out b o t h for his style a n d for his k n o w l e d g e :  Adulescentulus Romae, priusquam Athenas concederem, quando erat a magistris auditionibusque obeundis otium, ad Frontonem Cornelium visendi gratia pergebam sermonibusque eius purissimis bonarumque doctinarum plenis fruebar. Nec umquam factum est, quotiens eum vidimus loquentemque audivimus, quin rediremus fere cultiores doctioresque (19.8.1). W h e n I was a y o u n g m a n at R o m e , before I went to A t h e n s , I often p a i d a visit to C o r n e l i u s Fronto, w h e n I h a d leisure f r o m m y masters a n d m y lectures, a n d enjoyed his refined conversations, w h i c h a b o u n d e d besides i n excellent information. W h e n e v e r I saw h i m a n d heard h i m speak, I almost never failed to come a w a y i m p r o v e d a n d better informed. A s an e x a m p l e of the k n o w l e d g e w h i c h G e l l i u s gleaned f r o m Fronto, he cites Fronto's discourse u p o n the singular or p l u r a l nature of w o r d s s u c h as  harena  (sand) a n d quadrigae (a team of four horses), w h i c h was, admits Gellius, "levi q u i d e m de re, sed a Latinae tamen linguae studio n o n abhorrens" ("a trivial topic, but not without importance for the study of the L a t i n language") ( § 2 ) . Fronto makes a relatively brief appearance i n the  Noctes Atticae, a n d , as  E d w a r d C h a m p l i n has pointed out, Gellius was likely o n l y o n the fringes of Fronto's rather elite circle, not his intimate but yet benefiting f r o m his social a n d  5 8  See also Champlin 1980: 21; Haines 1919: ix - x.  42  intellectual patronage.  60  Nevertheless, Fronto, the " O l y m p i a n " authority i n  literary matters i n his day, according to C h a m p l i n , h a d a p r o f o u n d i m p a c t u p o n Gellius.  61  W h a t is of particular interest to this thesis is Fronto's role as the  defender of rhetoric against p h i l o s o p h y . Fronto's arguments i n favour of rhetoric d o not appear i n the  Noctes Atticae, but, g i v e n Fronto's position i n the  intellectual a n d social life of R o m e , it is difficult to believe that anyone i n his circle w o u l d not have been aware of his opinions i n this matter. In a letter to M a r c u s A u r e l i u s , w h i c h contains a lengthy defence of rhetoric, F r o n t o sets out his belief that o n the scale of "obligations" i n life, as he calls them, o n w h i c h the basic necessities of life, such as food, rank i n the p r i m a r y position, eloquence places higher than w i s d o m , for eloquence is r e q u i r e d for all the business of d a i l y life. Rhetoric is n e e d e d to persuade, to address, to harangue, to write, to correct a n d to praise (11.54 - 58).  62  " O m n i a ista profecto verbis sunt ac litteris agenda"  ( " A l l these [functions] must assuredly be done b y speech a n d writing") (11.58), he  5 9  Baldwin 1989: 82.  6 0  C h a m p l i n 1980: 4 0 - 4 1 .  6 1  C h a m p l i n 1980: 50. Fantham 1996: 246. Gellius reports an incident at 19.13 in which  Apollinaris acknowledges Fronto's literary authority in Rome by stating that Fronto had the power to confer Roman citizenship on a word, a power denied even to an emperor (§3). 6 2  References for Fronto's letters are to the volume and page number of Haines 1919 - 1920. A l l  translations from his correspondence are by Haines.  43 notes, a n d he goes o n to demonstrate that eloquence is of p r i m e importance e v e n  to p h i l o s o p h e r s themselves:  Evigila et attende, quid cupiat ipse Chrysippus. Num contentus est docere, rem ostendere, definire, explanare? Non est contentus: verum auget in quantum potest, exaggerat, praemunit, Herat, differt, recurrit, interrogat, describit, dividit, personas fingit, orationem suam alii accommodat. . . (11.66 - 6 8 ) . W a k e u p a n d hear what C h r y s i p p u s himself prefers. Is he content to teach, to disclose the subject, to define, to explain? H e is not content: but he amplifies as m u c h as he can, he exaggerates, he forestalls objections, he repeats, he postpones, he harks back, he asks questions, describes, divides, introduces fictitious characters, puts his o w n w o r d s i n another's m o u t h . . .  Q u i n t i l i a n scorns contemporary philosophers; he believes that they are fully  capable of feigning knowledge, "philosophia e n i m s i m u l a r i potest, eloquentia  n o n potest" ("for p h i l o s o p h y m a y be counterfeited, b u t eloquence never")  (12.3.12).  Fronto, t h o u g h he is not against the study of p h i l o s o p h y , ranks a  k n o w l e d g e of rhetoric i n combination w i t h p h i l o s o p h y as more i m p o r t a n t than  p h i l o s o p h i c a l studies p u r s u e d alone:  Dabit philosophia quod dicas, dabit eloquentia qu<omodo dicas>. .. Para potius orationem dignam sensibus, quos e philosophia hauries, et quanto honestius sentias, tanto augustius dicas (11.70). P h i l o s o p h y w i l l tell y o u what to say, Eloquence h o w to say i t . . . P r o v i d e yourself rather w i t h speech w o r t h y of the thoughts y o u d r a w f r o m p h i l o s o p h y , a n d the m o r e noble y o u r thoughts the m o r e impressive w i l l y o u r utterance be.  44  Fronto, however, cannot overlook what he perceives as one of p h i l o s o p h y ' s greatest s t u m b l i n g blocks, w h i c h is the lack of interaction between teacher a n d student a n d the concomitant lack of responsibility for i n d i v i d u a l i n q u i r y a n d research o n the part of the student. T h e student of p h i l o s o p h y is not necessarily slothful, as Q u i n t i l i a n depicts h i m (Instit. 12.3.12), but he acts as a n e m p t y vessel into w h i c h the teacher p o u r s his w i s d o m , some of w h i c h Fronto frankly believes is almost puerile i n its simplicity; there is no requirement for the student to think independently, to research or to make discoveries. A t the e n d of a d a y of s i m p l y listening i n silence to his teacher, he tells M a r c u s , the student of p h i l o s o p h y is left unchallenged:  Securus inde abeas, cui nihil per noctem meditandum aut conscribendum, nihil tnagistro recitandum, nihil de memoria pronuntiandum, nulla verborum indagatio, nullius synonymi ornatus, nihil de Graeca in nostram linguam pariter vertendum (11.82). T h e n y o u w o u l d take y o u r departure [from the philosopher's classroom] without a care, as one w h o h a d n o t h i n g to think over or write u p the whole night long, n o t h i n g to recite to a master, n o t h i n g to say b y heart, no h u n t i n g u p of w o r d s , no garniture of a single s y n o n y m , no parallel turning of Greek into our o w n tongue. A s m e n t i o n e d above, i n 19.8 G e l l i u s relates Fronto's discussion o n the inherent singular or p l u r a l nature of particular nouns. T h e lecture closes w i t h his exhortation to those i n attendance to go a n d make their o w n inquiries amongst the archaic L a t i n poets for proof of his statements. Fronto's interest i n  45  archaic diction is w e l l k n o w n , a n d it is chiefly i n this regard i n w h i c h G e l l i u s is l i n k e d w i t h h i m i n m o d e r n scholarship, but w h i l e G e l l i u s has a clear interest i n archaic w o r d s a n d expressions, an interest w h i c h w i l l be explored i n the next chapter, this concept of Fronto's, that personal i n q u i r y a n d research s h o u l d p l a y an integral part i n any man's education, h a d an equally p r o f o u n d impact u p o n Gellius. F a v o r i n u s ' P y r r h o n i a n scepticism must likewise have exerted a similar influence o n Gellius. Gellius notes that F a v o r i n u s a n d his fellow sceptics were, i n essence, inquirers a n d investigators:  Quos Pyrronios philosophos vocamus, hi Graeco cognomento OKenriKoi appellantur; idferme significat quasi "quaesitores" et "consideratores." Nihil enim decernunt, nihil constituunt, sed in quaerendo semper considerandoque sunt quidnam sit omnium rerum de quo decerni constituique possit (11.5.1). T h o s e w h o m w e call the P y r r o n i a n philosophers are designated b y the G r e e k n a m e  aKenxiKoi,  or "sceptics," w h i c h means about  the same as "inquirers" a n d "investigators." F o r they decide n o t h i n g a n d determine nothing, but are always engaged i n i n q u i r i n g a n d considering what there is i n all nature concerning w h i c h it is possible to decide a n d determine.  "Noli," inquit Favorinus, "ex me quaerere quid ego existumem. Scis enim solitum esse me, pro disciplina sectae quam colo, inquirere potius quam decernere" (20.1.9). "Don't ask me," said Favorinus, "what I think. F o r y o u k n o w that, according to the practice of the sect to w h i c h I belong, I a m accustomed rather to inquire than to decide."  These teachers—Apollinaris, Julianus, Castricius, T a u r u s , F a v o r i n u s a n d  F r o n t o — a p p e a r repeatedly throughout Gellius' w o r k . There is i n d e e d scarcely a  46  book i n the twenty which Gellius wrote in which one or more of them do not appear, either mentioned in passing in one of Gellius' inquiries or playing a role in one of his many anecdotes.  63  Their pervasive presence in the Noctes Atticae  speaks to the role which they played in his life and thinking. A l l of them, with the possible exception of Castricius, who seems to have had Gellius' respect but not his devotion, are portrayed inculcating or sharing i n their student's passion for language and intellectual inquiry.  6 3  O n l y Book 6 lacks their presence.  47  Chapter 2 A Fascination With Words  While much of the Noctes Atticae is given over to topics such as philosophy (logic, ethics, and natural science), rhetoric, history, Roman antiquities and literary and textual criticism, it is clear that for its author individual words and language have an unrivalled importance and fascination. A s Henry Nettleship points out i n his analysis of the contents of the Noctes Atticae, "The element of purely miscellaneous information [in the twenty books] . . . has turned out to be comparatively small, and to include not much more than an eighth part of the whole work." H e estimates that "more than a quarter 1  of the whole [is devoted] to lexicography and etymology." Gellius has an innate fondness for lexicography—inquiry into the definition, usage, etymology, change i n meaning, synonyms and double meanings of words. A selected sample of the lexicographical topics which Gellius considers includes the middle voice of certain verbs (15.13); the definition and etymology of words such as  1  Nettleship 1883: 414.  48  vestibulum (vestibule) (16.5) or religiosus (scrupulous) (4.9); the fact that liberi (children) was often u s e d b y earlier writers as a singular n o u n (2.13); the changes i n meanings of  fades (face) (13.30), elegans (elegant) (11.2) a n d profligo (to destroy)  (15.5); the vocative of  egregius (excellent) (14.5); the G r e e k a n d L a t i n use of the  aspirate "h" (2.3); the difference i n m e a n i n g between  properare a n d festinare (to  hasten) (16.14); a n d the m a n y a n d various meanings of the particle  quin (17.13).  G e l l i u s ' interest i n language w i l l be the focus of this chapter a n d the one w h i c h follows it. W e w i l l first consider Gellius' fascination w i t h inquiries into the i n d i v i d u a l w o r d , a fascination w h i c h he shares w i t h other second-century R o m a n s a n d w h i c h finds an expression i n his interest i n archaisms a n d neologisms; this chapter w i l l also look at his conviction that the ultimate authority i n d e t e r m i n i n g language usage m u s t rest i n the w o r k s of the early L a t i n writers. T h e f o l l o w i n g chapter w i l l then examine G e l l i u s ' i n q u i r y into the social uses of language. It w i l l demonstrate that Gellius' interest i n language is not l i m i t e d to the discrete w o r d . G e l l i u s admits to his reader that he often amuses himself i n solitary m o m e n t s w i t h lexicographical ponderings: the recollection of the names for w e a p o n s a n d boats w h i c h he has f o u n d i n the early histories (10.25), for instance, or the analysis of certain L a t i n particles (11.3). But this interest i n w o r d s is not a strictly solitary preoccupation or one u n i q u e to Gellius. T h a t other m e m b e r s of  49 his i m m e d i a t e social a n d intellectual m i l i e u consider w o r d s an essential aspect of their w o r l d can be illustrated i n the encounter w h i c h Gellius describes i n 18.7 between F a v o r i n u s a n d D o m i t i u s Insanus, a w e l l k n o w n a n d w e l l educated g r a m m a r i a n at R o m e w h o was given his c o g n o m e n " q u o n i a m erat natura intractabilior et morosior" ("because he was b y nature rather difficult a n d churlish") ( § 2 ) .  F a v o r i n u s , i n c o m p a n y w i t h Gellius, stops D o m i t i u s i n the street a n d entreats h i m to explain whether the archaic writers u s e d the w o r d  contio to m e a n  the speech to a n assembly. D o m i t i u s answers w i t h some asperity:  "Nulla," inquit, "prorsus bonae salutis spes reliqua est, cum vos quoque, philosophorum inlustrissimi, nihil iam aliud quam verba auctoritatesque verborum cordi habetis. . . . Ego enim grammaticus vitae iam atque morum disciplinas quaero, vos philosophi mera estis, ut M. Cato ait, 'mortualia'; glosaria namque conligitis et lexidia, res taetras et inanes et frivolas, tamquam mulierum voces praeficarum" ( § 3 ) . "There is absolutely n o h o p e left of a n y t h i n g g o o d , w h e n e v e n y o u distinguished philosophers care for n o t h i n g save w o r d s a n d the authority for w o r d s . . . . F o r I, a g r a m m a r i a n , a m i n q u i r i n g into the conduct of life a n d manners, w h i l e y o u philosophers are n o t h i n g but  mortualia, or ' w i n d i n g sheets/ as M a r c u s C a t o says:  for y o u collect glossaries a n d word-lists, filthy, foolish, trifling things, like the dirges of female h i r e d mourners."  T o s u c h a provocative attack the reader expects f r o m F a v o r i n u s a swift a n d sharp  reply, but G e l l i u s a n d his mentor merely take civil leave of D o m i t i u s , after w h i c h  F a v o r i n u s c a l m l y notes that they seem to have a p p r o a c h e d the g r a m m a r i a n at a n unfortunate moment, "videtur e n i m m i h i ercicfpcoc, pcuvecrGcu" ("for he seems to  50  m e to be clearly mad") ( § 4 ) . T h e p h i l o s o p h i c side of F a v o r i n u s ' character briefly p o n d e r s the possibility that D o m i t i u s might have inadvertently s p o k e n the truth, but neither he nor Gellius pursues this line of inquiry; both instead i m m e d i a t e l y revert back to the question of the archaic m e a n i n g of contio. T h e assault o n "glossaries a n d word-lists" is forgotten in the stimulating h u n t for precision i n diction. T h e interest d i s p l a y e d b y Gellius a n d his second-century contemporaries i n lexicography is not u n i q u e in L a t i n literary history. V a r r o , for example, devotes nine of his twenty-five books of  De Lingua Latina (On the Latin Language)  to a discussion of the e t y m o l o g y a n d derivation of L a t i n w o r d s , w h i c h is m o r e consideration than he gives to either syntax or style. w o r k s m e n t i o n e d b y Gellius in the  2  There are a n u m b e r of  Noctes Atticae whose titles indicate that they  are d e v o t e d exclusively to the study of words:  De Origine Vocabulorum (On the  Origin of Terms) (2.4.3, 5.7.1) a n d De Origine Verborum et Vocabulorum (On the Origin of Verbs and Substantives) (3.19.1), both b y G a v i u s Bassus, w h o was a g o v e r n o r of Pontus u n d e r Trajan;  Commentario de Indigents (Notes on Native  Words) b y M a s u r i u s Sabinus, a jurist i n the reign of Tiberius (4.9.8); De Verborum Significatu (On the Meaning of Words), the first L a t i n lexicon, assembled b y V e r r i u s  2  Kent 1958: x - xi. Books 5 to 13 of the De Lingua Latina concern the origin and derivation of  words, as well as analogy and poetic words; Books 14 to 19 treat syntax, while Books 20 to 25, no longer extant, are conjectured to have considered the issues of style and rhetoric.  51  Flaccus, a g r a m m a r i a n of the A u g u s t a n age (5.17.1, 5.18.2);  Verba a Graecis Tracta  (Words Taken from the Greek) (16.12.1) b y Cloatius V e r u s , a contemporary of V e r r i u s Flaccus;  Commentario Lectionum Antiquarum (Commentary on Archaic  Words) b y the second-century g r a m m a r i a n Caesillius V i n d e x (11.15.2 a n d 20.2.2); and  De Usu Antiquae Lectionis (On the Use of Archaic Terms) b y V e l i u s L o n g u s , also  a second-century g r a m m a r i a n (18.9.4). T h e r e was, not surprisingly, a strong interest i n w o r d s amongst rhetoricians i n the ancient w o r l d . Cicero  (De Orat. 1.144) a n d Q u i n t i l i a n (Instit.  9.4.58; 10.1.4) both discuss the importance to the orator of the careful selection a n d arrangement of words, although Q u i n t i l i a n also finds it necessary to w a r n his reader that a preoccupation w i t h w o r d s alone is a h a z a r d for those w h o seek eloquence:  Non ideo tamen sola est agenda cura verborum. Occurram enim necesse est et, velut in vestibulo protinus apprehensuris banc confessionem meam, resistam Us qui, omissa rerum (qui nervi sunt in causis) diligentia, quodam inani circa voces studio senescunt, idquefaciunt gratia decoris, qui est in dicendo mea quidem opinione pulcherrimus, sed cum sequitur non cum adfectatur (Instit. Orat. 8. Praef. 18). T h i s does not, however, m e a n that we s h o u l d devote ourselves to the s t u d y of w o r d s alone. For I a m c o m p e l l e d to offer the most p r o m p t a n d determined resistance to those w h o w o u l d at the v e r y portals of this e n q u i r y lay h o l d of the admissions I have just m a d e a n d , d i s r e g a r d i n g the subject matter w h i c h , after all, is the backbone of any speech, devote themselves to the futile a n d c r i p p l i n g s t u d y of w o r d s i n a v a i n desire to acquire the gift of elegance, a gift w h i c h I myself regard as the fairest of all the glories of oratory, but only w h e n it is natural a n d unaffected.  52  Fronto c o u l d not disagree w i t h Q u i n t i l i a n more. H i s o p i n i o n o n the importance of diction, w h i c h is articulated more clearly i n his correspondence than i n the  Noctes Atticae, h a d a deep influence u p o n Gellius, a n d is therefore  w o r t h y of some examination here. F o r Fronto, w o r d s are the essential element of rhetoric. H e argues i n a letter to M a r c u s A u r e l i u s that it is correct diction w h i c h differentiates the educated m a n f r o m the boor:  . . . est in aliis artibus ubi interdum delitescas et peritus paulisper habeare quod nescias. In verbis vero eligendis conlocandisque ilico dilucet, nec verba dare diu quis potest, quin se ipse indicet verborum ignarum esse, eaque male probare et temere existimare, et inscie contrectare, neque modum neque pondus verbi internosse (1.2 - 4). . . . i n other arts it is possible, sometimes, to escape exposure, a n d for a m a n to be deemed, for a period, proficient i n that w h e r e i n he is a n i g n o r a m u s . But i n the choice a n d arrangement of w o r d s he is detected instantly, nor can anyone make a pretence w i t h w o r d s for l o n g without himself betraying that he is ignorant of them, that his j u d g m e n t of them is incorrect, his estimate of t h e m h a p h a z a r d , his h a n d l i n g of them unskilful, a n d that he can distinguish neither their propriety nor their force.  In another of Fronto's letters to M a r c u s he addresses the topic of eloquence, a n d he e m p l o y s a military simile to emphasize the skill w i t h w h i c h a n orator m u s t m a n a g e his diction: w o r d s must be martialled like troops, w h i c h includes seeking out not just the "voluntariis" ("voluntary recruits") w h o present  themselves u n b i d d e n but also h u n t i n g u p the "latentia" ("skulkers") w h o w o u l d  otherwise a v o i d service (11.54). Fronto defines a "skulker" as that w o r d w h i c h is  53  "insperatum . . . atque inopinatum:" unexpected a n d yet one for w h i c h there is n o other substitute (1.6). H e sends his c o m p l i m e n t s to M a r c u s i n a letter written a r o u n d 143, praising h i m for his choice of a "<verbum adeo proprium> est ut eo sublato a l i u d s u b d i e i u s d e m usus et ponderis n o n possit" ("a w o r d . . . so apt that, were it w i t h d r a w n , n o t h i n g of equal value a n d force c o u l d be p u t i n its place") (1.96 - 98). Some 20 years later Fronto is still praising M a r c u s for the care w h i c h he takes w i t h diction:  Praecipue autem gaudeo te verba non obvia adripere, sed optima quaerere. Hoc enim distat summus orator a mediocribus, quod ceteri facile contend sunt verbis bonis, summus orator non est bonis contentus, si sint meliora (11.42). But above all I a m glad that y o u d o not snatch u p the first w o r d s that occur to y o u , but seek out the best. F o r this is the distinction between a first-rate orator a n d o r d i n a r y ones, that the others are readily content w i t h g o o d w o r d s , while the first-rate orator is not content w i t h w o r d s merely g o o d if better are to be obtained.  Fronto admits i n a letter to M a r c u s ' mother, D o m i t i a L u c i l l a , that he is h i g h l y interested i n i n d i v i d u a l words: ". . . ev auxotq o v o u a c i v iced  amf\  5iaAiKTcp 5ict-cpif3co" ("I d o s p e n d time o n mere w o r d s or mere idiom") (1.136). In each of his five appearances i n the  Noctes Atticae G e l l i u s portrays h i m d i s c u s s i n g  the choice a n d use of words: he discourses o n the singular or p l u r a l nature of certain n o u n s (19.8.3); he explicates Q u a d r i g a r i u s ' decision to use  mortalibus  multis (many mortals) instead of hominibus multis (many people) i n a particular passage of his Annales (13.29.2); he interrupts a conversation w i t h his architect to  54  debate w i t h friends the m e a n i n g of  praeterpropter (more or less) (19.10.5); a n d he  questions A p o l l i n a r i s about the suitability  oipumilio (dwarf) over nanus (19.13.2).  Fronto is even f o u n d d e f e n d i n g the range of w o r d s for colours i n L a t i n against F a v o r i n u s ' assertion that the language fares b a d l y i n that respect i n c o m p a r i s o n to Greek; the two m e n debate the names of colours s u c h as rufus (red), viridis (green),  fulvus (tawny), spadix (chestnut-coloured), cjocvGoc, (yellow), Tirjppoq  (flame-coloured) a n d cpotvicj (crimson) (2.26). F o r his part, F a v o r i n u s , w h o is both p h i l o s o p h e r a n d orator, also maintains a lively interest i n w o r d s . G e l l i u s represents h i m discussing i n d i v i d u a l w o r d s o n at least a d o z e n occasions i n the consideration to the e t y m o l o g y of  Noctes Atticae, g i v i n g  parcus (sparing) (3.19.3), G r e e k w o r d s of  barbarous o r i g i n (8.2.L), the double meanings of certain w o r d s (8.14.L), the m a n y names for the v a r i o u s w i n d s (2.22.3), a n d the definitions of penus (provisions) (4.1.6) a n d  contio (assembly) (18.7.2).  Fronto a n d F a v o r i n u s were not the o n l y i n d i v i d u a l s i n G e l l i u s ' life to be interested i n the i n d i v i d u a l w o r d , however; his earlier teachers also m a i n t a i n e d a focus o n w o r d s . M a r r o u demonstrates that an interest i n the discrete w o r d was pervasive i n classical education; he points to the example of the g r a m m a r i a n Priscian, w h o , t h o u g h l i v i n g three h u n d r e d a n d fifty years after G e l l i u s , was c o n d u c t i n g his classes essentially as g r a m m a r i a n s h a d been c o n d u c t i n g t h e m  55  since Hellenistic times.  3  Priscian, i n his exposition of Book I, line 1 of the Aeneid,  p r o v i d e s a call-and-response for teacher a n d student, i n w h i c h the g r a m m a r i a n explicates each line virtually w o r d b y w o r d , noting first the n u m b e r of nouns, verbs, prepositions a n d conjunctions, a n d then p r o c e e d i n g to a careful analysis of each i n d i v i d u a l w o r d , starting w i t h  arma (arms):  4  Arma quae pars orationis est? Nomen. Quale? Appellativum. Cuius est speciei? Generalis. Cuius generis? Neutri. Cur neutri? Quia omnia nomina, quae in plurali numero in a desinunt, sine dubio neutri sunt generis. Let us begin w i t h arma. W h a t part of speech is it? A n o u n . W h a t is its quality? A p p e l l a t i v e . W h a t k i n d is it? General. W h a t gender? Neuter. H o w d o y o u k n o w ? A l l n o u n s e n d i n g i n -a i n the p l u r a l are neuter.  5  It is not surprising, then, i n light of this paedagogical a p p r o a c h to literature, that i n the  Noctes Atticae Gellius depicts the g r a m m a r i a n S u l p i c i u s  A p o l l i n a r i s d i s p l a y i n g an interest i n words: he explicates  longaevo (aged) (2.16.8),  praepetes (swift) (7.6.12), intra (in the phrase intra Kalends) (within)(12.13.5), the particle  ve (16.5.5), vanior (more unreliable) a n d stolidior (more obtuse) (18.4.5),  nanus (dwarf) (19.13.3) a n d the use of vestri a n d vestrum (yours) (20.6.1). B u t a n interest i n w o r d s amongst Gellius' teachers is not limited to the g r a m m a r i a n A p o l l i n a r i s . T h e rhetorician A n t o n i u s Julianus discourses o n Cicero's use of  3  Marrou 1964: 375 - 77.  "Keil 1961:461. 5  The translation of Priscian's text is taken from Marrou 1964: 376.  56  debitio (debt) i n a speech (1.4.4) a n d o n Q u a d r i g a r i u s ' use of defendebant (they defended) (9.1.8); he also challenges his students as to whether E n n i u s e m p l o y e d equus (horse) or eques (horseman) i n a particular line of verse, a n d he is said b y G e l l i u s to have a p p r o v e d neologisms, such as  columbulatim (like little doves),  coined b y the poet M a t i u s (20.9.1). A l t h o u g h Gellius' other teacher of rhetoric, the austere Titus Castricius, does not d i s p l a y the same interest i n w o r d s , his students do; w h e n he rebukes some of them for w e a r i n g sandals instead of m o r e formal shoes, his reproof is lost i n the curiosity of his students as to w h y he u s e d the w o r d  soleatos (sandals) instead of soleae w h e n speaking of those w h o w o r e  gallicae (Gallic slippers) (13.22.3). E v e n the p h i l o s o p h e r T a u r u s , w h o w a r n s G e l l i u s at 17.20.6 not to place greater emphasis on Plato's eloquence than his p h i l o s o p h y , o n at least one occasion cannot help but be d r a w n into the nearu n i v e r s a l concern w i t h correct diction, w h e n he gently a d m o n i s h e s a p h y s i c i a n w h o mistakenly e m p l o y s the w o r d  vena (vein) instead of arteria (artery) (18.10.5).  Clearly, if w e are at all to believe Gellius' portrayal of his w o r l d , diction is important to the educated m a n of the second century. T h e i n d i v i d u a l w o r d m u s t be chosen w i t h precision, as Gellius demonstrates w h e n he quotes Fronto, w h o chides a m a n faulting the diction of the historian Q u i n t u s C l a u d i u s Q u a d r i g a r i u s a n d defends the latter's use of  mortalibus (mortals) over hominibus (people):  "... eandemque credis futuram fuisse multitudinis demonstrationem, si 'cum multis hominibus,' ac non, 'cum multis mortalibus' diceret? Ego  57  quidem," inquit, "sic existimo, nisi si me scriptoris istius omnisque antiquae orationis amor atque veneratio caeco esse iudicio facti, longe longeque esse amplius, prolixius, fusius, in significanda totius prope civitatis multitudine 'mortales' quam 'homines' dixisse" (13.29.2 - 3). " . . . A n d do you think that he would have described a multitude in the same way if he said cum multis hominibus and not cum multis mortalibus? For my part/' continued Fronto, "unless my regard and veneration for this writer, and for all early Latin, blinds my judgment, I think that it is far, far fuller, richer and more comprehensive in describing almost the whole population of the city to have said mortales rather than homines." The everyday, commonplace word is to be avoided in favour of the word which is "insperatum atque inopinatum." But words need to be not just selected with care but actively cultivated and sought out through reading. Words do not come to the orator or the writer unbidden; they are not found, writes Fronto to Marcus, by standing about open-mouthed and waiting for them to fall from the heavens to our tongues, but are discovered chiefly through a careful probing into the works of those early writers who gave themselves over to "eum laborem studiumque et periculum verba industriosius quaerendi" ("that toil, pursuit and hazard of seeking out words with especial diligence") (1.4). Though George Kennedy notes that "Fronto is doubtless wrong if he thought early Latin writers chose their words with greater care than did later writers," Fronto believed that the Augustan poets used vocabulary that was generally trite. Fronto provides 6  Marcus with a canon of archaic writers, all of whom, he believes, were especially 6  Kennedy 1994:198.  58  diligent w i t h their diction: Cato, Sallust, Plautus, E n n i u s , C o e l i u s A n t i p a t e r , N a e v i u s , Lucretius, A c c i u s , Caecilius a n d Laberius, as w e l l as N o v i u s , L u c i u s P o m p o n i u s , Q u i n c t i u s Atta, C o r n e l i u s Sisenna a n d L u c i l i u s (1.4). N o n e of these early writers appear o n M o r g a n ' s list of the authors studied at the " p r i m a r y " or "secondary" levels of second-century schooling, but all of them, F r o n t o asserts, p r o v i d e the reader w i t h w o r d s w h i c h have the important characteristics of "loca g r a d u s p o n d e r a aetates dignitatesque" ("place, rank, weight, age a n d dignity") (11.52). G e l l i u s ' reporting at 19.8.15 of Fronto's exhortation to seek out w o r d s i n the w o r k s of the early writers has been noted already in this paper. F r o n t o directs the y o u n g m e n i n the assembled c o m p a n y to search the w o r k s of any of the ancient orators or poets, "id est classicus a d s i d u u s q u e aliquis scriptor, n o n proletarius" ("that is to say, any classical or authorative writer, not one of the c o m m o n herd"). G e l l i u s confides to his reader that he understands w h y F r o n t o  u r g e d this p l a n of action:  Haec quidem Fronto requirere nos iussit vocabula non ea re, opinor, quod scripta esse in ullis veterum libris existumaret, sed ut nobis studium lectitandi in quaerendis rarioribus verbis exerceret ( § 1 6 ) . N o w Fronto asked us to look u p these w o r d s , I think, not because he thought that they were to be f o u n d i n any books of the early writers, but to rouse i n us an interest i n r e a d i n g for the p u r p o s e of h u n t i n g d o w n rare w o r d s .  7  7  Baldwin 1975: 54 prefers Haines' translation of this passage, which he feels is more in accord  with Gellius' views: "that he might through the search after uncommon words practise us in the habit of reading." Haines' translation switches the emphasis to reading for its own sake from  59  Fronto's declaration that a w o r d s h o u l d have "loca gradus p o n d e r a aetates dignitatesque" is s o m e w h a t p u z z l i n g . Place, rank, weight, dignity—these characteristics of eloquent diction do not surprise the m o d e r n reader. A g e , however, does. That a w o r d s h o u l d be w o r t h m o r e because of its age is an idea w h i c h was dear to m a n y L a t i n writers a n d was not l i m i t e d to the second century. D o r o t h y Brock notes that archaism was a tendency w h i c h can be traced i n R o m a n literature from the time of Sallust, "a tendency only to be expected i n a literature of w h i c h it is s u p r e m e l y true that 'exempla trahunt,' a n d i n a nation w h o s e respect for  auctoritas was a natural instinct." G e l l i u s tells us that e v e n  V a r r o preferred the use of  8  aeditimus (keeper of a temple) rather than aedituus,  " q u o d alterum sit recenti novitate fictum, alterum antiqua origine i n c o r r u p t u m " ("because the latter is m a d e u p b y a late invention, while the former is p u r e a n d of ancient origin") (12.10). H o r a c e wrote that it was the part of the role of the g o o d poet to unearth w o r d s l o n g h i d d e n :  obscurata diu populo bonus eruet atque proferet in lucem speciosa vocabula rerum, quae priscis memorata Catonibus atque Cethegis nunc situs informis premit et deserta vetustas ... {Ep. 2.2.115-118) reading for the sake of hunting words. Baldwin may perhaps be right that this translation is more in accordance with Gellius, but this sentiment is not at all in accordance with Fronto: the latter makes it clear in the letters to Marcus that reading is secondary to the purpose of wordgathering. The Rolfe translation seems the more likely one. Unfortunately van den H o u t does not offer any commentary on this line. 8  Brock 1911: 26.  60  H e w i l l b r i n g once again to the light, make k n o w n to his people W h a t has l o n g lain h i d d e n i n darkness but deserves reviewing: T h e s p l e n d i d language a n d style of oldsters like C a t o O r Cethegus, at present kept out of sight a n d disfigured B y sheer neglect, or silted over b y age . . .  9  Seneca's argument against those w h o "ex alieno saeculo petunt verba" ("seek w o r d s f r o m another age") (Ep. 114.13) is an indication to us that t h o u g h F r o n t o was perhaps "the leading exponent" of archaism for his time, he was not "virtually its progenitor," as E d w a r d C h a m p l i n asserts. d e p l o r e d a preoccupation w i t h w o r d s , notes i n the  10  Even Quintilian, w h o  Institutio Oratoria that there is  a place for archaisms i n the diction of the educated m a n :  Cum sint autem verba propria, ficta, translata, propriis dignitatem dat antiquitas. Namque et sanctiorem et magis admirabilem faciunt orationem, quibus non quilibet fuerit usurus .. . (8.3.24). W o r d s are proper,  newly-coined or metaphorical. In the case of proper  w o r d s there is a special dignity conferred b y antiquity, since o l d w o r d s , w h i c h not everyone w o u l d think of using, give o u r style a venerable a n d majestic air . . . [emphasis Butler's] Fronto carries this point further, as is evident not only i n the writers  9  1 0  The translation of Horace is from Bovie 1959. C h a m p l i n 1980: 52. Brock 1911: 29 argues, however, that Fronto "reduced [archaism] to a  system" and "made it creative and productive."  61  w h o m he r e c o m m e n d s to M a r c u s , all of w h o m predate the A n t o n i n e age b y t w o  to four h u n d r e d years, but also i n his advice to the e m p e r o r that he actively seek  out archaic diction i n his quest for the "insperatum atque i n o p i n a t u m " w o r d :  Revertere potius ad verba apta et propria et suo suco imbuta. Scabies porrigo ex eiusmodi libris concipitur. Monetam Mam veterem sectator. Plumbei nummi et cuiuscemodi adulterini in istis recentibus nummis saepius inveniuntur quam in vetustis, quibus signatus est Perperna vet Treba<nius> (11.112). H a r k back rather to w o r d s that are suitable a n d appropriate a n d juicy w i t h their o w n sap. T h e itch a n d scurf are caught f r o m books of that k i n d [i.e., of the style of Seneca]. C l e a v e to the o l d mintage. C o i n s of lead a n d debased metal of every k i n d are oftener met w i t h i n o u r recent issues than i n the archaic ones w h i c h are s t a m p e d w i t h the names of Perperna or Trebanius.  F r o n t o further states that the rare a n d u n u s u a l w o r d s are not to be f o u n d " n o n  nisi c u m studio atque cura atque vigilia atque m u l t a v e t e r u m c a r m i n u m  m e m o r i a indagantur" ("save w i t h study a n d care a n d watchfulness a n d the  treasuring u p of o l d poems i n the memory") (1.6).  G e l l i u s takes pains to use archaic L a t i n i n his w r i t i n g , u s i n g w o r d s s u c h as  vocificare (to proclaim)  (9.3.1), w h i c h was u s e d b y V a r r o (R.JR. 3.16.8);  (contributions) (7.13.12), u s e d b y Plautus  gracilentus (slender)  11  (Cure.  473) a n d Terence  (4.12.2; 19.7.3), f o u n d i n E n n i u s  K n a p p 1894:166,154,157; Marache 1952:106, 261,188.  (Annal.  symbola  (Eun. 540); a n d  259).  11  In 17.21 w e  62  find G e l l i u s ' description of his m e t h o d for storing u p a stock of choice w o r d s a n d  expressions:  Cum librum veteris scriptoris legebamus, conabamur postea memoriae vegetandae gratia indipisci animo ac recensere quae in eo libro scripta essent in utrasque existimationes laudis aut culpae adnotamentis digna, eratque hoc sane quam utile exercitium ad conciliandas nobis, ubi venisset usus, verborum sententiarumque elegantium recordationes (17.2.1). W h e n e v e r I read the book of an early writer, I tried afterwards, for the p u r p o s e of q u i c k e n i n g m y m e m o r y , to recall a n d review any passages i n the b o o k w h i c h were w o r t h y of note, i n the w a y either of praise or censure; a n d I f o u n d it an exceedingly h e l p f u l exercise for e n s u r i n g m y recollection of elegant w o r d s a n d phrases, whenever need of them s h o u l d arise. T h e archaic diction f o u n d i n early writers appealed as m u c h to G e l l i u s as it d i d to Fronto, although the n u m b e r of early authors cited b y G e l l i u s appears to be m u c h greater than the n u m b e r cited b y F r o n t o .  12  In his discussions o n d i c t i o n  G e l l i u s cites, i n a d d i t i o n to those authors already m e n t i o n e d in Fronto's canon, the early writers L i v i u s A n d r o n i c u s , Q u i n t u s C l a u d i u s Q u a d r i g i u s , V a l e r i u s Antias, S e m p r o n i u s A s e l l i o , P u b l i u s N i g i d i u s , Terence, L u c i u s A e l i u s Stilo, N i g i d i u s F i g u l u s , Sinnius C a p i t o a n d V a r r o , as w e l l as Cicero, V e r g i l a n d i n d e e d e v e n the authors of the T w e l v e Tables themselves. Except for the i n c l u s i o n of  Cicero a n d Vergil—notable additions, for Fronto gives only a g r u d g i n g n o d to  1 2  It is possible that, in writings which are no longer extant, Fronto cited more authors than  appear in his correspondence.  63  the former a n d barely mentions the latter —Gellius' list of a p p r o v e d authors 13  also fails to m i r r o r the a p p r o v e d canon w h i c h was likely e m p l o y e d i n his early education.  B o t h G e l l i u s a n d Fronto encourage the active search for the "insperatum atque i n o p i n a t u m " w o r d i n the older authors, but they also caution their readers to g u a r d against p e d a n t r y a n d the misuse of rare or archaic w o r d s . F r o n t o defends Q u a d r i g a r i u s ' use of  mortalibus, but he w a r n s those y o u n g m e n  clustered a r o u n d a n d listening h i m that it is not always appropriate to substitute this w o r d for  hominibus (13.29.5). D o not use a rare w o r d , Fronto w a r n s M a r c u s ,  unless y o u are absolutely sure of it, "ne m i n u s apte aut p a r u m d i l u c i d e aut n o n satis decore, ut a semidocto . . ." ("lest the w o r d be a p p l i e d u n s u i t a b l y or w i t h a want of clearness or a lack of refinement, as b y a m a n of half-knowledge . . .") (1.6). Fronto, w r i t i n g i n Greek to M a r c u s ' mother, shows his o w n acute awareness of the risk w h i c h he runs w i t h his G r e e k diction, for, b e g g i n g her to excuse any slips w h i c h he might make, he worries that he might choose a w o r d w h i c h is "aicopov f| P&ppccpov f|  aXXaiq 6c86Kipov f\ pf] navx>  OCXTIKOV" ("obsolete  or barbarous, or in any other w a y u n a u t h o r i z e d , or not entirely Attic") (1.134 136). G e l l i u s quotes F a v o r i n u s , w h o , as he was scolding a y o u n g m a n w h o h a d been freely s p r i n k l i n g his conversation w i t h w o r d s "nimis priscas et ignotas"  1 3  Fronto acknowledges the nobility and beauty of Cicero's eloquence, but he does not believe  that Cicero searched for words with any great care and precision (1.4 - 6).  64  ("too u n f a m i l i a r a n d archaic") (1.10.1), i n t u r n quotes Julius Caesar: "ut t a m q u a m s c o p u l u m , sic fugias i n a u d i t u m atque insolens v e r b u m " ("avoid, as y o u w o u l d a rock, a strange a n d unfamiliar word") ( § 4 ) .  1 4  Further o n i n the  Noctes Atticae G e l l i u s bemoans the c o m m o n misuse of archaisms: . . . sedfacilius reperias qui verbum ostentent quam qui intellegant. Ita plerique nostrum quae remotiora verba invenimus dicere ea properamus, non discere (16.9.1 - 2). . . . but y o u w i l l more readily find persons w h o flaunt the phrase than w h o u n d e r s t a n d it. So true is it that m a n y of us hasten to use out-of-the-way w o r d s that we have s t u m b l e d u p o n , b u t not to learn their meaning. Gellius, like Fronto, expresses a dislike for neologisms.  S u c h a n aversion  w o u l d seem to be a logical c o m p a n i o n to a delight i n archaisms, a l t h o u g h the issue is m u c h cloudier than it w o u l d first appear. Fronto warns M a r c u s that a n orator m u s t be o n g u a r d "ne q u o d n o v u m v e r b u m ut aes a d u l t e r i n u m percutiat" ("against c o i n i n g a n e w w o r d like debased bronze") (11.54). B u t F r o n t o completes the thought b y a d d i n g "ut u n u m et id<em> v e r b u m vetustate noscatur et novitate delectet" ("so that each several w o r d m a y be b o t h k n o w n b y its age a n d delight b y its freshness"), an a d d e n d u m w h i c h w o u l d indicate that the concepts of age a n d novelty are not necessarily polar opposites i n the m i n d of Fronto. G e l l i u s reports a p p r o v i n g l y that C i c e r o carefully a v o i d e d the use of m a n y n e w w o r d s , s u c h as  1 4  novissimus (latest) a n d novissime (lately), w h i c h w e r e i n  From Caesar's On Analogy, now lost.  65  circulation i n republican R o m e (10.21), a n d he censures the m i m e Laberius, w h o " o p p i d o q u a m verba finxit praelicenter" ("coined w o r d s w i t h the greatest possible freedom") (16.7.1), but Gellius also demonstrates that his perception of the line between archaism a n d novelty is less than exact:  Verbis uti aut nimis obsoletis exculcatisque out insolentibus novitatisque durae et inlepidae, par esse delictum videtur. Sed molestius equidem culpatiusque esse arbitror verba nova, incognita, inaudita dicere quam involgata et sordentia. Nova autem videri dico etiam ea quae sunt inusitata et desita, etsi sunt vetusta (11.7.1) T o use w o r d s that are too antiquated a n d w o r n out, or those w h i c h are u n u s u a l a n d of a harsh a n d unpleasant novelty, seems to be equally faulty. But for m y o w n part I think it m o r e offensive a n d censurable to use w o r d s that are new, u n k n o w n a n d u n h e a r d of, than those that are trite a n d mean. Furthermore, I m a i n t a i n that those w o r d s also seem n e w w h i c h are out of use a n d obsolete, e v e n t h o u g h they are of ancient date. There is e v e n a concession o n the part of both G e l l i u s a n d Fronto that there is sometimes a need for neologisms. Fronto admits to M a r c u s that he himself is d r i v e n to it o n occasion:  Quod poetis concessum est dvopatonoieiv, verba nova fingere, quo facilius quod sentiunt exprimant, id mihi necessarium est ad gaudium meum expromendum. Nam solitis et usitatis verbis non sum contentus . . . (1.218).  T h e c o i n i n g of n e w w o r d s , or onomatopoeia, w h i c h is a l l o w e d to poets to enable them m o r e easily to express their thoughts, is a necesity to m e for describing m y joy. For customary a n d habitual w o r d s d o not satisfy m e . . .  66  G e l l i u s notes at 15.25.1 that G n a e u s M a t i u s "non absurde neque absone" ("properly a n d fitly") coined a w o r d to express an idea f o u n d i n a G r e e k expression, a n d he also defends the ancient poet F u r i u s of A n t i u m against accusations that he h a d "dedecorasse l i n g u a m L a t i n a m " ("degraded the L a t i n language") b y f o r m i n g n e w w o r d s , a practice w h i c h G e l l i u s states does not seem to be inconsistent w i t h poetic licence (18.11.1 - 2). Sallust, w h o m G e l l i u s greatly admires, is referred to as "novatori v e r b o r u m " ("an innovator of diction") (1.15.18), a n d G e l l i u s also notes at least three w o r d s coined b y the illustrious C a t o (4.9.12). G e l l i u s a n d Fronto are both generally p o r t r a y e d i n m o d e r n scholarship as fervent archaists, a n d archaism is often cited as a root cause of the decline i n L a t i n literature i n the second c e n t u r y .  15  Studies of their w o r k have s h o w n ,  however, that although archaisms most certainly appear i n the w o r k s of b o t h writers neologisms a b o u n d i n both Fronto's letters a n d i n the  Noctes Atticae.  Rene M a r ache's examination of their w o r k s f o u n d i n Fronto's correspondence 54 w o r d s that M a r a c h e w o u l d classify either as archaic or at least pre-classical; he f o u n d 90 of the same i n the  1 5  Noctes Atticae.* These figures are o v e r s h a d o w e d , 6  C h a m p l i n 1980:59, for example, states that when it comes to Gellius' and Fronto's interest in  archaic words, "obsession is not too strong a word." See Vessey 1994:1863 - 1867 for a discussion of the pejorative use of the word "archaism" in modern criticism in respect to Gellius and Fronto. 1 6  Marache 1952: 97 - 100; 263-267.  67  h o w e v e r , b y the n u m b e r of neologisms w h i c h M a r a c h e recorded for each writer, 110 for F r o n t o a n d an astounding 380 for Gellius. Charles K n a p p ' s earlier study of archaisms i n the  Noctes Atticae h a d f o u n d "nearly two h u n d r e d anal, Elpripeva  [words s p o k e n o n l y once], about forty voces Gellianae [words f a v o u r e d b y Gellius], a n d m a n y other w o r d s coined b y G e l l i u s a n d a d o p t e d b y later authors s u c h as A m m i a n u s M a r c e l l i n u s . "  17  It appears on this basis that neither F r o n t o  n o r G e l l i u s c o u l d live u p to the archaic i d e a l w h i c h was so v i g o r o u s l y p r o m o t e d b y b o t h of them i n their writings. But we m u s t ask what exactly constitutes a n e w w o r d . D . Vessey points out that true neologisms are rare i n any established language a n d that those that d o arise are generally of a technical n a t u r e .  18  New  w o r d s are built o n o l d w o r d s b y analogy or b y extension (witness "spellathon," of m o d e r n N o r t h A m e r i c a n coinage). It is Vessey's contention that it is d o u b t f u l that there was i n fact a "rigid separation of 'archaic' a n d 'new' w o r d s " i n the second century a n d that m a n y of the neologisms of Fronto a n d G e l l i u s were "renovations" of archaic w o r d s f o l l o w i n g standard a n d sanctioned p a r a d i g m s . In the  Noctes Atticae G e l l i u s speaks of w o r d s w h i c h have "simplicique et  i n c o m p t a orationis antiquae suavitate" ("the simple a n d unaffected c h a r m of the  Knapp 1894:146. Knapp's study posits a total number of Gellius' archaisms almost twice that of Marache, but it is seems that the two scholars were employing different criteria for deciding what constituted an archaic word. Vessey 1994: 1874 - 1876. 17  18  68  old-time style") (9.13.4), " u m b r a et color quasi opacae vetustatis" ("a shade a n d colour of misty antiquity") (10.3.15) or "color q u i d a m vestustatis" ("a venerable flavour of antiquity") (12.4.3). There is a similar sentiment expressed i n one of  Fronto's letters to M a r c u s :  . . . scis verba quaerere, scis reperta recte collocare, scis colorem sincerum vetustatis appingere ... (11.78). Y o u k n o w h o w to search out w o r d s , y o u k n o w h o w to arrange t h e m correctly w h e n f o u n d , y o u k n o w h o w to invest t h e m w i t h the genuine patina of antiquity . . . T h e i m p l i c a t i o n i n both Gellius' a n d Fronto's w o r d s is that it is the colour a n d sheen of archaic diction w h i c h is important, not its mass a n d substance.  Neither  author, as Marache's analysis shows, overloads his prose w i t h the weight of archaisms. It seems instead that it is both the carefully selected archaic w o r d a n d the archaic w o r d w h i c h has been "renovated" for n e w use w h i c h p r o v i d e the look a n d the s o u n d of the antique to second-century readers a n d listeners. Holford-Strevens prefers to d e e m this style not archaism but " m a n n e r i s m . "  19  But w h y was this " u m b r a et color quasi opacae vetustatis" ("shade a n d colour of misty antiquity") important to G e l l i u s a n d his contemporaries at all? Part of the reason for their interest i n archaic writers must be attributed to the  simple fact that the literary preference of the A n t o n i n e era for pre-classical writers was one of the inevitable swings i n taste c o m m o n to all cultures, the  1 9  Holford-Strevens 1988: 5.  69  reaction of artistic style to that w h i c h precedes it: the E n g l i s h Romantics a b a n d o n the elegant, Latinate diction of Pope a n d D r y d e n ; Impressionism is succeeded b y Expressionism; a n d nineteen-forties' be-bop gives w a y to nineteen-fifties'  cool  jazz. In the same w a y , Seneca a b h o r r e d C i c e r o n i a n classicism a n d strove to replace what he saw as its fulsomeness w i t h his short, s n a p p y sentences; Q u i n t i l i a n ' s taste leaned b a c k w a r d to classicism; second-century R o m a n s , not satisfied w i t h either the Senecan or classical models, reached yet further back to C a t o a n d E n n i u s . That writers such as G e l l i u s a n d Fronto thought less h i g h l y of the classical authors is not in itself evidence of literary decline. Cicero, V e r g i l , H o r a c e a n d O v i d are, after all, members of the canon to w h i c h o u r twenty-firstcentury tastes generally incline. T h e interest i n archaic writers expressed b y G e l l i u s a n d his contemporaries can be interpreted as evidence of a m o r i b u n d culture w h i c h c o u l d find vitality only i n its past; but if this contention is true, vitality is precisely w h a t it d i d not find. B a l d w i n rightly points out that we cannot k n o w h o w m u c h literature of the second century has been lost to us a n d of w h a t quality, but it m u s t be admitted that what we d o have is s e l d o m lively a n d scintillating.  20  But i n his recounting of F a v o r i n u s ' scolding of a y o u t h w h o w a s  u s i n g archaisms rather excessively, G e l l i u s gives a clue to another reason w h y he  20  Baldwin 1982: 82 - 83.  70  a n d others of his circle were interested in archaic language. F a v o r i n u s tells the y o u n g m a n that he understands w h y the y o u t h loves the older R o m e — b e c a u s e it was "honesta et b o n a et sobria et modesta" ("honest, sterling, sober a n d temperate") (1.10.3). F r o m the time of H e s i o d (Op. 109 - 139) there h a d been a belief i n the G r e e k a n d R o m a n w o r l d that there once existed a superiority of morals a n d habits amongst h u m a n beings; it is not surprising, then, that there w o u l d exist the inclination to associate the language of s u c h w o r t h y ancestors w i t h their behaviour. T h e use of an archaic w o r d , carefully chosen f r o m the w o r k of the early writers, c o u l d p r o v i d e a connection to those ideals of honesty, purity, sobriety a n d temperance, qualities w h i c h are inevitably seen to be l a c k i n g i n one's o w n age.  21  Finally, consideration must also be g i v e n to the fact that part of the p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h archaic w o r d s m i g h t have arisen f r o m mere perplexity. A r c h a i c language c o u l d often h o l d as m a n y mysteries for a second-century reader as it d i d delights, mysteries w h i c h required close examination for a complete u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the archaic text. E . J. K e n n e y points out that the  2 1  The use of archaic or "neo-archaic" terms to forge a link with the past is not limited to Latin  speakers and writers of the second century A D . English literature can provide a more modern example: late seventeenth and eighteenth-century English writers were fascinated with their counterparts of the Augustan age of Rome, most particularly with what they saw as the "carefully ordered, disciplined, and polished works" of Vergil, Horace and O v i d . This order and discipline was in contrast to the social, political and even literary enthusiasm which had led to civil strife in both cultures. The attempt by English authors to connect with the world of Vergil and Horace led to the increased Latinization of English literary diction. See Abrams 1974:1675 1701.  71  R o m a n reader was likely c o n f o u n d e d b y m u c h of what he read i n the w o r k s of  the archaic writers: ...  a R o m a n reader must have been to a considerable extent the  prisoner of his o w n age. T o a R o m a n of the second century A . D . the language of Lucretius must have presented m a n y p u z z l e s to w h i c h solutions were not easily available e v e n to a scholar w i t h access to a g o o d l i b r a r y .  22  G e l l i u s hints at the difficulties w h i c h c o u l d arise f r o m incomprehensible archaic language. In 13.10.1 he writes about the jurist Antistius L a b e o , a c o n t e m p o r a r y of Julius Caesar, a m a n w h o studied civil law a n d the liberal arts. In a d d i t i o n to an extensive k n o w l e d g e of g r a m m a r a n d early literature, A n t i s t i u s h a d a c q u i r e d a n expertise i n the origin a n d formation of the L a t i n language, "eaque p r a e c i p u e scientia a d e n o d a n d o s plerosque iuris laqueos utebatur" ("and [he] a p p l i e d that k n o w l e d g e i n particular to s o l v i n g m a n y knotty points of law"). A l f e n u s , a R o m a n jurist of uncertain date, was called u p o n to interpret the archaic language f o u n d i n an ancient treaty between the R o m a n s a n d Carthaginians (7.5.1). A t 16.10, an assembly of G e l l i u s ' c o m p a n i o n s tries to u n d e r s t a n d E n n i u s ' use of  proletarius, w h i c h the poet h a d b o r r o w e d f r o m the T w e l v e Tables, but the jurist w h o m they consult admits that the use of archaic legal terms is b e y o n d his  u n d e r s t a n d i n g . But it was not just archaic legal language w h i c h requires  explication i n the  2 2  Kenney 1982b: 30.  Noctes Atticae; e v e n simple terms are often enigmatic. G e l l i u s  72  reports, for example, that V a r r o struggled to explain to a friend the ancient term  favisae Capitolinae (Capitoline storage pits), w h i c h h a d been u s e d i n the early censorship records (2.10), a n d G e l l i u s himself frequently expresses the confusion that arises for h i m a n d his contemporaries f r o m the language of the earlier writers. W h a t does C a t o intend w i t h employs  servus recepticius (17.6.2)? O r V a r r o w h e n he  sculna ( 2 0 . I L L ) or pedarii (3.18)? O r Scipio w h e n he refers to roboraria  (2.20.5)? T h e interest i n linguistic archaism of Fronto a n d G e l l i u s "need not be p r e s u m e d a vice," says B a l d w i n , a n d he m o v e s to defend G e l l i u s ' interest i n the archaic: G e l l i u s was r o u g h l y as remote f r o m E n n i u s as we are f r o m Shakespeare. W h y s h o u l d the R o m a n s not study a n d reassess what h a d become their classics?  23  W h y not, indeed? But the flaw i n B a l d w i n ' s argument is that G e l l i u s , like Fronto, d i d not "study a n d reassess" the classics, but instead preferred to m i n e them for their diction. It is not the interest i n archaic writers a n d their language w h i c h is a s y m p t o m of literary decline i n second-century writers s u c h as G e l l i u s ,  but rather it is the intense focus o n the i n d i v i d u a l w o r d , whether archaic,  c o n t e m p o r a r y or novel, w h i c h bears m u c h of the blame. T h i s fixation h a d the  effect of n a r r o w i n g the literary v i s i o n of the second-century writer a n d reader  2 3  Baldwin 1982: 87.  73  alike, b o t h of w h o m n o w concentrate m o r e strictly o n the part rather than the whole.  24  G e l l i u s shares Fronto's "amor atque veneratio" ("regard a n d  veneration") (13.29.3) for all early L a t i n writers but it is sadly evident that for b o t h of t h e m the w o r k s of these older writers were to be t h o r o u g h l y s t u d i e d not for the beauty of their poetry, nor for the lessons of their histories, n o r for the wit of their c o m i c plays, but almost exclusively for the rare a n d the u n u s u a l w o r d s e m p l o y e d b y their authors. That Gellius conceived of r e a d i n g as a process b y w h i c h one filled u p " q u o d d a m litterarum penus" ("a k i n d of literary warehouse") (praef.2) of the m i n d , full of w o r d s a n d subjects but not ideas, is d i s m a y i n g ; it seems at best a sterile a p p r o a c h to literature, one w h i c h is often reflected i n the pages of the  Noctes Atticae.  G e l l i u s ' interest i n archaic terms a n d his coinage of neo-archaic w o r d s is also s y m p t o m a t i c of a w i d e n i n g gap i n the L a t i n language i n the second-century between the speech of o r d i n a r y speakers a n d the language of literature. E v e r y l i v i n g language is fluid; it modifies constantly as w o r d s are a d d e d , d r o p p e d or u n d e r g o subtle or even p r o f o u n d changes i n m e a n i n g . These changes often are a c c o m p a n i e d b y controversy; there are those, often the better-educated speakers of a language, w h o , a s s u m i n g that language is static, actively resist linguistic change a n d attempt to keep the language firmly rooted i n the "best" tradition. It  2 4  Grube 1968: 321 - 324; Williams 1978: 307 - 308; Fantham 1989: 294 - 295.  74  is likely that R o m a n upper-class conservatism gave a d d e d i m p e t u s to the o p p o s i t i o n o n the part of educated R o m a n s of the second-century to linguistic change, a n o p p o s i t i o n w h i c h Gellius aptly illustrates i n his w o r k . M o r e than once, for example, he castigates those w h o , "ignoratione et inscitia" ("through ignorance a n d stupidity") (15.5.1), contribute to a change i n the m e a n i n g of particular w o r d s :  Animadvertere est pleraque verborum Latinorum ex ea significatione de qua nata sunt decessise vel in aliam longe vet in proximam, eamque decessionem factam esse consuetudine et inscitia temere dicentium quae cuimodi sint non didicerint (13.30.1). W e m a y observe that m a n y L a t i n w o r d s have departed f r o m their original signification a n d passed into one that is either far different or near akin, a n d that such a departure is d u e to the usage of those ignorant people w h o carelessly use w o r d s of w h i c h they have not learned the meaning. H e frequently writes harshly of those of his fellow-citizens w h o have a l l o w e d or g i v e n i n without thought to changes i n m e a n i n g of a particular w o r d . M o r e often, however, his tone is one of snobbish resignation rather than anger w h e n he contrasts contemporary a n d ancient usage of a w o r d :  Quos "sicinistas" vulgus dicit, qui rectius locuti sunt, "sicinnistas" littera "n"gemina dixerunt (20.3.1). T h o s e w h o m the v u l g a r call accurately h a v e called  sicinistae, persons w h o speak m o r e  sicinnistae w i t h a d o u b l e n.  Hoc vocabulum a plerisque barbare did animadvertimus; nam pro "pedariis" "pedaneos" appellant (3.18.10).  75  I have observed that some use a barbarous f o r m of this w o r d ; for instead of In the  pedarii they say pedanii.  Noctes Atticae, G e l l i u s a n d the members of his social a n d intellectual  circle s p e n d a g o o d d e a l of time considering what constitutes "correct" language use, e x a m i n i n g not just shifts i n m e a n i n g b u t other lexicographical a n d g r a m m a t i c a l issues as well, a n d they base their decisions i n these matters o n certain criteria. A s Holford-Strevens points out, b y the time G e l l i u s w a s c o m p o s i n g the  Noctes Atticae the centuries-long debate amongst b o t h the G r e e k s  a n d the R o m a n s over language h a d p r o d u c e d various criteria for d e t e r m i n i n g s u c h matters:  consuetudo (everyday usage), ratio (analogy a n d etymology) a n d  auctoritas (the authority of an a p p r o v e d author).  25  N o t surprisingly, g i v e n Gellius' attitude towards those w h o allow change to occur i n language,  consuetudo is generally, a l t h o u g h not completely, rejected  b y h i m ; at 9.6, for example, G e l l i u s briefly argues the case for  consuetudo w h e n it  comes to the v o w e l length of the first syllable of w o r d s d e r i v e d f r o m the v e r b ago (to set i n motion).  Ratio, however, is often p u t to use b y G e l l i u s i n the Noctes  Atticae. H e defends, for instance, the poet Caecilius' use oifronte hilaro ("of gay aspect") o n the g r o u n d s of analogy (15.9.4 - 5); he e m p l o y s analogy to s u p p o r t 26  his contention that Cato's diction is faultless (18.9); a n d he demonstrates that the  2 5  Holford-Strevens 1988:126 - 127.  2 6  Rolfe's mid-twentieth-century translation of  inherent in language.  hilaro  is proof enough of the tendency to change  76  d e r i v a t i o n of  lictor f r o m ligando is analogous to that of lector f r o m legendo a n d  tutor f r o m tuendo (12.3.4). In each of these cases, however, ratio is also bolstered by  auctoritas: the analogy i n Caecilius' case is p r o v e d b y reference to Cato; Cato's  b y reference to L i v i u s A n d r o n i c u s a n d Plautus; a n d the derivation of authority of Cicero. It is the  lictor b y the  auctoritas of early writers w h i c h takes precedence  over ratio a n d is u s e d to s u p p o r t it.  27  A t 12.10.3 G e l l i u s clearly indicates that  auctoritas is his preferred m e t h o d for d e t e r m i n i n g language use, for, he declares, there are those m e n w h o debate language "qui nisi auctoritatibus adhibitis n o n c o m p r i m u n t u r " ("who are not to be restrained except b y the citation of authorities"). G e l l i u s is not completely dogmatic. H e does not dismiss the use of ratio w i t h o u t reference to  auctoritas entirely out of h a n d . H e gives S u l p i c i u s  A p o l l i n a r i s ' exposition o n the use of the f o r m vestrum (your), as o p p o s e d to vestri, an entire chapter, a n d a lengthy one at that, e v e n t h o u g h the g r a m m a r i a n places  ratio above auctoritas (20.6); Gellius, w h o has s p a r k e d A p o l l i n a r i s '  discourse b y asking his teacher "qua ratione" ("on what principle") ( § 1 )  vestri is  c o m m o n l y used, makes no c o m m e n t of either a negative or positive nature, b u t copies A p o l l i n a r i s ' reply d o w n faithfully. G e l l i u s himself e m p l o y s ratio o n its o w n o n at least one occasion, w h e n he attempts to u n d e r s t a n d w h y the ancient  2 7  Holford-Strevens 1988:130 - 131.  77  writers u s e d verb forms such as  peposci a n d memordi, rather than the  c o n t e m p o r a r y a n d a p p r o v e d poposci a n d momordi (6.9). u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y accepting of  28  N o r is G e l l i u s always  auctoritas. H e expresses annoyance at P u b l i u s  N i g i d i u s for e m p l o y i n g "nova et p r o p e absurda v o c a b u l i figura" ("a n e w , b u t h a r d l y rational, word-formation") (3.12.L) i n the w o r d bibosus (fond of d r i n k i n g ) , e v e n t h o u g h there is some foundation for N i g i d i u s ' action i n the  auctoritas of  Laberius, a n d , after e x a m i n i n g a rule concerning accents f o r m u l a t e d b y P r o b u s , G e l l i u s assents to its use i n a particular case, but he disagrees w i t h the poet A n n i a n u s ' attempt to a p p l y the same rule across the b o a r d , regardless of the  auctoritas of early writers (6.7). But i n the greater majority of cases where correct language use is i n q u i r e d into G e l l i u s turns without hesitation to the  auctoritas of ancient writers: to that of  Laberius, V a r r o , a n d L u c i l i u s , for example, w h e n he inquires into the m e a n i n g of  susque deque (both u p a n d d o w n ) (16.9); of V a r r o w h e n he seeks a n explanation of the ethnic o r i g i n of name  petorritum (wagon) (15.30.7), or the e t y m o l o g y of the personal  Agrippa (16.16), the ager Vaticanus (Vatican region) (16.17) a n d spartum  (Spanish b r o o m ) (17.3); of V a r r o a n d C i c e r o w h e n he wishes to explicate the original m e a n i n g of  humanitas (the humanities) (13.17); of E n n i u s a n d C i c e r o  w h e n he inquires into the genitive of fades a n d w o r d s of similar construction  2 8  H i s explanation is based upon analogy with the Greek perfect, which uses an initial £, so that  the present ypdcpco and noicb become the perfect yeypacpa and  mno\y\Ka  (§13).  78  (9.14); of N a e v i u s , Q u a d r i g a r i u s a n d Cato w h e n he needs the precise m e a n i n g of rescire (to ascertain) (2.19.6); or of E n n i u s a n d Cicero w h e n he desires a p p r o v a l for C a t u l l u s ' use of  deprecor (denounce) (7.16.6). A s F a v o r i n u s is q u o t e d as  saying, e v e n a w o r d s m i t h as skilled as V e r g i l defers o n occasion to  auctoritas:  Non enim primus finxit hoc verbum Vergilius insolenter, sed in carminibus Lucreti invento usus est, non aspernatus auctoritatem poetae ingenio etfacundia praecellentis (1.21.5). F o r V i r g i l was not the first to coin that w o r d arbitrarily, but he f o u n d it i n the p o e m s of Lucretius a n d m a d e use of it, not d i s d a i n i n g to follow the authority of a poet w h o excelled i n talent a n d p o w e r of expression. G e l l i u s is not b l i n d l y uncritical of ancient writers. H e notes, for example, that the ancient writers, such as Plautus, f o r m e d the participle passum f r o m (to spread out), w h e n i n fact it belongs to  pando  patior (to suffer) (15.15); t h o u g h he does  not actually c o n d e m n the error, it is clear that he does perceive it as such. A t 15.3 he expresses hesitation i n accepting Cicero's assertion that the p r e p o s i t i o n ab is, for the sake of e u p h o n y , altered into au w h e n it is c o m p o u n d e d w i t h certain verbs. H e points to errors i n etymology m a d e b y b o t h L u c i u s A e l i u s a n d V a r r o at 1.18, a n d at 1.25 G e l l i u s expresses some dissatisfaction w i t h V a r r o ' s definition of  indutiae (truce). But i n general, the auctoritas of these early authors a n d others  like them is G e l l i u s ' yardstick for m e a s u r i n g the L a t i n language.  G e l l i u s is often accused of a certain p e d a n t r y i n his a p p r o a c h to language; it is true that he can seem almost obsessive i n his determination to p i n d o w n the  79 exact etymology, definition or inflection of a w o r d , t h o u g h it is a quality w h i c h s h o u l d not go unappreciated i n the m o d e r n academic w o r l d . H i s interest i n the i n d i v i d u a l w o r d is deep (even perilously so), but it forms only one part of his preoccupation w i t h language i n the Noctes Atticae. G e l l i u s ' literary sensibilities m a y be too n a r r o w l y focussed o n discrete w o r d s , but this does not prevent h i m f r o m realising that language is a social tool as m u c h as a literary one. H i s inquiries into language i n a social setting w i l l be discussed i n the next chapter.  80  Chapter 3 The Social Uses of Language  O u t s i d e of the w o r k s of authors s u c h as Plautus a n d Petronius, as w e l l as the graffitti f o u n d o n the walls of P o m p e i i , the e v e r y d a y speech of o r d i n a r y R o m a n citizens has not s u r v i v e d . Rhetoric, therefore, is one of the most complete examples we possess of the social use of language i n the R o m a n w o r l d . T h e r e is n o d o u b t that political oratory, s u c h as h a d been practised b y C a t o , C i c e r o a n d other m e m b e r s of the upper-classes d u r i n g the republic, was greatly, if not w h o l l y , d i m i n i s h e d u n d e r the emperors, but oratory continued to p l a y an important role i n the empire, both i n the law courts a n d i n p u b l i c declamations. There is some scholarly debate as to whether R o m a n oratory went into a serious decline i n b o t h substance a n d style as a result of its loss of political influence u n d e r the emperors, but that it was still a force i n the every d a y life of G e l l i u s and his contemporaries is a m p l y illustrated i n the  1  Cf. Fantham 1997:122 - 126 and D o m i n i k 1997b: 59 - 62.  Noctes Atticae.^ •. •  81  But rhetoric is not the only example of the social use of language o n d i s p l a y i n the  Noctes Atticae; Gellius shows himself aware of the ability of  l a n g u a g e to p l a y an important role i n the affairs of i n d i v i d u a l s as well. T h i s chapter w i l l examine Gellius' i n q u i r y into language as a social tool; it w i l l r e v i e w his representation of rhetoric a n d rhetorical power, but w i l l also look at other aspects of the social use of language i n the  Noctes Atticae. It w i l l consider G e l l i u s '  depiction of language as a central feature of the lives of second-century R o m a n s , a n d i n particular it w i l l examine Gellius' attitude towards g r a m m a r i a n s , w h o h a d a vested interest i n language i n R o m a n society.  G e l l i u s ' interest i n rhetoric is not slight. In the contest between rhetoric a n d p h i l o s o p h y , rhetoric is generally g i v e n the u p p e r - h a n d i n the  Noctes Atticae.  In the f o l l o w i n g passage, for example, w h i c h ostensibly places the two fields of k n o w l e d g e o n an equal footing, Gellius subtly elevates rhetoric over p h i l o s o p h y ; the relative positioning of the clauses i n the sentence gives rhetoric the emphatic initial place i n the comparative structure:  Cum inquinitissimis hominibus non esse convicio decertandum neque in maledictis adversum inpudentes et inprobos velitandum, quia tantisper similis et compar eorumfias, dum paria et consimilia dicas atque audis, non minus ex oratione Q. Metelli Numidici, sapientis viri, cognosci potest quam ex libris et disciplinis philosophorum (7.11.1). O n e s h o u l d not vie i n abusive language w i t h the basest of m e n or wrangle w i t h foul w o r d s w i t h the shameless a n d w i c k e d , since y o u become like them a n d their exact mate so l o n g as y o u say things w h i c h m a t c h a n d are exactly like what y o u hear. T h i s truth  82  m a y be learned no less f r o m an address of Q u i n t u s M e t e l l u s N u m i d i c u s , a m a n of w i s d o m , than f r o m the books a n d the teachings of the philosophers. H e frequently praises the rhetorical skills of v a r i o u s orators, b o t h l i v i n g a n d d e a d , t h o u g h he unfortunately s e l d o m treats his reader to a sample of any particular orator's style. Rather surprisingly, neither Fronto nor H e r o d e s Atticus, i n their d a y perhaps the most f a m e d orators i n the western a n d eastern halves of the empire respectively, receive m u c h attention i n the  Noctes Atticae for  their rhetorical skills. It is w h o l l y possible that G e l l i u s m a y not have ever h e a r d Fronto speak publicly; Fronto's fame was for his forensic speeches, a n d it is likely that his h e y d a y in the c o u r t r o o m h a d passed b y the time G e l l i u s was aquainted w i t h h i m .  2  G e l l i u s was intimate e n o u g h w i t h H e r o d e s to s p e n d a  p e r i o d of convalescence at his A t t i c h o m e (18.10), but, while G e l l i u s acknowledges that H e r o d e s was superior to almost all m e n "gravitate atque copia et elegantia v o c u m " ("in distinction, fluency, a n d elegance of diction") (19.11.1), he i m p l i e s that he h e a r d H e r o d e s d e c l a i m o n o n l y one occasion. T h e chapter w h i c h reports H e r o d e s ' speech o n that occasion m u s t have been written m a n y years after the event, for G e l l i u s admits that he is r e l y i n g o n m e m o r y to report the gist of the speech ( § 3 ) .  2  C h a m p l i n 1980: 60 notes that Fronto was making his first appearance in the courts of Rome in  the early 120s, well before Gellius was even born.  83  G e l l i u s ' praise for the rhetorical abilities of both Arttonius Julianus a n d F a v o r i n u s has already been noted i n the first chapter of this thesis; perhaps because G e l l i u s h a d the o p p o r t u n i t y to hear both of these m e n i n person, he is m o r e unstinting i n his praise of them than he is of either C a t o a n d Cicero, whose reputations are better k n o w n to m o d e r n readers. T h e reader is not treated to any part of Julianus' speeches, but G e l l i u s reports i n great detail the oration g i v e n b y F a v o r i n u s against astrologers (14.1), a n d he also devotes a fair bit of space to parts of Cicero's speeches  Pro M. Caelio (In Defence of Marcus Caelius) (12.1) a n d In  Verrem (Against Verres) (10.3), as w e l l as to Cato's De Falsis Pugnis (On Sham Battles) (10.3) a n d Pro Rodiensibus (For the Rhodians) (6.3). G e l l i u s has apparently 3  studied the w o r k of both C a t o a n d Cicero i n some detail, for over thirty titles of each of their w o r k s are cited i n the  Noctes Atticae. Cato's oratorical p o w e r s are  l a u d e d o n several occasions. Gellius, i n praising Cato's speech  Ad Milites contra  Galbam (To the Soldiers against Galba), states that it was d e l i v e r e d " c u m m u l t a q u i d e m venustate atque luce atque m u n d i t i a v e r b o r u m " ("with great c h a r m , brilliance a n d elegance of diction") (1.23.1), a n d later in 10.3.15 G e l l i u s advises his reader to consider Cato's " v i m et c o p i a m " ("vigour a n d flow of language") i n c o m p a r i s o n to other orators.  3  Gellius also examines Gaius Gracchus' De Legibus Promulgatis  (On the Promulgation of Laws)  (10.3), but Gracchus' speech is held up as a model of poor rhetoric (10.3).  84  C i c e r o receives considerably more attention than C a t o for his eloquence. G e l l i u s refers to h i m as " M . Cicero h o m o m a g n a eloquentia" ("Marcus Cicero, a m a n of great eloquence") (5.8.4), "eloquentissimus" ("the most eloquent [of all men]") (17.13.2) a n d "vir acerrimae i n studio litterarum diligentiae" ("a m a n of u n w e a r i e d i n d u s t r y i n the pursuit of letters") (15.3.7). In 10.3.1 G e l l i u s scorns those w h o regard G a i u s G r a c c h u s as "severior, acrior a m p l i o r q u e " ("more impressive, m o r e spirited a n d more fluent") than Cicero; to p r o v e his point he p r o v i d e s his reader w i t h speeches b y the two orators o n similar topics a n d notes w i t h satisfaction the greater degree of emotive p o w e r w h i c h C i c e r o is able to  summon:  At cum in simili causa aput M. Tullium cives Romani, innocentes viri, contra ius contraque leges virgis caeduntur aut supplicio extremo necantur, quae ibi tunc miseratio! quae comploratio! quae totius rei sub oculos subiecto! quod et quale invidiae atque acerbitatis/return effervescit! Animum hercle meum, cum ilia M. Ciceronis lego, imago quaedam et sonus verberum et vocum et eiulationum circumplectitur (§7-8). But i n M a r c u s T u l l i u s , w h e n i n a similar case R o m a n citizens, innocent m e n , are beaten w i t h rods contrary to justice a n d contrary to the laws, or tortured to death, what pity is then aroused! W h a t complaints does he utter! H o w he brings the w h o l e scene before our eyes! W h a t a m i g h t y surge of i n d i g n a t i o n a n d bitterness comes seething forth! B y H e a v e n ! w h e n I read those w o r d s of Cicero's, m y m i n d is possessed w i t h the sight a n d s o u n d of blows, cries a n d lamentations.  G e l l i u s understands that the eloquence of rhetoric does not d e p e n d u p o n  the subject matter of the speech but rather u p o n the p o w e r of the w o r d s  85  e m p l o y e d b y the orator. H e reports, for instance, that F a v o r i n u s was not the first to take u p "infames materias" ("ignoble subjects") (17.12.1) in oratory for the p u r p o s e s of practice or s h o w m a n s h i p . T h e ignobility of F a v o r i n u s ' subject matter does not disturb Gellius; he gives his a p p r o v a l to F a v o r i n u s ' d e c l a m a t i o n o n the subject of the quartan ague, as w e l l as his speech o n Thersites, the u g l y a n d l o w l y braggart w h o was beaten b y O d y s s e u s (II. 2.11 - 277).  4  In contrast,  Protagoras' p r o m i s e to teach his students, i n exchange for a considerable tuition, h o w to m a n i p u l a t e w o r d s so as "xov fjxrco Xoyov  Kpeixxco  rcoieiv" ("to m a k e the  worse appear the better reason") is c o n d e m n e d (5.3.7). G e l l i u s acknowledges that Protagoras was a clever m a n w i t h skilful verbal dexterity, "is t a m e n Protagoras insincerus q u i d e m philosophus, sed acerrimus s o p h i s t a r u m fuit" ("yet this Protagoras was not a true philosopher, but the cleverest of sophists"). G e l l i u s ' criterium for distinguishing between a sophist a n d a p h i l o s o p h e r is not stated, but it m u s t surely be Protagoras' willingness to a b a n d o n his p e r s o n a l sense of m o r a l justice in return for m o n e y w h i c h garners h i m the title of sophist; it is certainly not his ability to e m p l o y w o r d s i n a masterful fashion w h i c h earns G e l l i u s ' d i s a p p r o v a l . H e later joyfully reports that Protagoras, "magister  4  Gellius does not mention them but he may have been aware of Fronto's own equally "ignoble"  eulogies on the topics of negligence (1.38 - 44) and smoke and dust (1.44 - 48). See Pease 1926 on ignoble subjects in ancient oratory.  86  eloquentiae inclutus" ("a celebrated master of oratory"), was beaten at his o w n game i n court b y the sophistical tricks of a former student (5.10).  The  Noctes Atticae also reveals that particularly eloquent orators c o u l d  demonstrate as m u c h p o w e r b y w i t h h o l d i n g w o r d s as they c o u l d i n w i e l d i n g them, an idea w h i c h appears to interest G e l l i u s greatly, for i n two successive chapters he repeats the anecdote u p o n w h i c h the idea is based. In 11.9 he recounts the story of Demosthenes, w h o h a d v i g o r o u s l y o p p o s e d M i l e s i a n e n v o y s i n speeches m a d e i n front of the A t h e n i a n people a n d w h o was nevertheless successfully b r i b e d b y the Milesians not to speak against t h e m i n the next day's assembly; the orator later boasted to an actor that he h a d received m o r e p a y just for r e m a i n i n g silent than the latter h a d received for a celebrated stage performance. In the f o l l o w i n g chapter G e l l i u s reports that G a i u s G r a c c h u s repeated the same scenario i n a speech to the R o m a n people, w i t h the substitution of D e m a d e s for Demosthenes.  H e also recounts F a v o r i n u s ' short  discourse o n the subject of faint praise, a variation o n the idea that w o r d s h e l d back can be as influential as those w h i c h are s p o k e n (19.3). W o r d s offered o n l y half-heartedly i n s u p p o r t of a friend, says F a v o r i n u s , have as m u c h p o w e r to w o u n d the m a n as those h u r l e d w i t h invective b y an enemy. But the use of w o r d s i n the political or legal arena is not G e l l i u s ' o n l y interest. H e is intrigued, for example, b y the exact w o r d s w h i c h the ancient  87 R o m a n w a r - h e r a l d was accustomed to use i n the declaration of w a r w i t h a n  enemy, a n d he reports the declaration i n full:  "Quod populus Hermundulus hominesque populi Hermunduli adversus populum Romanum helium fecere deliqueruntque, quodque populus Romanus cum populo Hermundulo hominibusque Hermundulis helium iussit, ob ream rem ego populusque Romanus populo Hermundulo hominibusque Hermundulis bellum dico facioque" ( 1 6 . 4 . 1 ) . "Whereas the H e r m u n d u l a n people a n d the m e n of the H e r m u n d u l a n people have m a d e w a r against the R o m a n people a n d have transgressed against them, a n d whereas the R o m a n people has o r d e r e d w a r w i t h the H e r m u n d u l a m people a n d the m e n of the H e r m u n d u l a n s , therefore I a n d the R o m a n people declare a n d m a k e w a r w i t h the H e r m u n d u l a n people a n d w i t h the m e n of the H e r m u n d u l a n s . " T h e s o l e m n a n d legalistic language of the f o r m a l i z e d declaration, w h i c h w a s a c c o m p a n i e d b y the h u r l i n g of a spear into e n e m y territory, signified the c i v i l i z e d authority of the R o m a n people against those w h o h a d transgressed against them. L i k e w i s e , the lengthy oath w h i c h the soldiers of ancient R o m e were c o m p e l l e d to take u p o n enrolment i n the ranks was a n expression of the R o m a n sense of themselves as a c i v i l i z e d people (§2); its p r o v i s i o n s attempted to cement the rules of w a r a n d to curb unrestrained behaviour. T h e oath, as  reported b y Gellius, d i d not i n v o l v e the gods, merely the g o o d w o r d of the soldier, w h o p l e d g e d to carry out its provisions because he himself w i s h e d  " q u o d r e c t u m factum esse" ("to d o what is right").  T h e sanctity of the spoken oath i n R o m a n society is m e n t i o n e d again at 6.18, i n w h i c h the story of ten R o m a n captives sent as a d e p u t a t i o n b y the Carthaginians to R o m e is.narrated b y Gellius. T h e m e n h a d s w o r n to return to their captors if the R o m a n people refused to agree to the C a r t h a g i n i a n d e m a n d for an exchange of prisoners. W h e n the exchange was rejected b y the senate, eight of the ten m e n , despite pleas f r o m their families, returned v o l u n t a r i l y to Carthage, c o n s i d e r i n g themselves b o u n d b y their oath, but t w o r e m a i n e d i n R o m e , declaring that they, h a v i n g u s e d a pretext to return to their captors' c a m p before c o m i n g to R o m e , h a d fulfilled the letter of their oath a n d were n o longer b o u n d to it. T h e two m e n earned their freedom but also the contempt of the R o m a n people:  Haec eorumfraudulentacalliditas tarn esse turpis existimata est, ut contempti vulgo discerptique sint censoresque eos postea omnium notarum et damnis et ignominiis adfecerint, quoniam quodfacturos deieraverant nonfecissent ( § 1 0 ) . T h i s dishonourable cleverness of theirs was considered so shameful, that they were generally despised a n d reprobated; a n d later the censors p u n i s h e d them w i t h all possible fines a n d m a r k s of disgrace, o n the g r o u n d that they h a d not done what they h a d s w o r n to do.  These stories show that declarations a n d oaths are not just e m p t y w o r d s ;  the p o w e r attached to them is part of the p o w e r w h i c h attaches to the b e h a v i o u r  of c i v i l i z e d people. A declaration of w a r requires not just the s y m b o l i c spear  thrust, but the legitimacy of w o r d s as well. Barbarians, s u c h as the  89  Carthaginians or the H e r m u n d u l a n s , might commence w a r w i t h o u t w a r n i n g or break oaths solemnly s w o r n , but the R o m a n people are b o u n d b y the w o r d s w h i c h they utter.  G e l l i u s recounts other tales i n the  Noctes Atticae i n w h i c h language has a  significant role i n otherwise o r d i n a r y lives. H e relates, for example, the story of P a p i r i u s Praetextatus, a y o u n g b o y w h o u s e d a lie as a means of deflecting his mother's insistent questions about the debates w h i c h he h a d witnessed w h e n he h a d a c c o m p a n i e d his father to the senate (1.23); he told his mother a false story that the senate was considering instituting p o l y g a m y , a tale w h i c h q u i c k l y spread a m o n g the matrons of the city, causing hysteria amongst them a n d confusion amongst their husbands, until P a p i r i u s was able to explain i n the senate w h a t he h a d done a n d w h y . T h e senate t h e r e u p o n v o t e d not to allow y o u n g b o y s into the senate house i n the future, excepting o n l y Papirius:  . . . atque puero postea cognomentum honoris gratia inditum "Praetextatus" ob tacendi loquendique in aetate praetextae prudentiam (§13). . . . a n d the b o y was henceforth h o n o u r e d w i t h the s u r n a m e Praetextatus, because of his discretion i n k e e p i n g silent a n d i n speaking, w h i l e he was still y o u n g e n o u g h to wear the p u r p l e bordered gown.  There are, as well, the stories of the son of C r o e s u s a n d the S a m i a n athlete  Echeklous, b o t h of w h o m h a d been mute since birth (5.9). W h e n a soldier h o l d s  a s w o r d at C r o e s u s ' throat, his son s u d d e n l y gives voice a n d thereby saves  90  C r o e s u s ' life. L i k e w i s e , E c h e k l o u s witnesses some cheating, a n d b y o p e n i n g his m o u t h a n d speaking out he maintains the p u r i t y of a sacred athletic contest.  B o t h tales illustrate the social value a n d even the social necessity of language. G e l l i u s also narrates the account of Demosthenes, w h o , o n his w a y to s t u d y w i t h Plato a n d seeing a great mass of people h u r r y i n g to hear the orator Callistratus, d e c i d e d to spare a m o m e n t to see if the excitement that Callistratus was generating was justified:  Venit. . . atque audit Callistratum nobilem illam TTJV nepi 'Qpconov Si/crjv dicentem, atque ita motus et demultus et captus.est ut Callistratum iam inde sectari coeperit Academiam cum Platone reliquerit (3.13.5). H e came . . . a n d heard. Callistratus d e l i v e r i n g that famous speech of his, f| rcepi 'Qpcorcovj  8iKr|. H e was so m o v e d , so c h a r m e d , so  captivated that he became a follower of Callistratus f r o m that m o m e n t , deserting Plato a n d the A c a d e m y . Demosthenes was w o n over b y the p o w e r of Callistratus' w o r d s , just as G e l l i u s himself c o u l d not help be more delighted w i t h Plato's eloquence than he was w i t h his p h i l o s o p h y (17.20). G e l l i u s believes that w o r d s are an innate part of m a n . T h e y are organic a n d s p r i n g f r o m his essential nature (10.4): he notes that E n n i u s c l a i m e d to h a v e three hearts, because he c o u l d speak Greek a n d L a t i n i n a d d i t i o n to O s c a n  (17.17.1). B u t G e l l i u s also recognises that w o r d s d o not often come n a t u r a l l y n o r  always serve the speaker well. W o r d s can be a m b i g u o u s or, at the v e r y least,  91  m a y cause m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g if the speaker is not careful to a v o i d obscurity (11.12). G e l l i u s tells the reader that Fronto w a r n e d that each w o r d has its time a n d place, that a w o r d cannot be used "semper atque i n o m n i loco" ("always a n d everywhere") (13.29.5). T a u r u s speaks a p p r o v i n g l y to G e l l i u s of the order a n d m e t h o d of Pythagorean training, training w h i c h r e q u i r e d a p e r i o d of silence of at least two years; only once a student h a d learnt to listen c o u l d he be trusted w i t h w o r d s (1.9.4 - 5). L a n g u a g e m u s t be tempered w i t h judgement a n d discrimination, not just o n the part of p u b l i c orators but b y private i n d i v i d u a l s as well. G e l l i u s relates the story of the sister of P u b l i u s C l a u d i u s , a general w h o s e defeat at sea cost the lives of R o m a n citizens d u r i n g the first P u n i c W a r ; she called out i n the m i d s t of a jostling c r o w d that she w i s h e d that her brother m i g h t be reborn to protect her f r o m s u c h indignities (10.6.). H e r lack of j u d g e m e n t b r o u g h t her a h e a v y fine f r o m the censors, for they d e e m e d her w o r d s w i c k e d a n d arrogant. G e l l i u s also shares i n Julianus' shame a n d embarrassment d u r i n g the d e c l a m a t i o n of a h a u g h t y y o u t h w h o treated his listeners not to a reasoned argument but to a flood of "involucra s e n s u u m v e r b o r u m q u e v o l u m i n a v o c u m q u e turbas" ("confused a n d meaningless w o r d s a n d a torrent of verbiage") (9.15.9). G e l l i u s e v e n feels c o m p e l l e d to p e n a lengthy diatribe to  92 w a r n explicitly against the dangers of "futilis inanisque loquacitas" ("vain a n d  e m p t y loquacity") (1.15.L):  Qui sunt leves et/utiles et importuni locutores quique nullo rerum pondere innixi verbis uvidis et lapsantibus di/fluunt, eorum orationem bene existimatum est in ore nasci, non in pectore, linguam autem debere aiunt non esse liberam nec vagam, sed vinclis de pectore imo ac de corde aptis moveri et quasi gubernari (§1). T h e talk of empty-headed, v a i n a n d tiresome babblers, w h o w i t h n o foundation of solid matter let out a stream of tipsy, tottering w o r d s , has justly been thought to come f r o m the lips a n d not f r o m the heart. M o r e o v e r , m e n say that the tongue ought not to be unrestrained a n d r a m b l i n g , but g u i d e d and, so to speak, steered b y cords connected w i t h the heart a n d inmost breast.  In G e l l i u s ' w o r l d , w o r d s are not just a matter of i n d i v i d u a l concern; they have social implications as well. There is n o better example of this i n the  Noctes  Atticae than his discussion of the use of tertium or tertio ("for the t h i r d time") (10.1). G e l l i u s opts to use the former i n a letter to a friend, w h o , he reports, writes back to h i m i n q u i r i n g as to w h y Gellius h a d m a d e this choice. refers his friend to the  Gellius  auctoritas of V a r r o , w h o supports the use of tertium;  G e l l i u s further reports that, i n his discussion of this w o r d , V a r r o a d d e d that, w h e n his c o n t e m p o r a r y P o m p e y was c o m p o s i n g an inscription for the n e w l y built temple of Victory, it was V a r r o ' s o p i n i o n that P o m p e y was too t i m i d w h e n he was forced to decide between the two w o r d s . Because P o m p e y was uncertain as to w h i c h was the correct term,  consul tertium or consul tertio, he sought the  93 advice of v a r i o u s esteemed R o m a n s . G e l l i u s quotes T u l l i u s T i r o , Cicero's freedman, w h o h a d narrated the incident i n a letter to a friend:  Earn rem Pompeius exquisitissime rettulit ad doctissimos civitatis, cumque dissertiretur et pars 'tertio,' alii 'tertium' scribendum contenderent, rogavit... Ciceronem Pompeius, ut quod ei rectius videretur scribi iuberet (§7). . P o m p e y took great pains to refer this question to the most learned m e n of R o m e , a n d w h e n there was difference of o p i n i o n , some m a i n t a i n i n g that  tertio ought to be written, others tertium, P o m p e y  asked Cicero to decide u p o n what seemed to h i m the m o r e correct form. C i c e r o reportedly was not eager to answer P o m p e y ' s i n q u i r y , for he recognised that a choice either w a y w o u l d seem p r e s u m p t i o u s a n d arrogant to those l e a r n e d m e n w h o s e o p i n i o n h a d been sought but not followed, but he nevertheless came u p w i t h a neat solution: P o m p e y s h o u l d use a n abbreviation,  tert., w h i c h w o u l d  leave the m e a n i n g clear but the e n d i n g vague. It is not likely that P o m p e y lost too m u c h sleep over the question of tertium or tertio, but the fact that he was sufficiently concerned to seek the advice of a n u m b e r of fellow citizens o n a matter of simple diction, as w e l l as the fact that C i c e r o was reluctant to give a f i r m o p i n i o n for fear of c a u s i n g social offence, is indicative of the social p o w e r w h i c h w o r d s c o u l d carry o n occasion. In the pages of the  Noctes Atticae G e l l i u s demonstates that this incident, w h i c h took  place some two h u n d r e d years before his time, is not an isolated one, for he recounts m o r e than two d o z e n anecdotes—almost ten percent of the  Noctes  94  Atticae—in  w h i c h language plays a role i n the social relations of his  contemporaries a n d himself.  5  S o m e scholars, notably Nettleship, have a r g u e d that these anecdotal chapters (whether concerned w i t h language or other types of knowledge) are not historical, that the social situations w h i c h G e l l i u s presents are w h o l l y fictional a n d that G e l l i u s uses "the frame of an i m a g i n a r y dialogue, a description, or a n anecdote" o n l y as a device to "enliven his lessons."  6  Nettleship calls G e l l i u s a  "mediocre" writer w h o shows a "want of skill" a n d a general "carelessness" i n his composition, a stance w h i c h R a y m o n d O h l argues does not grant G e l l i u s the literary skill a n d originality w h i c h he w o u l d require to b r i n g to fictionalized scenes a sufficient aura of reality even to warrant argument over their probable historicity.  7  Holford-Strevens partially agrees w i t h Nettleship; he points to a  n u m b e r of "plausible anecdotes readily taken as records of fact" b y other scholars w h i c h he believes are fictional a n d w h i c h are d r a w n f r o m similar literary motifs to be f o u n d i n Plato or C i c e r o (2.26; 18.1; 4.1; 19.9; 9.4; 13.25). But 8  in two cases Holford-Strevens argues m u t u a l l y contrary positions: he notes o n the one h a n d that, i n the scenario presented i n 2.26, G e l l i u s makes a greater effort  5  Half that number again are anecdotes of social situations which concern a person's knowledge  in other spheres —law, philosophy, literature or history. 6  Nettleship 1883: 395.  7  Nettleship 1883: 395 - 396; O h l 1927: 103.  8  Holford-Strevens: 1982: 65 - 68.  95  to s u p p l y i n d i v i d u a l detail—Fronto's gout, F a v o r i n u s ' s p o n s o r i n g presence, dialogue that is m o r e reflective of reality—than either Plato of C i c e r o w o u l d have m a d e i n similar literary circumstances, i m p l y i n g that G e l l i u s l a b o u r e d rather too h a r d at animating the fictional scenario; o n the other h a n d , he dismisses the historicity of Julianus' defence of L a t i n poetry at 19.9 i n part because G e l l i u s does not w o r k h a r d enough. G e l l i u s fails to follow u p the rhetorician's speech w i t h a reply f r o m his G r e e k attackers, "[with] w h i c h [it] surely w o u l d have e n d e d , if it was w o r t h the telling," asserts H o l f o r d - S t r e v e n s . H e accuses G e l l i u s of h a v i n g "lost interest i n the story." Holford-Strevens gives other reasons for d o u b t i n g the historicity of particular anecdotes, but his p r o p o s a l that the authenticity of an anecdote m i g h t rest o n G e l l i u s ' s u p p l y i n g too m u c h or too little detail is weak. A close examination of the  Noctes Atticae indicates that most of G e l l i u s ' anecdotes d o  have settings that are clear a n d detailed, considering the relatively short length of his chapters: they usually have a locus—Fronto's home, the p a r k of A g r i p p a , the sea-shore at Ostia, one of Rome's libraries or booksellers, the entrance h a l l of the palace of the Palantine—as w e l l as a cast of characters, some n a m e d (usually his friends or acquaintances), some not (usually his enemies). O v e r two-thirds of the anecdotes come to some sort of denouement, t h o u g h the r e m a i n i n g anecdotes either e n d abruptly, w h e n Gellius, engrossed i n the lexicographical  96 topic w h i c h the scenario has presented, neglects to return to the  mise en scene, or  veer a w a y f r o m the o p e n i n g scenario w h i l e G e l l i u s pursues other related topics. G e l l i u s tells us that he dictated his chapters (1.23.2), w h i c h m a y account for his failure to carry t h r o u g h to the e n d of some anecdotes; it is easy to i m a g i n e the keen amateur scholar being sidetracked b y s u d d e n consideration of another nugget of information, h o w e v e r tangentially related to the topic at h a n d , as he muses a l o u d to his scribe. But the details w h i c h G e l l i u s supplies for each anecdote are sufficient to his p u r p o s e of engaging his reader, a n d it is not unreasonable to assume that they are for the most part d r a w n f r o m real life.  Nettleship considers all of G e l l i u s ' anecdotes to be fiction; H o l f o r d Strevens is not w i l l i n g to concede that m u c h , t h o u g h he notes that " m u c h . . . is b e y o n d p r o o f or disproof."  9  H e is n o d o u b t correct that some of G e l l i u s '  anecdotes are fictionalized, but all of the scholars m e n t i o n e d here agree that, fictionalized or not, G e l l i u s ' anecdotes are based o n the social reality of his day:  I think that w e have here . . . the honest attempt of a m a n of l i m i t e d literary resources . . . to enliven his scraps of i n f o r m a t i o n b y presenting them to us u n d e r the guise of incidents of his o w n personal recollection, of the sort that m u s t have o c c u r r e d m a n y times i n the literary-academic life i n w h i c h he m i n g l e d .  10  A l t h o u g h H o l f o r d Strevens w a r n s that "we s h o u l d i n general take G e l l i u s '  anecdotes rather as o k dv yevoixo [the sort of things w h i c h m i g h t h a v e  9  1 0  Holford-Strevens 1982: 67. O h l 1927:103.  97  happened] than as xcx yevopEvoc [things w h i c h d i d happen]," he does assert that "we m a y also accept that [Gellius] d r a w s his characters as he saw them."  11  Even  if it were conceded to Nettleship that all of these anecdotes were merely fictional, h o w e v e r , G e l l i u s ' choice of this particular f r a m e w o r k for presentation is of interest, for the anecdote, i n v o l v i n g historical or c o n t e m p o r a r y characters w h o w o u l d be w e l l - k n o w n to his reader, placed i n familiar settings a n d situations, emphasizes the relationship between language a n d society.  T h e characters w h o m G e l l i u s d r a w s i n those particular anecdotes w h i c h are concerned solely w i t h the social aspects of language fall into two distinct g r o u p s — f r i e n d s a n d enemies—and they are almost evenly represented. T h e friends are m e n of his social g r o u p a n d class; some of them are u n n a m e d , b u t others, s u c h as the poet Julius P a u l u s a n d the o t h e r w i s e - u n k n o w n Julius Celsinus, a N u m i d i a n , as w e l l as G e l l i u s ' teachers a n d role-models S u l p i c i u s A p o l l i n a r i s , A n t o n i u s Julianus, T a u r u s , F a v o r i n u s a n d Fronto, are m e n w h o appear regularly throughout the  Noctes Atticae. T h e u n n a m e d comrades are 12  fellow-students i n A t h e n s (2.21; 7.16), or l i k e - m i n d e d fellow R o m a n s w h o have gathered together for a p u b l i c r e a d i n g o n a h o l i d a y (16.10), for a discussion about  1 1  Holford-Strevens 1982: 68.  1 2  Holford-Strevens 1988:110 - 111 and Champlin 1980:14 both speculate on the identity of Julius  Celsinus.  98  legal issues (13.13) or various inventions (17.10), or for a quiet browse t h r o u g h a  library (11.17). G e l l i u s ' encounters w i t h his friends are, not surprisingly, amicable ones, a n d the anecdotes all i n v o l v e a m u t u a l i n q u i r y for a linguistic truth. In 11.17, for example, G e l l i u s is reading i n the library of Trajan's temple w h e n he comes across a n edict of the early praetors w h i c h p u z z l e s h i m , for it uses a w o r d , "retanda" (clearing of nets), w h i c h is u n k n o w n to h i m ; a friend w h o is sitting near h i m i n the library offers a solution, gleaned f r o m his o w n perusal of a b o o k o n e t y m o l o g y . In 16.10 Gellius is i n c o m p a n y w i t h a large n u m b e r of friends w h o are passing a h o l i d a y at R o m e w i t h a p u b l i c r e a d i n g f r o m E n n i u s , w h e n a question arises as. to the poet's use of  proletarius. Gellius asks a friend skilled i n  civil law to speak a n d enlighten the gathering, but the latter declines o n the g r o u n d s that he is not skilled i n grammar. W h e n Julius P a u l u s is spotted p a s s i n g b y he is h a i l e d a n d it is he w h o speaks at some length o n the w o r d .  F r o m his student days i n A t h e n s , G e l l i u s recounts a night crossing at sea:  Ab Aegina in Piraeum complusculi earundem disciplinarum sectatores Graeci Romanique homines eadem in navi transmittebamus. Noxfuit et clemens mare et anni aestas caelumque liquide serenum. Sedebamus ergo in puppi simul universi et lucentia sidera considerabamus. Turn, qui eodem in numero Graecas res eruditi erant, quid ajj.a%a esset, quid fiocorng, et quaenam maior et quae minor, cur ita appellata et quam in partem procedentis noctis spatio moveretur et quamobrem Homerus solam earn non occidere dicat, cum et quaedam alia non occidant astra, scite ista omnia ac perite disserebant (2.21.1 - 3).  99  Several of us, Greeks a n d R o m a n s , w h o were p u r s u i n g the same studies, were crossing i n the same boat f r o m A e g i n a to the Piraeus. It was night, the sea was calm, the time s u m m e r , a n d the sky bright a n d clear. So we all sat together i n the stern a n d w a t c h e d the brilliant stars. T h e n those of o u r c o m p a n y w h o were acquainted w i t h G r e c i a n lore discussed w i t h learning a n d a c u m e n s u c h questions as these: what the aua^oc, or " W a i n , " was, a n d what Bootes, w h i c h was the Great, a n d w h i c h the Little Bear a n d w h y they were so called; i n what direction that constellation m o v e d i n the course of the a d v a n c i n g night, a n d w h y H o m e r says that this is the only constellation that does not set, i n v i e w of the fact that there are some other stars that d o not set. G e l l i u s himself then brings u p a question about the e t y m o l o g y of the w o r d  septentriones, the L a t i n name for the constellation the Greeks called auacja, a n d soon one of their c o m p a n y is discoursing o n the w o r d . In his discussion the student refers to both L u c i u s A e l i u s a n d V a r r o , a n d G e l l i u s ends the anecdote w i t h a satisfied n o d of appreciation for V a r r o ' s  auctoritas.  These anecdotes, a n d other like them, are h a p p y ones: G e l l i u s is i n his element, amongst m e n w h o a l s o have a lively appreciation for a n d interest i n w o r d s . G e l l i u s accompanies F a v o r i n u s to Trajan's f o r u m to await the arrival of F a v o r i n u s ' friend, a n d there listens to a lengthy debate between F a v o r i n u s a n d another m e m b e r of their c o m p a n y o n the m e a n i n g of  manubiae (booty) (13.25); o n  his stroll back f r o m a dinner party i n the a u t u m n d u s k w i t h Julius C e l s i n u s the  two m e n ruminate o n the "figuras habitusque v e r b o r u m n o v e aut insigniter  d i c t o r u m i n L a e v i a n o illo carmine" ("rhetorical figures a n d the n e w or striking  use of w o r d s i n that p o e m of Laevius") w h i c h h a d been read a l o u d at the d i n n e r  100  table (19.7.2); he accompanies F a v o r i n u s o n a visit to Fronto, w h o is l a i d u p w i t h gout, a n d is treated to a lively debate between the two m e n as to the relative strength of the L a t i n a n d G r e e k languages i n the matter of w o r d s for colour (2.26); a n d he is one of a n u m b e r of y o u n g m e n w h o , h a v i n g joined A n t o n i u s Julianus at Puteoli for the s u m m e r holidays, a c c o m p a n y h i m to hear the d e c l a m a t i o n of an "Ennianist," a n d w h o afterwards discuss the poet's use of eques or equus i n a particular line of verse (18.5). T h e r e is debate a n d l i v e l y discussion, e v e n dissension o n occasion, but n o rancour or nastiness. These scenarios c o u l d not be i n greater contrast to those r e m a i n i n g anecdotes w h i c h focus o n a k n o w l e d g e of w o r d s a n d w h i c h virtually all i n v o l v e situations i n w h i c h g r a m m a r i a n s are p u b l i c l y abused, h u m i l i a t e d a n d r i d i c u l e d . In the earlier discussion of G e l l i u s ' education it was noted that G e l l i u s displays a respectful but ambivalent regard for his teacher of g r a m m a r , S u l p i c i u s A p o l l i n a r i s . G e l l i u s repeatedly praises A p o l l i n a r i s ' k n o w l e d g e a n d w i d e learning, a n d it appears that he maintains a relationship w i t h A p o l l i n a r i s w e l l into his adult years, but A p o l l i n a r i s is, rather notably, the o n l y one of his teachers i n the  Noctes Atticae w i t h w h o m he o p e n l y disagrees, h o w e v e r  respectfully. G e l l i u s is not completely comfortable w i t h g r a m m a r i a n s , a n d this feeling cannot help but affect his otherwise f o n d relationship w i t h A p o l l i n a r i s . Some i n d i v i d u a l grammarians, s u c h as A p o l l i n a r i s , P u b l i u s N i g i d i u s a n d  101  V a l e r i u s Probus, have merit i n Gellius' eyes. P u b l i u s N i g i d i u s , i n particular, earns G e l l i u s ' praise; he is "hominis eruditissimi" ("a most learned man") (15.3), "homo i n o m n i u m b o n a r u m a r t i u m disciplinis egregius" ("a m a n eminent i n the p u r s u i t of all the liberal arts") (10.11.2), and, most laudatory of all, "homo, ut ego arbitror, iuxta M . V a r r o n e m doctissumus) ("in m y o p i n i o n the m o s t learned of m e n next to M a r c u s Varro") (4.9.1), although G e l l i u s does not hesitate to disagree w i t h N i g i d i u s w h e n it is warranted (4.9;'4.16; 10.5; 19.14). V a l e r i u s Probus, despite the fact that he receives less lavish praise—he is "inter s u a m aetatem praestanti scientia" ("conspicuous a m o n g the m e n of his time for his learning") (4.7.1) a n d "docti h o m i n i s et i n legendis pensitandisque  veteribus  scriptis bene callidi" ("a learned m a n a n d w e l l trained i n r e a d i n g a n d estimating the ancient writings") (9.9.12)—is i n fact the only g r a m m a r i a n w h o m G e l l i u s does not contradict. T h e rest of the grammarians w h o appear i n the  Noctes  Atticae, some of w h o m are n a m e d , such as Caesillius V i n d e x a n d V e r r i u s Flaccus, but most of w h o m are s i m p l y h e a p e d u n d e r the general h e a d i n g of "turba g r a m m a t i c o r u m novicia" ("the upstart h e r d of grammarians") (11.1.5), s e l d o m reap a n y t h i n g but Gellius' scorn a n d condemnation. E v e n i n passing reference G e l l i u s often cannot help but take a swipe at them: "grammatico q u o d a m praestigioso" ("a deceitful grammarian") (8.L); "semidoctus grammaticus" 13  1 3  Translation mine.  102  ("half-educated grammarian") (15.9.6); "legebat barbare insciteque" ("[a g r a m m a r i a n ] was reading i n a barbarous a n d ignorant manner") (16.6.3); or "vulgus . . . g r a m m a t i c o r u m " ("the c o m m o n r u n of grammarians") (2.21.6).  A typical anecdote i n v o l v i n g a g r a m m a r i a n is that recounted i n 4.1 b y Gellius, w h o is part of the c o m p a n y w a i t i n g i n the entrance hall of the Palatine palace to p a y respects to the emperor:  . . . atque ibi in circulo doctorum hominum, Favorino philosopho praesente, ostentabat quispiam grammaticae rei ditior scholica quaedam nugalia, de generibus et casibus vocabularum disserens cum arduis superciliis vocisque et vultus gravitate composita, tamquam interpres et arbiter Sibyllae oraculorum. . . . Atque horum omnium et testimoniis et exemplis constrepebat (§1, 4). A n d there i n a g r o u p of scholars, i n the presence of the p h i l o s o p h e r Favorinus, a m a n w h o thought himself u n u s u a l l y rich i n grammatical lore was airing trifles w o r t h y of the s c h o o l r o o m , discoursing o n the genders a n d cases of n o u n s w i t h raised eyebrows a n d a n exaggerated gravity of voice a n d expression, as if he were the interpreter a n d sovereign l o r d of the Sibyl's o r a c l e . . . . A n d he kept b a w l i n g out illustrations a n d examples of all these usages.  F a v o r i n u s at last interrupts this flow of tiresome detail a n d asks the g r a m m a r i a n  a m o r e p o i n t e d a n d detailed question o n a matter of diction; the g r a m m a r i a n  replies instantly a n d dismissively; F a v o r i n u s counters w i t h a further question;  the g r a m m a r i a n begins to w a v e r a n d finally, u n d e r m o r e questioning f r o m  F a v o r i n u s , "voce i a m m o l l i atque demissa" ("now i n h u m b l e d a n d s u b d u e d  tones"), admits his ignorance.  103  T h i s encounter encompasses the m a i n features of most of the anecdotes i n v o l v i n g g r a m m a r i a n s i n the  Noctes Atticae: the brash a n d dismissive  g r a m m a r i a n ; the educated m a n w h o challenges h i m ; the increasing hesitation a n d w a v e r i n g o n the part of the g r a m m a r i a n ; a n d his eventual capitulation a n d a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t of his real ignorance i n the presence of a m a n of education. There is, as another example, a g r a m m a r i a n i n the c o m p a n y of m e n i n attendance u p o n Fronto i n the anecdote i n 19.10. Fronto seizes u p o n the w o r d  praeterpropter (more or less) for discussion a n d turns to the g r a m m a r i a n , w h o is "haud incelebri n o m i n e R o m a e docentem" ("of n o little fame as a teacher at Rome"), for assistance i n its explication:  Turn grammaticus usitati pervulgatique verbi obscuritate motus: "Quaerimus," inquit, "quod honore quaestionis minime dignum est. Nam nescio quid hoc praenimis plebeium est et in opificium sermonibus quam in hominum doctorum notius" (§7 - 8). T h e n the g r a m m a r i a n , surprised b y the uncertainty about a familiar a n d m u c h u s e d w o r d , said: "We inquire about s o m e t h i n g w h i c h does not at all deserve the h o n o u r of investigation, for this is some utterly plebeian expression or other, better k n o w n i n the talk of mechanics than i n that of cultivated men." Fronto retorts that  praeterpropter was u s e d b y Cato, V a r r o a n d other early writers  a n d is therefore w o r t h y of study; Julius C e l s i n u s r e m i n d s h i m that E n n i u s u s e d  the w o r d as w e l l , a n d Fronto thereupon calls for a v o l u m e of E n n i u s , w h i c h he  104  has read a l o u d . H e then turns to confront the g r a m m a r i a n once more, asking  h i m to define the w o r d :  Et grammaticus sudans multum ac rubens multum, cum id plerique prolixius riderent, exurgit et abiens: "Tibi," inquit, "Fronto, postea uni dicam, ne inscitiores audiant ac discant" ( § 1 4 ) . A n d the g r a m m a r i a n , i n a profuse sweat a n d b l u s h i n g deeply, since m a n y of the c o m p a n y were l a u g h i n g l o n g a n d l o u d at this, got u p , saying as he left: "I w i l l tell y o u at a later time, w h e n w e are alone, Fronto, i n order that ignorant folk m a y not hear a n d learn." These two anecdotes are not alone i n the  Noctes Atticae i n p o r t r a y i n g the  g r a m m a r i a n as an outsider, a pretender a m o n g " h o m i n u m d o c t o r u m " ("educated men");  14  the g r a m m a r i a n is m o r e often than not revealed to be o n l y  what G e l l i u s elsewhere labels a "litterator" ("a dabbler i n literature") (16.6.1; 18.9.2).  15  Kaster, i n his study of g r a m m a r i a n s i n the later empire, d r a w s attention  to w h a t he calls the "exclusiveness of the literary culture" i n the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d , b y w h i c h language a n d literature were u s e d to differentiate between those w i t h p o w e r a n d those w i t h o u t .  16  "This essentially aristocratic culture was  the special prerogative of the senatorial class of great l a n d e d proprietors," agrees  " Cf. 5.4; 5.21; 6.17; 7.15; 7.16; 13.31; 15.9; 16.6; 18.4; 20.10. The only anecdote (not chapter) in which a grammarian appears in a favourable light in the Noctes Atticae is in 19.13, in which an unnamed grammarian plays a supporting role to Sulpicius Apollinaris, from w h o m Fronto has sought advice on diction. 1 5  Cf. Suet. Gram. 4.1, in which Greek grammarians are said to have been at first called "litterati."  1 6  Kaster 1988: 22 - 29. Kaster is writing more specifically, but not exclusively, about the period of  the third to sixth centuries A D , but the hold of the intellectual elite on culture was a feature of the early as well as the later empire.  105  M a r r o u , a n d he notes that w i t h each w a v e of n e w entrants into the upper-class, "the n e w l y - r i c h d i d not rest u n t i l they h a d assimilated the intellectual traditions of w h i c h their predecessors h a d been so p r o u d . "  17  A t h o r o u g h k n o w l e d g e of  language a n d literature was one m a r k of the educated m a n , whether he was f r o m an o l d , illustrious family or n e w l y - a r r i v e d i n R o m a n society. " G r a m m a t i c a d i v i d i t " ("grammar divides"), says Sidonius A p o l l i n a r i s (Ep.5.2.1), a n d a l t h o u g h his c o m m e n t is taken out of its original context, it is not i n a p p r o p r i a t e i n this setting. L a n g u a g e separates the  vulgus ( c o m m o n r u n of men) (13.17) f r o m the  doctus i n the Noctes Atticae. R o m a n grammarians, w h o h a d been originally d r a w n f r o m the slave or freedman class, h a d generally l o w prestige, a n d t h o u g h they were slightly higher o n the social a n d economic scale than they were o n l y just.  18  grammatistes,  A s a g r o u p , rather than as i n d i v i d u a l s (for G e l l i u s is  generally f a i r - m i n d e d e n o u g h to give credit where it is due, particularly to m e n s u c h as V a l e r i u s P r o b u s a n d P u b l i u s N i g i d i u s ) , g r a m m a r i a n s are p o r t r a y e d i n G e l l i u s ' w o r k v a i n l y attempting to use their linguistic a n d literary k n o w l e d g e as a means of distinguishing themselves f r o m the  vulgus a n d f i n d i n g a place a m o n g  m e n of liberal education, a place w h i c h G e l l i u s prefers to d e n y them. There is a hint of social bias i n the  Noctes Atticae, s u c h as G e l l i u s ' use of  the phrase "turba. g r a m m a t i c o r u m novicia" ("the upstart h e r d of grammarians")  1 7  M a r r o u 1964: 413.  1 8  M a r r o u 1964: 370; Bonner 1977:150 - 154.  106  (11.1.5), but because G e l l i u s never reveals to the reader his o w n family b a c k g r o u n d — s e n a t o r i a l or equestrian, o l d m o n e y or n e w m o n e y — w e are unable to say w i t h real confidence h o w m u c h of a role class a n d social status actually p l a y i n his attacks u p o n grammarians. It is certainly difficult to accuse G e l l i u s of any overt social snobbery. H e writes, for example, i n g l o w i n g terms about V e n t i d i u s Bassus, "ignobili h o m i n e " ("a m a n of obscure birth") (15.4.L) w h o rose f r o m h u m b l e poverty a n d even captivity to become consul i n 43 B . C . H e does not attempt to lay claim to k i n s h i p w i t h either L u c i u s G e l l i u s , an ex-censor w h o was a colleague of Cicero, m e n t i o n e d at 5.6.15, or either of the two G n a e u s G e l l i i , one of w h o m was an opponent of C a t o the Elder (14.2.21), the other a n annalist f r o m the second century B C (13.23.13; 18.12.6). N o r does G e l l i u s flaunt his social connections.  H i s relationship w i t h p o w e r f u l m e n s u c h as F r o n t o or H e r o d e s  A t t i c u s is depicted w i t h less frequency a n d less detail than his relationship w i t h others of lesser social import. A n t o n i u s Julianus, for example, w h o m u s t teach rhetoric for a l i v i n g a n d w h o speaks w i t h an accent w h i c h betrays his p r o v i n c i a l origins (19.9.2), appears m o r e often i n the  Noctes Atticae than either of the other  two m e n a n d his friendship w i t h G e l l i u s appears to be w a r m l y sincere.  T h e o n l y real accusation of snobbery w h i c h can be laid at G e l l i u s ' feet is i n his attitude towards m e n w h o have come to learning late i n life. H e takes to task  107  a m a n w h o h a d acquired "repentina et quasi t u m u l t u a r i a doctina" ("a s u d d e n a n d , so to speak, h a p h a z a r d k i n d of education") (11.7.3), not for his learning per se, but for his misuse of archaic language. H e is m o r e scathing about late  learning i n another chapter:  Qui ab alio genere vitae detriti iam et retorridi ad litterarum disciplinas serius adeunt, si forte idem sunt garruli natura et subargutuli, oppido quamfiunt in litterarum ostentatione inepti etfrivoli (15.30.1). T h o s e w h o a p p r o a c h the study of letters late i n life, after they are w o r n out a n d exhausted b y some other occupation, particularly if they are garrulous a n d of only moderate keenness, m a k e themselves exceedingly r i d i c u l o u s a n d silly b y d i s p l a y i n g their would-be knowledge. These m e n w o u l d not have originally come f r o m G e l l i u s ' social class, for m e n like h i m w o u l d have received their education as youths a n d w o u l d have h a d n o reason to be absorbed i n "other occupations" earlier i n life. But i n b o t h cases, it is their incomplete learning m a s q u e r a d i n g as a full education w h i c h perturbs him. It is probable that social class plays some role i n G e l l i u s ' ambivalent relationship w i t h grammarians, but his p r i m a r y dispute w i t h them has m o r e to d o w i t h their a p p r o a c h to language than w i t h any social pretensions they m i g h t harbour. W h e n G e l l i u s happens u p o n two g r a m m a r i a n s a r g u i n g vociferiously i n the park, each of them defending his o w n g r a m m a t i c a l rule about the vocative of vir egregius, a n d each of them offering o p p o s i n g analogies as p r o o f of his  108  position, he reports their dispute i n some detail to his reader, but he does not c o m m e n t o n w h i c h of them is correct (14.5). T h e issue is not a trivial one to Gellius, w h o expends as m u c h energy o n similar linguistic issues, but the arguments of the two g r a m m a r i a n s are based solely o n  ratio, not o n reference to  auctoritas. T h u s there is a certain d i s d a i n i n his statement that he c o u l d not be bothered to continue to listen to their arguments any longer, but t u r n e d himself away; it is not the argument itself w h i c h G e l l i u s deems foolish b u t the failure of these two g r a m m a r i a n s to seek the answer to their dispute i n the  auctoritas of the  best writers i n the L a t i n language. T h e rules of the L a t i n language were essential to the R o m a n g r a m m a r i a n , w h o "presented himself as an arbiter of the claims of three c o m p e t i n g forces," that is,  consuetudo, auctoritas a n d natural N a t u r e f o r m e d language but the  g r a m m a r i a n , t h r o u g h the e m p l o y m e n t of  ratio, c o u l d come to an u n d e r s t a n d i n g  of its rules. H i s struggle was to protect the p u r i t y of the natural language against the pernicious d o m i n a t i o n of  consuetudo a n d auctoritas. T h u s it is the rules w h i c h  matter to g r a m m a r i a n s i n the  Noctes Atticae, a situation w h i c h to G e l l i u s borders  o n the a b s u r d a n d w h i c h he mocks i n his encounter w i t h another g r a m m a r i a n at 15.9. A y o u t h f u l Gellius, "in circulo . . . i u v e n u m e r u d i t i o r u m " ("in a c o m p a n y of w e l l educated y o u n g men") ( § 2 ) , quotes several lines of verse of the poet  1 9  Kaster 1988:19.  109  Caecilius, after which a bystander, "grammaticorum volgo quispiam . . . non sane ignobilis" ("one of a throng of grammarians . . . a man of no little repute"), takes the poet to task for using from (brow) in the masculine gender i n his poetry. Gellius quickly comes to the poet's defence, citing both analogy and the auctoritas of Cato. The grammarian is not convinced by Gellius' argument: At ille semidoctus grammaticus: "Missas," inquit, "auctoritates facias, quas quidem ut habeas posse fieri puto, sed rationem die, quam non habes." . . . "Audi," inquam, "mi magister, rationem falsam quidem, sed quam redarguere falsam esse tu non queas" (§6 -7). But that half-educated grammarian said: " A w a y with your authorities, which I think you may perhaps have, but give me a reason, which you do not have." . . . "Listen," said I, "my dear sir, to a reason that may be false, but which you cannot prove to be false." Gellius gives the grammarian a patently specious rule: all words which end in -ons are masculine, if their genitive also ends i n -ons, and he cites frons, mons, pons and fons as examples.  20  The grammarian confidently responds:  At ille contra renidens: "Audi," inquit, "discipule, plura alia consimilia, quae non sint generis masculini." Petebant ibi omnes ut vel unum statim diceret. Sed cum homom voltum intorqueret et non hisceret et colores mutaret, turn ego intercessi et "Vade," inquam, "nunc et habeto ad requirendum triginta dies; postquam inveneris, repetes nos." Atque ita hominem nulli rex ad indagandum vocabulum, quo rescinderet finitionem fictam, dimisimus (§9 - 11). But he replied with a laugh: "Hear, young scholar, several other similar words which are not of the masculine gender." Then all Words of this type, including frons, are regularly feminine; mons, fons, dens (which Gellius does not mention) and pons are the exceptions to the rule. 20  110  b e g g e d h i m at once to n a m e just one. But w h e n the m a n was s c r e w i n g u p his face, c o u l d not o p e n his lips, a n d changed colour, then I broke i n , saying: " G o n o w a n d take thirty days to h u n t one u p ; w h e n y o u have f o u n d it, meet us again." A n d thus w e sent off this worthless fellow to h u n t u p a w o r d w i t h w h i c h to break the rule w h i c h I h a d made.  T h e struggle between repeatedly i n the  auctoritas a n d grammarians' rules is p l a y e d out  Noctes Atticae. Occasionally, as was demonstrated i n the  p r e v i o u s chapter, G e l l i u s m u s t admit that a r g u m e n t over  ratio or consuetudo has the better  auctoritas, but this situation never occurs i n the direct encounters  between a g r a m m a r i a n a n d G e l l i u s or his friend. In another anecdote i n 5.21, for example, a friend of Gellius, "vir a d p r i m e doctus" ("an extremely learned man"), w h o is a serious scholar a n d w h o is particularly well-read i n the w o r k s of the early writers, spars w i t h "reprehensor a u d a c u l u s v e r b o r u m , q u i p e r p a u c a e a d e m q u e a volgo protrita legerat" ("a v e r y audacious critic of language, w h o h a d read v e r y little a n d that of the most o r d i n a r y sort") ( § 4 ) . T h e latter challenges the scholar's use of  pluria (many), o n the g r o u n d s that it lacks b o t h  ratio a n d auctoritas. Gellius' friend then cites i n his defence n u m e r o u s early writers, i n c l u d i n g Cato, Q u i n t u s C l a u d i u s Q u a d r i g a r i u s , V a r r o a n d e v e n the famous g r a m m a r i a n P u b l i u s N i g i d i u s . T h i s proves insufficient for the grammarian:  "Tibi," inquit, "habeas auctoritates istas, ex Faunorum et Aboriginum saeculo repetitas, atque huic rationi respondeas. Nullum enim vocabulum neutrum comparativum numero plurativo, recto casu, ante  Ill  extremum 'a' habet 'i' litteram, sicuti 'meliora, maiora, graviora.' Proinde igitur 'plura,' non 'yluria,' did convenit, ne contraformam perpetuam in comparativo 'i' littera sit ante extremum 'a'" (§7 - 8). " Y o u are w e l c o m e to those authorities of yours, d u g u p f r o m the age of the Fauns a n d A b o r i g i n e s , but what is y o u r answer to this rule? N o neuter comparative i n the n o m i n a t i v e p l u r a l has an i  a; for example, meliora, maiora, graviora. A c c o r d i n g l y , then, it is proper to say plura, not pluria, i n order that  before its final  there be n o i before the final a i n a comparative, contrary to the invariable rule." But G e l l i u s ' friend h o l d s his o w n a n d proves his point t h r o u g h recourse to the  auctoritas of a writer to w h o m e v e n his challenger cannot object. In his preface to the  Noctes Atticae, Gellius asks his reader to consider  whether the notes he has collected together i n his miscellany,  .. . eius seminis generisque sint ex quo facile adolescant aut ingenia hominum vegetiora aut memoria adminiculatior aut oratio sollertior aut sermo incorruptior aut delectatio in otio atque in ludo liberalior (praef. 16). . . . d o not contain the germs a n d the quality to m a k e men's m i n d s g r o w m o r e vigorous, their m e m o r y m o r e trustworthy, their eloquence m o r e effective, their diction purer, or the pleasures of their h o u r s of leisure a n d recreation more refined. That language, the eloquence a n d diction m e n t i o n e d here, is not a n insignificant aspect of the lives of Gellius a n d his contemporaries is readily apparent i n the pages of the  Noctes Atticae. F o r grammarians, w o r d s are their l i v i n g , their literal  bread-and-butter; for Gellius, w o r d s have no less value, t h o u g h his reason for focussing so closely u p o n them is not as readily apparent. B u t that he sees  b e y o n d i n d i v i d u a l w o r d s to grasp, if not their literary w o r t h , at least their role social relations, is evident i n his examination of language i n his w o r l d .  113  Chapter 4 The Inquiring M i n d  G e l l i u s ' p u r p o s e for w r i t i n g the  Noctes Atticae stems f r o m his c o n v i c t i o n  that there is great w o r t h i n intellectual pursuits, pursuits w h i c h for h i m i n c l u d e matters pertaining to language; i n the preface a n d b o d y of his w o r k he strives to encourage the continuation of studies amongst educated m e n , i n part b y p o r t r a y i n g himself as an e x e m p l u m of the amateur (in the truest sense of the w o r d ) scholar, a n d i n part b y demonstrating that intellectual curiosity can be a part of e v e r y d a y life. H i s choice of the genre of the miscellany for p r o m o t i n g his ideas is not s u r p r i s i n g i n a m a n w h o has spent his life reading, listening, t h i n k i n g a n d taking notes. G e l l i u s has read the w o r k s of other miscellanists; he e n d e a v o u r s to place the  Noctes Atticae w i t h i n the tradition of the G r e e k a n d  R o m a n miscellany, but he also takes pains to distinguish his w o r k clearly f r o m that of other authors.  T h i s chapter w i l l review the miscellany a n d c o m p e n d i u m tradition i n the  R o m a n w o r l d a n d the place of G e l l i u s ' w o r k w i t h i n that tradition. It w i l l also  114  examine b o t h the preface a n d the m a i n b o d y of the  Noctes Atticae to demonstrate  h o w G e l l i u s elucidates his belief i n the importance of a n i n q u i r i n g m i n d .  G e l l i u s situates the  Noctes Atticae w i t h i n the miscellany a n d c o m p e n d i u m  tradition b y carefully citing i n his preface the titles of thirty similar w o r k s a n d thereby incidentally leaving the clear i m p r e s s i o n that he has read each a n d every one of t h e m (praef. 6 - 9 ) .  H e emulates P l i n y the Elder, w h o , i n his preface to the  Historia Naturalis (Natural History) (HN, praef. 24 - 26), decries the ingeniousness of the titles of most miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a . P l i n y d r a w s particular attention to the "inscriptionis a p u d Graecos m i r a felicitas" ("the m a r v e l l o u s neatness i n the titles g i v e n to the books b y the Greeks"): Kripiov 1  Kepaq 'ApocA-Geiocc;  (Honeycomb),  (Horn of Amaltheia), "la (Violets), M o u c c a (Muses), I l a v S e K i a i  (Hold-alls), 'Eyxetpi5ia (Handbooks), Aeipwv (Meadows), nivocE, (Tablet), I,%£biov (Impromptu). These titles are contrasted w i t h m o r e serious L a t i n titles, Antiquitates (Antiquities) a n d Exempla Artesque (Instances and Systems), b u t P l i n y also admires the L a t i n wit of  Lucubrationes (Talks by Lamplight) as w e l l as V a r r o ' s  Sesculixe (A Ulysses-and-a-half) and Flextabula (Folding-tablet). O n l y five of the titles w h i c h he cites i n his preface also appear i n Pliny's preface, a n d G e l l i u s does not distinguish between the G r e e k a n d L a t i n titles i n the genre.  1  There are titles n a m e d b y G e l l i u s w h i c h are fashioned o n agricultural  A l l translations from  Historia Naturalis  are from Rackham 1997.  115  or M o t h e r N a t u r e themes:  Knpia (Honeycomb); Aei/iSveg (Meadows); 'A/xaAOeiag  Kepag (Horn of Amaltheia); Avdnpd (The Nosegay); Silvae (Woods); Pratum (Field); riayKapnov (Fruit-basket). Other titles p r o v i d e d b y G e l l i u s are less flowery b u t still o n the fanciful side, such as 'EAIKCOV(Helicon),  Musae (The Muses), FJenXog (Athena's Mantle),  Av%voi (Torches), Tlapa^KpiSeg (Daggers) a n d Zxpcopareig  (Tapestries), b u t G e l l i u s also affects to scorn m o r e prosaic titles s u c h as 'EyyeipiSia (Handbooks), Memoriales (Memorabilia), npayp.aziKd (Principia), Tldpepya (Incidentals), Antiquae Lectiones (Gleanings from Early Writers), AiSaoKaAiKd (Instructions), Coniectanea (Miscellanies), Epistulae Morales (Moral Epistles), Epistolicae Quaestiones (Questions in Epistolary Form), Historiae Naturalis (Natural History) a n d navzoSani) 'Ioxopia (Universal History), the last title possibly being a reference to the c o m p e n d i u m of Favorinus. A b o u t half of these titles can be assigned to their authors.  2  Some of these miscellanies a n d  c o m p e n d i a were consulted b y Gellius i n his preparation of the Aurelius Opilius'  Noctes Atticae:  Musae (1.25.17); Pliny's Historia Naturalis (3.16.22; 9.4.7; 10.12.1;  17.15.6) a n d Sotion's ApaXGeiag Kepag (1.8.1), to n a m e a few. Miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a w h i c h , t h o u g h not m e n t i o n e d i n the preface, are cited i n the text itself include Valerius M a x i m u s '  2  Facta et Dicta Memorabilia (Memorable Sayings and  Rolfe 1954 (xxviii - xxix). Holford-Strevens 1993: 292 - 293 discusses some of the textual  problems related to the Greek names on Gellius' list.  116  Doings) (12.7.8) a n d the Commentario of P a m p h i l a , an E g y p t i a n w o m a n w h o l i v e d d u r i n g the reign of N e r o (15.17.3; 15.23.2).  3  T h e abundance of L a t i n a n d G r e e k titles p r o v i d e d b y G e l l i u s (as w e l l as P l i n y before him) is a g o o d indication of the p o p u l a r i t y of miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a i n the ancient w o r l d . T h e o r i g i n of the genre is i n the G r e e k technical a n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l h a n d b o o k s w h i c h first appeared i n the fourth century B C a n d came to full maturity i n the Hellenistic, age.  4  "Collections of chreiai," for example,  "remarks a n d anecdotes [of a p h i l o s o p h i c a l nature] w h i c h one s h o u l d learn b y heart i n order to have them ready in all life's situations," were p o p u l a r f r o m the third century B C o n w a r d s .  These collections often incorporated b i o g r a p h i c a l  5  details of philosophers into an o v e r v i e w of their p h i l o s o p h i c a l tenets. W i l l i a m Stahl notes that i n this p e r i o d "there were treatises o n the v a r i o u s operations p e r f o r m e d b y farmers a n d soldiers, o n precious gems, gastronomy, fishing, a n d e v e n a b o o k o n cosmetics, ascribed, not surprisingly, to that eminent authority o n the subject, C l e o p a t r a . " A l b i n L e s k y points to D i d y m u s as a notable m e m b e r 6  of the "gigantic i n d u s t r y of compilers" i n the Hellenistic era, t h o u g h he doubts that D i d y m u s was as prolific as ancient tradition asserted.  3  See Phot. BM. 175 for the life of Pamphila.  4  Stahl 1962:11 - 12.  s Skidmore 1996: 35 - 36. 6  Stahl 1962:11.  7  Lesky 1966: 788.  7  W h e n the R o m a n  117  intellectuals of the late Republic came into contact with their Greek counterparts they readily translated Greek handbooks, miscellanies and compendia into Latin but also borrowed the genre to produce their o w n Latin versions. The pragmatic nature of the Romans placed great value in the production of handbooks such as De Agri Cultura, Cato's treatise on agriculture, which was not, however, a systematic treatment in the style of a technical handbook as much as a miscellany on an agriculture theme, "a pot-pourri of principles, notes, recipes, instructions, and advice salted with apophthegms." The first century A D saw the peak of 8  production of handbooks, miscellanies and compendia, in both languages. The books addressed various disciplines of knowledge such as history, rhetoric and grammar, natural history, legal and political matters, science and technology, and philosophy. The production of the genre continued right into late antiquity. The strength of the miscellany and compendium mentality in the Roman w o r l d is hinted at by Seneca, who deplores the practice: Quare depone istam spent, posse te summatim degustare ingenia maximorum virorum: tota tibi inspicienda sunt, tota tractanda (Ep. 33.5). Wherefore put aside that hope, that you can get the flavour of the genius of the greatest men through summaries: you must consider the whole, you must work over the whole.  8  Gratwick 1982:142.  118 Extant miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a include: Varro's a n d C o l u m e l l a ' s  treatises o n farming; Valerius M a x i m u s ' Facta et Dicta Memorabilia (Memorable  Sayings and Doings); Pliny's Historia Naturalis; Plutarch's Apophthegmata a n d Moralia; Polyaenus' Strategemata; C l e m e n t of A l e x a n d r i a ' s Stromateis; D i o g e n e s Laertius' De Clarorum Philosophorum Vitis (Lives of the Eminent Philosophers);  Aelian's Varia Historia (Historical Miscellany) as well as his De Natura Animalium (On the Nature of Animals); Athenaeus' Deipnosophistae (Sophists at Dinner); a n d M a c r o b i u s ' Saturnalia; as w e l l as fragments of w o r k s such as A p u l e i u s ' Florida  and Epitoma Historiarum (Digest of History), and both the navToSaxn'  'Iaropia  (Universal History) a n d the 'A7tou.vr|pov£\)paTa (Memorabilia) of F a v o r i n u s .  9  M o d e r n scholars often have difficulty recognising the w o r t h of these antique compilations, other than to acknowledge that miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a often s u p p l y otherwise lost historical or literary material f r o m the ancient w o r l d . T o the m o d e r n m i n d the value of the compilers' recycled information, w h i c h was often presented without an a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t as to its original source, is limited; it is tempting to dismiss the majority of these w o r k s as h a v i n g been worthless e v e n i n their o w n day. In his discussion o n h a n d b o o k s i n  Beaujeu 1973:171 - 180. The titles of three other Apuleian fragments hint that they might also have been miscellanies or compendia, namely De proverbiis (On Proverbs), De medicinalibus (On Medicines) and De arboribus (On Trees). Barigazzi 1966:194 - 244 records the fragments of Favorinus' works. His 'A7[ouvrmove-u|j.oacx was a collection of anecdotes on various philosophers which seems to have been Gellius' source for a number of his chapters on philosophers (for example, 1.17; 2.18; 3.13). 9  119 antiquity, for example, Stahl offers praise for those "handbooks of the v a r i o u s disciplines of k n o w l e d g e a n d of the technical  artes" w h i c h were p r o d u c e d b y  "competent authorities" to p r o v i d e texts for educational purposes, either for the y o u n g student or the older l a y m a n ; he has n o t h i n g but scorn, however, for those h a n d b o o k s w h i c h were p r o d u c e d b y l a y m e n a n d intended to be "superficial introductions to fields of k n o w l e d g e . "  10  T h e latter substituted original, creative  thinking, particularly i n the fields of science a n d p h i l o s o p h y , w i t h "received o p i n i o n s or . . . theories of esteemed authorities."  11  Stahl puts m u c h of the b l a m e  u p o n the R o m a n s of the late R e p u b l i c a n d early E m p i r e , w h o , he says, a l l o w e d the pressures of politics a n d other p u b l i c or private affairs to prevent t h e m f r o m s t u d y i n g original w o r k s a n d instead fell sway to the perniciousness of " c o m p e n d i o u s learning." Stahl's argument has some validity if one is speaking of a readership of scholars w h o have the desire a n d the means to p u r s u e intellectual activities i n depth, but it does not allow for the average reader, to w h o m this genre m u s t have p r i m a r i l y catered.  12  N . G . W i l s o n argues less vehemently than Stahl that  miscellanies "offered variety without m a k i n g u n d u e d e m a n d s o n the reader's  1 0  Stahl 1964:311.  11  Stahl 1962: 58.  1 2  Primarily but not exclusively. Anderson 1989: 106 - 110 argues that those miscellanies which  were compiled by grammarians or sophists, such as Favorinus, were filled with selections which appealed to their own needs. A s Anderson puts it, they "had an eye on what could be most  120  intelligence, a n d satisfied a need that is n o w met i n other ways, for instance b y novels, biographies, a n d accounts of travel."  13  N o t every educated R o m a n h a d  the time to p o u r over the ever-increasing literary output of the ancient w o r l d , e v e n if he h a d the inclination; a s u m m a r y of ideas, sayings a n d historical events w o u l d have h a d an u n d o u b t e d a p p e a l . or c o m p e n d i u m to the m o d e r n  14  It is easy to l i k e n the ancient miscellany  Reader's Digest, but it is a c o m p a r i s o n that rather  hints at intellectual elitism; a fairer analogy, for some of these w o r k s at least, m i g h t be w i t h a journal s u c h as the  Times Literary Supplement, w h i c h p r o v i d e s  s u m m a r i e s i n the f o r m of reviews of selected publications so that, i n G e l l i u s ' o w n w o r d s , "homines aliis i a m vitae negotiis occupatos a t u r p i certe agrestique r e r u m atque v e r b o r u m imperitia vindicarent" ("it w o u l d save those m e n w h o are already fully o c c u p i e d w i t h the other duties of life f r o m an ignorance of w o r d s a n d things w h i c h is assuredly shameful a n d boorish") (praef. 12).  N o r can the p h y s i c a l inconvenience i n v o l v e d i n r e a d i n g i n antiquity be discounted. Scrolls were an a w k w a r d m e d i u m , r e q u i r i n g two h a n d s for r e a d i n g , a n d b y their nature were not readily c o n d u c i v e to s k i m m i n g for particular detail.  15  T h e practise of taking notes as one read was a c o m m o n one i n antiquity;  easily put to use in a variety of situations," so that one item could serve multiple rhetorical functions (§107). 13 Wilson 1997: 2. 1 4  Holford-Strevens 1988: 21; Dihle 1994: 265.  1 5  Kenney 1982:15 - 16. Compare Valerius Maximus' comment on the intense labour required to  do research in the books of his day (Val. Max., praef.).  121  G e l l i u s was not the only ancient reader to be filling notebooks as he came across subjects of interest (praef.2; 9.4.5; 17.2.27).  16  Miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a ,  especially those w h i c h were organised o n a thematic basis, s u c h as the w o r k s of V a l e r i u s a n d Diogenes Laertius, or w h i c h were s u p p l i e d w i t h a r e a d y table of contents, s u c h as Pliny's  Historia Naturalis or the Noctes Atticae, likely p r o v i d e d  the attraction of ease of use; b r o w s i n g t h r o u g h Diogenes for basic i n f o r m a t i o n o n the life a n d ideas of Aristotle, for example, w o u l d have been m o r e practical a n d convenient than u n r o l l i n g a n d rerolling i n n u m e r a b l e v o l u m e s of Aristotle i n order to acquire the same information. It cannot be denied, however, that although miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a filled a social need they were a s y m p t o m of a general decline i n intellectual vitality i n the R o m a n empire. M a n y compilers concentrated o n p r o d u c i n g o n l y paradoxographies, or collections of m a r v e l l o u s curiosities, whether of h u m a n beings or of the flora a n d fauna of distant places. is just one extant example of this tendency to  17  Aelian's  De Natura Animalium  mirabilia. G e l l i u s names other  authors of paradoxographies—Aristeas of Proconnesus, Isigonus of Nicaea,  " Whiteley 1978:102. 1 7  Beagon 1992: 9 - 1 0 notes an ironic link between the increasing geographical expansion and  exploration of the empire in the first century A D and the growing interest by the R o m a n public in  mirabilia.  122  Ctesias, Onesicritus, Philostephanus a n d Hegesias—whose w o r k s he s t u m b l e d across w h i l e rooting about i n a b o o k s h o p i n B r u n d i s i u m :  Erant autem isti omnes libri Graeci miraculorum fabularumque pleni, res inauditae, incredulae, scriptores veteres non parvae auctoritatis (9.4.3.). N o w , all these books were i n Greek, filled w i t h m a r v e l l o u s tales, things u n h e a r d of, incredible; but the writers were ancient a n d of n o m e a n authority. P a r a d o x o g r a p h y reflected the G r e c o - R o m a n taste i n the fantastical; c o m p a r e the i m p r o b a b l e subject matter of schoolboy  controversial  18  Other compilers, as  G e l l i u s asserts i n his preface (praef. 11), a l t h o u g h perhaps not concerned w i t h the o d d a n d bizarre, filled their books w i t h endless bits of u n c o n n e c t e d a n d indiscriminate information. Isolated a n d useless pieces of i n f o r m a t i o n became increasingly m o r e c o m p e l l i n g than analysis a n d original thought to e v e n the well-educated i n the R o m a n w o r l d .  1 9  It is true that the i n f o r m a t i o n collected i n the  Noctes Atticae b y G e l l i u s can  often appear unconnected, indiscriminate a n d e v e n o n occasion p a r a d o x o g r a p h i c a l . G e l l i u s cannot seem to stop himself, for example, f r o m i n c l u d i n g bizarre bits of information o n occasion, as he admits at 9.4; he is seized w i t h " n o n idoneae scripturae taedium, n i h i l a d o r n a n d u m i u v a n d u m q u e u s u m vitae pertinentis" ("disgust for s u c h worthless writings, w h i c h contribute  18  Marrou 1964: 384.  123  n o t h i n g to the enrichment or profit of life") ( § 1 3 ) , but continues to jot d o w n for his reader the tales of one-legged m e n a n d feathered Indian tribes ( § 9 - 10) w h i c h he has gleaned f r o m various miscellanies.  G e l l i u s gives a b o w to c o n v e n t i o n  w i t h his assertion at the b e g i n n i n g of his preface that his w o r k is structureless a n d the contents r a n d o m l y chosen, but i n reality G e l l i u s has g i v e n real consideration to the material w h i c h he has selected for i n c l u s i o n i n his w o r k . Some of it, the few p a r a d o x i g r a p h i c a l chapters, is meant to entertain; some of it, s u c h as his chapters o n legal processes or grammatical issues, is meant to educate; but m u c h of it is meant to c o n v e y G e l l i u s ' passion for studies a n d inquiry. The  Noctes Atticae opens w i t h a preface, a c o m m o n convention i n G r e e k  a n d L a t i n miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a .  20  T o r e Janson, w h o m a d e a detailed  examination of the preface i n L a t i n prose, characterizes the preface as the v e n u e i n w h i c h the author is able to assume responsibility for his w o r k .  21  T h i s is a n  observation w h i c h applies particularly w e l l to G e l l i u s ' work; despite the fact that the w o r k is a miscellany a n d that, therefore, he is not personally responsible for the authority of its contents, G e l l i u s e m p l o y s his preface to d i s p l a y his intimate  1 9  Williams 1978:190 - 2.  2 0  It must be noted that an unknown amount of the preface of Noctes Atticae is missing. The first  sentence is incomplete and although Rolfe 1954 (xxvii) is probably correct that it is only part of that initial sentence which we lack, we cannot disregard the possibility that we are missing a great deal more of the text. The flow of the narrative supports Rolfe's supposition, but it is also possible that crucial part of the text, such as a dedication, has been lost to us.  124  p e r s o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h the w o r k , a n i n v o l v e m e n t w h i c h w i l l be reinforced i n the  Noctes Atticae b y his frequent, even persistent, use of the first person. Janson  begins his examination of the conventions u s e d i n the late L a t i n prose preface w i t h a consideration of requests a n d dedications, two interlocking literary devices.  22  T h e request—the assertion that the w o r k w h i c h the reader h o l d s i n his  h a n d h a d its genesis i n a request to the author to write, most frequently b y the p e r s o n to w h o m the w o r k is dedicated—was c o m m o n e v e n i n classical times a n d it retained its p o p u l a r i t y amongst authors i n later p e r i o d s .  23  Its function is to  p r o m o t e a b e c o m i n g aura of authorial modesty. It allows the author to a p p e a r to be reluctantly c o m p l y i n g w i t h repeated urgings or e v e n c o m m a n d s to set his w o r k i n front of the general public, thus freeing h i m "from a certain a m o u n t of responsiblity for the w o r k . "  24  G e l l i u s , however, does not e m p l o y either the request or the d e d i c a t i o n i n his preface as he has little desire to distance himself f r o m his w o r k . H i s preface does not give any indication that the  Noctes Atticae has been written or p u b l i s h e d  at the i m p e t u s of anyone but himself. T h e b o o k m a y not be a p r o d u c t of his o w n  Janson 1964:15. Janson 1964:116-124. " Janson 1964:117-18. Janson 1964:124. 21  22  24  125  o r i g i n a l thought, but it is fully his responsibility. H e initially hints at the idea that he is w r i t i n g this w o r k for his children:  . . . ad hoc ut liberis quoque meis partae istiusmodi remissiones essent, quando animus eorum interstitione aliqua negotiorum data laxari indulgerique potuisset (praef.l - 2). . . . i n order that like recreation might be p r o v i d e d for m y children, w h e n they s h o u l d have some respite f r o m business affairs a n d c o u l d u n b e n d a n d divert their m i n d s . But this reference to his c h i l d r e n is brief a n d repeated only once m o r e i n the preface, a n d G e l l i u s does not elaborate u p o n the idea that the b o o k is directed specifically to their educational needs, as does M a c r o b i u s , for example, w h o states i n his preface to the  Saturnalia (Sat. praef. 1 - 2 ) that he is w r i t i n g expressly  for his son. Despite the m e n t i o n of his c h i l d r e n G e l l i u s is not a d d r e s s i n g t h e m but rather the reader, a n d the reader w h o m he has i n m i n d , to w h o m the w o r k is dedicated e v e n if that dedication is not literally expressed, is the educated m a n of affairs w h o still retains a strong interest i n intellectual life, or, as G e l l i u s characterises it, "in lectitando, percontando, scribendo, c o m m e n t a n d o " ("in reading, i n q u i r i n g , w r i t i n g a n d taking notes") (praef.19).  25  G e l l i u s does not  denigrate the life of the b u s y m a n . H e mentions not only his children's b u s y lives b u t his o w n as well; he clearly has s y m p a t h y for "homines aliis i a m vitae negotiis occupatos" ("those fully o c c u p i e d w i t h the other duties of life")  25  Vessey 1994:1902.  126  (praef.12). B u t he believes that there is more to life than the affairs of business or politics, a fact w h i c h he underscores b y referring to them as the "aliis . . . vitae negotiis": they are the "other," not the only, element of the business of life. In part it is the needs of these m e n w h i c h has caused h i m to p u b l i s h his w o r k ; he wishes to save them f r o m shameful ignorance, even if they have not o p e n l y requested his assistance. G e l l i u s e m p l o y s other prefatory conventions w h i c h Janson argues are d e s i g n e d to assist i n p o r t r a y i n g authorial modesty: the use of the a p o l o g y for deficiencies i n k n o w l e d g e or style;  26  the use of particular d i m i n u t i v e s ,  particularly those w i t h -uncula formations, w h i c h Janson states are frequently to be f o u n d i n other miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a of the second a n d t h i r d centuries;  27  a n d the reference to lucubrations, or noctornal studies, w h i c h are "a  c o m m o n w a y of e m p h a s i z i n g diligence" o n the part of the a u t h o r .  28  T h e a p o l o g y for lack of style is e m p l o y e d b y G e l l i u s not o n l y as a conventional expression of modesty but also as a means of d i s t i n g u i s h i n g his w o r k f r o m that of other miscellanists. A s demonstrated earlier i n this chapter, G e l l i u s emulates the preface of the elder P l i n y b y citing the titles of other miscellanies; for b o t h writers it is an attempt b o t h to i n c l u d e their w o r k s w i t h i n  26 27 28  Janson 1964:124 - 133. Janson 1964:146. Janson 1964:147 - 8.  127  the miscellany tradition a n d to distinguish their books f r o m other miscellaneous w o r k s . There are, however, some differences between the t w o authors. P l i n y carefully distinguishes what he sees as the shallow G r e e k writers f r o m the "nostri graviores" (our m o r e serious L a t i n authors), such as himself: " A t c u m intraveris, d i deaeque, q u a m n i h i l i n m e d i o invenies!" ("But w h e n y o u get inside [those G r e e k miscellanies], g o o d heavens, what a v o i d y o u w i l l find b e t w e e n the covers!") (HN praef.24). G e l l i u s also slights the G r e e k authors of miscellanies (praef. 11), but he makes it clear that he sees little m o r e merit i n the L a t i n miscellanies w h i c h he names than i n their G r e e k counterparts. H e l u m p s their titles together a n d notes that their titles reflect their contents:  Nam quia variam et miscellam et quasi confusaneam doctrinam conquisiverant, eo titulos quoque ad earn sententiam exquisitissimos indiderunt (praef. 5). F o r since they [that is, other authors] h a d so laboriously gathered v a r i e d , m a n i f o l d , a n d as it were indiscriminate learning, they therefore invented ingenious titles also, to c o r r e s p o n d w i t h that idea.  In contrast to authors whose fanciful titles for their w o r k s fail to reflect the lack  of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n of their contents, G e l l i u s feigns to cloak his w o r k i n a title as  modest as its literary style:  Nos vero, ut captus noster erat, incuriose et inmeditate ac prope etiam subrustice ex ipso loco ac tempore hibernarum vigiliarum Atticas N o c t e s inscripsimus, tantum ceteris omnibus in ipsius quoque inscriptionis laude cedentes, quantum cessimus in cura et elegantia scriptionis (praef. 10).  128  But I, bearing i n m i n d m y limitations, gave m y w o r k off-hand, w i t h o u t premeditation, a n d i n d e e d almost i n rustic fashion, the caption of Attic Nights, d e r i v e d merely f r o m the time a n d place of m y winter's vigils; I thus fall as far short of all other writers i n the dignity too e v e n of m y title, as I d o i n care a n d i n elegance of style. But G e l l i u s ' assertion of his lack of elegance of style is patently u n c o n v i n c i n g ; his style is i n fact careful a n d graceful; A u g u s t i n e called h i m "vir elegantissimi eloquii" ("a writer of polished elegance") (Civ. Dei 9.4).  29  T h e reader is left to  u n d e r s t a n d that the title is an u n a s s u m i n g veneer w h i c h belies the true w o r t h of the b o o k itself: the title m a y not be as elegant or contrived as that of other miscellanies, but conversely the contents w i l l not be an indiscriminate assortment of information. U n l i k e P l i n y (HN praef. 5,12 - 13), w h o writes at some length about his modest literary talent in c o m p a r i s o n to that of Titus, to w h o m his w o r k is dedicated, G e l l i u s mentions but does not belabour his literary deficiencies. well, his use of d i m i n u t i v e s such as studies") (praef. 14) a n d  As  lucubratiunculas ("insignificant n o c t u r n a l  delectatiunculas ("minor entertainments") (praef. 23) to  refer to his w o r k are small nods to the convention of modesty but n o t h i n g more.  30  G e l l i u s does, however, use the topos of lucubrations to its full  advantage, most notably i n the title of his w o r k . O t h e r authors of c o m p i l a t i o n s  2 9  Translation Bettenson 1972.  129  generally allow their titles to d r a w attention to the m u l t i p l i c i t y of their contents,  but, as A m i e l V a r d i demonstrates, G e l l i u s is u n u s u a l i n creating a title w h i c h is  seemingly "based o n the circumstances of c o m p o s i t i o n rather than o n the content  of the w o r k . "  31  G e l l i u s is not the o n l y author to refer to m i d n i g h t toil, of c o u r s e .  32  P l i n y the E l d e r uses lucubrations to e m p h a s i z e for the e m p e r o r his i n d u s t r y i n  a m a s s i n g his material:  Subsicivisque temporibus ista curamus, id est nocturnis, ne quis vestrum putet his cessatum horis. . . (praef.18). W e p u r s u e this sort of interest i n our spare moments, that is at night — lest any of y o u r house s h o u l d think that the night h o u r s have been g i v e n to idleness . . .  But G e l l i u s ' careful allusion to his m i d n i g h t studies is not meant just as a s y m b o l  of diligence, of the author l a b o u r i n g a w a y for the benefit of the potential reader.  It is also d e s i g n e d to emphasize G e l l i u s ' o w n b u r n i n g desire for the p u r s u i t of  his studies a n d inquiries, as w e l l as to p u t f o r w a r d an e x e m p l u m of the earnest  scholar for his r e a d e r .  33  G e l l i u s asserts that he has taken to heart Heracleitus' d i c t u m that  "rco?iDua0ir| voov ou 8i8ao"K£i" ("polymathy does not m a k e a scholar") (praef. 12),  a n d that, t h o u g h he has assiduously read all m a n n e r of texts d u r i n g his l i m i t e d  3 0  Translations mine.  3 1  V a r d i 1993: 298.  3 2  Compare, for example, Cato (Agr.37.3),  (Instit.10.3.27)  and Suetonius (CaZ.53.2).  Cicero (Nat. deor.1.94), Columella (11.2.12), Quintilian  130  leisure time, he has not attempted to imitate the compilers of other miscellanies b y i n c l u d i n g every bit of information w h i c h he has come across. H e does not m e n t i o n any particular c o m p i l e r b y name, but he clearly wishes to place himself i n stark contrast to writers such as the elder Pliny, w h o p r o u d l y boasts i n his preface that he has read " v o l u m i n u m circiter d u o r u m m i l i u m " ("about two t h o u s a n d volumes") i n order to abstract the 20,000 facts contained i n his thirtysix b o o k s (HN Praef. 17). G e l l i u s frequently decries p o l y m a t h y . H e describes, for example, his horrified reaction u p o n reading a friend's miscellany, i n w h i c h n o attempt h a d apparently been m a d e to discriminate between useful i n f o r m a t i o n a n d the merely marvellous:  Accipio cupidus et libens, tamquam si copiae cornum nactus essem, et recondo me penitus, ut sine arbitris legam. At quae ibi scripta erant, pro Iuppiter, mera miraculal. . . Quern cum statim properans redderem: " 'Ovaid aov," inquam, "doctissime virorum, tavrng rfjg noXviiaOiag et librum hunc opulentissimum recipe, nil prosus ad nostras paupertinas litteras congruentem (14.6.2 - 3, 5)." I took the b o o k eagerly a n d gladly, as if I h a d got possession of the h o r n of plenty, a n d shut myself u p i n order to read it w i t h o u t interruption. But what was written there was, b y Jove! m e r e l y a list of curiosities.. . . H a s t e n i n g to return it to h i m at once, I said: "I congratulate y o u , most learned sir, o n this d i s p l a y of encyclopaedic erudition; but take back this precious v o l u m e w h i c h does not have the slightest connection w i t h m y h u m b l e writings."  3 3  V a r d i 1993: 300 also argues that the reference to Attica "might well have been meant to suggest  sophistication and variety," as well as to underscore Gellius' Athenian education.  131  T h e r e is scholarly speculation that this u n n a m e d c o m p i l e r m i g h t be F a v o r i n u s and, a l t h o u g h G e l l i u s does not describe F a v o r i n u s as such, there is an unmistakeable aura of the p o l y m a t h about h i m w h i c h is evident i n the Atticae.  34  Noctes  T h e S u d a entry for F a v o r i n u s describes h i m as "avfip rco^upaGric; Koaa  rtcxoav ncxi8eiav" ("a m a n learned i n every b r a n c h of study").  35  Gellius displays a  certain a m o u n t of a m b i g u i t y in his attitude towards p o l y m a t h y . O n at least one occasion he does write a p p r o v i n g l y of the formidable p o l y m a t h i c l e a r n i n g of Varro and Publius Nigidius:  Aetas M. Ciceronis et C. Caesaris praestanti facundia paucos habuit, doctrinarum autem multiformium variarumque artium quibus humanitas erudita est columina habuit M. Varronem et P. Nigidium (19.14.1). T h e time of M a r c u s Cicero a n d G a i u s Caesar h a d few m e n of surpassing eloquence, but i n encyclopaedic learning a n d i n the v a r i e d sciences b y w h i c h h u m a n i t y is enobled it possesses two towering figures i n M a r c u s V a r r o a n d P u b l i u s N i g i d i u s . But earlier i n the  Noctes Atticae he also gently castigates V a r r o for the latter's  p o l y m a t h i c tendencies. H e reports, at s o m e length a n d w i t h interest, V a r r o ' s discourse o n the n u m b e r seven, but at the e n d of the chapter he adds:  Haec Varro de numero septenario scripsit admodum conquisite. Sed alia quoque ibidem congerit frigidiuscula: veluti septem opera esse in orbe terrae miranda et sapientes item veteres septem fuisse et curricula  3 4  See Holford-Strevens 1988: 82 - 83 for the argument put forward by Nietzche, amongst others,  that the book mentioned in 14.6 was proffered by Favorinus and that it was perhaps his navTo5a7tfi io-copia (Universal History). 3 5  Barigazzi 1966: 89. Translation Heath 1999.  132  ludorum circensium sollemnia septem esse et ad oppugnandas Thebas duces septem delectos (3.10.16). These remarks of V a r r o about the n u m b e r seven s h o w painstaking investigation. But he has also brought together i n the same place others w h i c h are rather trifling: for example, that there are seven w o n d e r f u l w o r k s i n the w o r l d , that the sages of o l d were seven, that the usual n u m b e r of r o u n d s i n the races i n the circus is seven, a n d that seven c h a m p i o n s were chosen to attack Thebes. G e l l i u s ' citation of Heracleitus indicates that prejudice against p o l y m a t h y existed a m o n g some early G r e e k intellectuals, b u t there h a d been a g r a d u a l historical trend towards it a n d away f r o m specialisation. P o l y m a t h s were c o m m o n a m o n g the Pythagoreans, a n d it was Pythagoras' followers w h o w e r e responsible for p r o m o t i n g the "broad general c u r r i c u l u m " for their students, a c u r r i c u l u m w h i c h eventually e v o l v e d into the  humanitas of the R o m a n w o r l d a n d  ultimately into the t r i v i u m (grammar, rhetoric a n d logic) a n d q u a d r i v i u m (arithmetic, geography, astronomy a n d music) of the m e d i a e v a l w o r l d .  3 6  It was  the sophists w h o p r o m o t e d the concept of the p o l y m a t h , but e v e n Plato acknowledges that a potential leader of the state requires a b r o a d s p e c t r u m of intellectual t r a i n i n g .  37  Plato identifies m u s i c (which e n c o m p a s s e d poetry a n d  other literature), arithmetic, geometry, stereometry a n d astronomy (R. 2. 376E; 7. 521C). B o t h Aristotle a n d V a r r o exemplified the p o l y m a t h ; each t u r n e d his m i n d  3 6  Stahl 1962: 9.  3 7  M a r r o u 1964: 87; Stahl 1962: 21.  133  to the study of a n u m b e r of fields of k n o w l e d g e a n d gave a d d e d i m p e t u s to the c o n t i n u e d rise of p o l y m a t h y a n d the decline of specialisation d u r i n g the Hellenistic a n d late R e p u b l i c a n periods. G e l l i u s makes clear his aversion to p o l y m a t h y , but is his distaste not something of a contradiction i n a miscellanist? T h e  Noctes Atticae, after all,  contains selections covering a w i d e spectrum of knowledge: religious a n d legal information, textual criticism, p h i l o s o p h y , m e d i c a l matters, music, natural history, g r a m m a r , history a n d literary criticism, amongst m a n y others. H o w can G e l l i u s s h u d d e r at the w i d e learning of others w h e n he himself has written a b o o k w h i c h is essentially p o l y m a t h i c i n nature? H o w can he extol the w o r t h of the liberal arts w h i l e scorning p o l y m a t h y ? T h e answer partly lies i n G e l l i u s ' definition of p o l y m a t h y . H i s reaction to his u n n a m e d friend's h o d g e - p o d g e collection of facts a n d to V a r r o ' s p i l i n g o n of details concerning the n u m b e r seven indicates that it is not so m u c h the learning as the lack of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n w h i c h offends G e l l i u s ' sensibilities.  Gellius, after all, prides himself o n his  careful selection of material. T h e rest of the answer, however, lies i n G e l l i u s ' p u r p o s e i n w r i t i n g the  Noctes Atticae.  Miscellanies, c o m p e n d i a a n d h a n d b o o k s have a basically didactic character; they are written to educate the reader i n one or m o r e fields of knowledge.  P l i n y is an encyclopaedist w h o attempts to b r i n g every n o t e w o r t h y  134  fact w i t h i n the confines of his w o r k , but he is the exception a m o n g s u r v i v i n g examples of the genre. O t h e r authors of miscellanies a n d c o m p e n d i a e m p h a s i z e that they have i n c l u d e d only selections of the available material for the benefit of the reader; brevity as w e l l as ease of reference are cited as virtues of their texts.  38  V a l e r i u s M a x i m u s , for example, informs the reader i n his short preface to Facta et  Dicta Memorabilia that: Urbis Romae exterarumque gentium facta simul act dicta memoratu digna, quae apud alios latius diffusa sunt quam ut breviter cognosci possint, ab illustibus electa auctoribus digerere constitui, ut documenta sumere volentibus longae inquisitionis labor absit. Nec mihi cuncta complectendi cupido incessit. I have determined to select f r o m famous authors a n d arrange the deeds a n d sayings w o r t h y of m e m o r i a l of the R o m a n C i t y a n d external nations, too w i d e l y scattered i n other sources to be briefly discovered, to the e n d that those w i s h i n g to take examples m a y be spared the labour of lengthy search. N o r a m I seized w i t h a m b i t i o n to be a l l - e m b r a c i n g .  In his preface to the  39  Saturnalia M a c r o b i u s emphasizes the practicality of his  miscellany; he tells his son that, h a v i n g the latter's education as his chief regard, he does not w i s h to wait for h i m to reach an age of intellectual discernment but wishes to p r o v i d e h i m n o w w i t h the k n o w l e d g e that has come f r o m his o w n  3 8  See Janson 1964: 96 on the topos of brevity. H o w careful a selection of material was made by  the compilers of compendia and miscellanies is debatable. 3 9  Translation Shackleton Bailey 2000.  135  extensive r e a d i n g i n a n u m b e r of different G r e e k a n d L a t i n texts. H i s son w i l l be  able one d a y to use the  Saturnalia as a ready reference:  Et quasi de quodam litterarum peno, siquando usus venerit aut historiae quae in librorum strue latens clam vulgo est, aut died/active memorabilis reminiscendi, facile id tibi inventu atque depromptu sit (praef. 2). A n d if ever y o u have occasion to call to m i n d some historical fact, b u r i e d i n a mass of books a n d generally u n k n o w n , or some m e m o r a b l e w o r d or deed, it w i l l be easy for y o u to find it a n d p r o d u c e it, as it were, f r o m a literary storehouse.  40  G e l l i u s also speaks of the "celeri facilique c o m p e n d i o " ("quick a n d easy short-cut") (praef. 12) w h i c h his w o r k w i l l p r o v i d e the reader a n d likewise e m p l o y s the metaphor of the miscellany as a literary storehouse:  Nam proinde ut librum quemque in manus ceperam seu Graecum seu Latinum vel quid memoratu dignum audieram, ita quae libitum erat, cuius generis cumque erant, indistincte atque promisee annotabam eaque mihi ad subsidium memoriae quasi quoddam litterarum penus recondebam, ut quando usus venisset aut rei aut verbi, cuius me repens forte oblivio tenuisset, et libri ex quibus ea sumpseram non adessent, facile inde nobis inventu atque depromptu foret (praef. 2). F o r w h e n e v e r I h a d taken i n h a n d any G r e e k or L a t i n book, or h a d h e a r d anything w o r t h remembering, I u s e d to jot d o w n whatever took m y fancy, of any a n d every k i n d , w i t h o u t any definite p l a n or order; a n d such notes I w o u l d lay a w a y as a n aid to m y m e m o r y , like a k i n d of literary storehouse, so that w h e n the n e e d arose of a w o r d or a subject w h i c h I chanced for the m o m e n t to have forgotten, a n d the books f r o m w h i c h I h a d taken it were not at h a n d , I c o u l d readily find a n d p r o d u c e it.  4 0  Translation Davies 1969.  136  But G e l l i u s continues to distinguish his miscellany f r o m that of other authors. H e chastizes those compilers w h o "sine cura discriminis solam c o p i a m sectati converrebant" ("with no effort to discriminate, swept together whatever they f o u n d , a i m i n g at mere quantity") (praef. 11), instead of m a k i n g careful selections related to a specific purpose, as he himself has d o n e .  41  A t 17.21 he recounts his  shock at h e a r i n g a m a n of some education make a glaring historical error i n a p u b l i c speech; this event, he says, acted as a s p u r to put together a brief history of the G r e c o - R o m a n w o r l d for his reader so that similar gaffes m i g h t be a v o i d e d , b u t G e l l i u s stresses that he is only intending to p r o v i d e a bare sketch, not a detailed history:  Neque enim id nobis negotium fuit, ut acri atque subtili cura excellentium in utraque gente hominum crvyxpovia/uovg componeremus, sed ut Noctes istae quadamtenus his quoque historiae flosculis leviter iniectis aspergerentur (§1). For it was not m y e n d e a v o u r w i t h keen a n d subtle care to c o m p i l e a catalogue of the eminent m e n of both nations w h o l i v e d at the same time, but merely to strew these  Nights of m i n e lightly here  a n d there w i t h a few of these flowers of history. G e l l i u s indicates in his preface that he has a three-fold p u r p o s e i n w r i t i n g  the  Noctes Atticae: he wants to furnish mental entertainment for those w h o n e e d  to divert their m i n d s f r o m business (praef. 1); he wishes to p r o v i d e access to  those ideas w h i c h e v e n a b u s y m a n needs to k n o w if he is to a v o i d a p p e a r i n g  4 1  Gellius takes Pliny to task, for example, for including in his text many patently false and foolish  137  shamefully ignorant (praef. 12); a n d he hopes to stimulate "ingenia p r o m p t a expeditaque a d honestae eruditionis c u p i d i n e m u t i l i u m q u e artium contemplationem" ("active a n d alert m i n d s to a desire for i n d e p e n d e n t learning a n d to the study of the useful arts") (praef. 12). A l l three purposes are met i n the  Noctes Atticae, but an examination of the w o r k indicates that it is the latter one w h i c h stands out as Gellius' p r i m a r y focus i n p u b l i s h i n g his w o r k . G e l l i u s tells his reader that he has i n c l u d e d i n his notes "pauca q u a e d a m s c r u p u l o s a et anxia" ("a few topics that are knotty a n d troublesome") (praef. 13), but he urges the reader not to skip them o n that account:  Non enimfecimus altos nimis et obscuros in his rebus quaestionum sinus, sed primitias quasdam et quasi libamenta ingenuarum artium dedimus. . . F o r I have not m a d e an excessively deep a n d obscure investigation of the intricacies of these questions, but I h a v e presented the first fruits, so to say, a n d a k i n d of foretaste of the liberal arts. A little further o n i n his preface he reiterates that he has chosen specific passages o n m o r e obscure subjects w i t h the intention of a w a k e n i n g the reader's interest i n further study:  ... petimus, inquam, ut ea non docendi magis quam admonendi gratia scripta existiment et, quasi demonstratione vestigiorum contenti, persequantur ea post, si libebit, vel libris repertis vel magistris (praef. 17).  mirabilia  which he has attributed to a text by Democritus (10.12.6).  138  . . . I beg once again that m y readers m a y consider [the m o r e obscure topics] written, not so m u c h to instruct, as to give a hint, a n d that content w i t h m y , so to speak, p o i n t i n g out of the path, they m a y afterwards follow u p those subjects, if they so desire, w i t h the aid either of books or of teachers.  G e l l i u s clearly sees his w o r k as one w h i c h w i l l not sate but whet the appetite of the reader. T h e  Noctes Atticae is not meant to be a definitive reference w o r k for  the reader, but is designed instead to offer its reader a glimpse of the potential riches to be f o u n d i n intellectual pursuit. H e states that the i n f o r m a t i o n w h i c h he p r o v i d e s i n his w o r k is the bare m i n i m u m w h i c h a m a n of e v e n o r d i n a r y education needs to function i n society a n d that is his h o p e that, whether the i n f o r m a t i o n he p r o v i d e s be c o m m o n p l a c e or novel, it w i l l have the p o w e r to stimulate either the m i n d or, better, the desire to study further. P l i n y m a y modestly jest i n his preface to the  Historia Naturalis that his  w o r k " h u m i l i v u l g o scripta sunt, agricolarum, o p i f i c i u m turbae, d e n i q u e s t u d i o r u m otiosis" ("was written for the c o m m o n h e r d , the m o b of farmers a n d of artizans, a n d after them for students w h o have n o t h i n g else to o c c u p y their time") (HN praef. 6 ) , but s u c h joking is not for Gellius. H i s i n t e n d e d audience is  the mature R o m a n w h o still takes delight i n studies, e v e n if s u c h studies m u s t be  u n d e r t a k e n d u r i n g the hours stolen f r o m the other m u n d a n e activities of life.  139  G e l l i u s advises his reader that the w o r k w h i c h he h o l d s i n his h a n d is useless to those w h o take n o pleasure i n intellectual pursuits:  Erit autem id longe optimum, ut qui in lectitando, percontando, scribendo, commentando, numquam voluptates, numquam labores ceperunt, nullas hoc genus vigilias vigilarunt neque ullis inter eiusdem Musae aemulos certationibus desceptationibusque elimati sunt, sed intemperiarum negotiorumque pleni sunt, abeant a "Noctibus" his procul, atque alia sibi oblectamenta quaerant (praef. 19). For those, however, w h o have never f o u n d pleasure n o r b u s i e d themselves i n reading, i n q u i r i n g , w r i t i n g a n d taking notes, w h o have never spent w a k e f u l nights i n such e m p l o y m e n t , w h o h a v e never i m p r o v e d themselves b y discussion a n d debate w i t h r i v a l followers of the same M u s e , but are absorbed i n the t u r m o i l of business affairs—for such m e n it w i l l be b y far the best p l a n to h o l d w h o l l y aloof f r o m these "Nights" a n d seek for themselves other diversion. T h i s passage clearly demonstrates that t h o u g h G e l l i u s m a y state that he is as equally concerned to entertain a n d to educate his reader, i n truth those goals are secondary to his desire to foster the love of intellectual pursuits. T h e  Noctes  Atticae is not meant to be an all-embracing collection of discrete facts, w h i c h is w h y G e l l i u s can scorn the p o l y m a t h i c a p p r o a c h of V a r r o , P l i n y a n d his learned friend w i t h his miscellany. It is, instead, Gellius' intention i n w r i t i n g the  Noctes  Atticae to p r o v i d e his reader w i t h a m o d e l of intellectual i n q u i r y .  T h a t this is Gellius' intention can be further s h o w n b y e x a m i n i n g the text of the  Noctes Atticae. It is not p r i m a r i l y the subject matter of each chapter w h i c h  G e l l i u s uses to illustrate the concept of intellectual i n q u i r y as the choices he  140  makes i n presenting his material. T h e first chapter of virtually every book, for example, w h i c h w o u l d be a logical starting place for even a casual browser, is reserved for a scholar of note in Gellius' eyes: Plutarch opens B o o k 1; Socrates, B o o k 2; Sallust, B o o k 3; the Stoic philosophers M u s o n i u s a n d C h r y s i p p u s , Books 5 a n d 16, a n d B o o k 7, respectively; the annalist Q u i n t u s C l a u d i u s Q u a d r i g a r i u s , B o o k 9 a n d 15; Cicero, Books 10,13 a n d 17; T i m a e u s a n d V a r r o , B o o k 11; a n d F a v o r i n u s is g i v e n the h o n o u r of o p e n i n g Books 4 , 1 2 , 1 4 , 1 8 a n d 20.  42  Through  the i n t r o d u c t i o n of these scholars i n the o p e n i n g chapter of these b o o k s G e l l i u s strives to set a certain intellectual tone for the r e m a i n i n g chapters. A s the reader moves through each b o o k of the Noctes Atticae he finds that, w h i l e the content of each chapter varies, the theme of the i n q u i r i n g m i n d is consistently repeated. If, for example, B o o k 1 were p i c k e d u p for perusing, the reader w o u l d find that Pythagoras is said to have i n q u i r e d into the size a n d stature of H e r c u l e s (1.1.1); Epictetus is quoted as asking a student, "Be(3aadviKa<;  ox>\ xi ax>x&\ Kai 86YU.CX aavrot) 7tejt:oiriaai;" ("Have y o u then investigated any of these matters a n d f o r m e d an o p i n i o n of y o u r own?") (1.2.10); C h i l o , the L a c e d a e m o n i a n sage, a n d students of p h i l o s o p h y after h i m , "satis inquisite  4 2  Holford-Strevens 1988: 26 - 7. O n l y Books 6 and 19 do not begin with the words or ideas of a  noted scholar. The former begins with some details of the life of that worthy Roman the elder Scipio, who was not a scholar but was, in Gellius' eyes, a Roman worth emulating (he appears a number of times in the Noctes Atticae), while Book 19 opens with an anecdote concerning an unnamed Stoic philosopher who is caught in a storm at sea and to w h o m Gellius addresses an inquiry as to the nature of his philosophic beliefs.  141  satisque sollicite quaesiverunt" ("inquired v e r y carefully a n d v e r y anxiously") into the question as to whether friendship or the law ought to come first (1.3.8); the reader learns that the students of Pythagoras spent at least t w o years as silent auditors, after w h i c h they learned the art of keen i n q u i r y (1.9.4 - 7); p h i l o s o p h e r s debate the question as to the p r o p e r response to an order if that order is s o m e h o w flawed (1.13); G e l l i u s writes that "an autem 'superesse' dixerint veteres p r o 'restare et perficiendae rei deesse,' quaerebamus" ("I also often u s e d to raise the question whether the ancients u s e d  superesse i n the sense of 'to be left  a n d be l a c k i n g for the completion of an act'") (1.22.14), a n d again that " ' i n d u t i a r u m ' autem v o c a b u l u m q u a sit ratione factum, i a m d i u est, c u m quaerimus" ("I have for a l o n g time been i n q u i r i n g into the d e r i v a t i o n of  indutiae") (1.25.12); a n d T a u r u s answers Gellius' question as to whether a wise m a n ever gets angry (1.26.1). T h i s same pattern of intellectual investigation a n d i n q u i r y recurs i n every b o o k of the  Noctes Atticae: Gellius inquires w h y the particle re has a particular  grammatical force (2.19.3); Demosthenes turns aside f r o m his p a t h to investigate whether the p o w e r of Callistratus' oratory justifies its fame (3.13.4); the jurists of o l d i n q u i r e d into the m e a n i n g of "diseased" as it applies to a slave (4.2.2); the question is asked whether  soloecismus (solecism) was u s e d b y Attic speakers  (5.20.3); G e l l i u s asks a g r a m m a r i a n , "non hercle e x p e r i u n d i v e l t e m p t a n d i gratia,  142  sed d i s c e n d i magis studio et c u p i d i n e " ("not i n d e e d for the sake of t r y i n g or testing h i m , but rather f r o m an eager desire for knowledge"), the m e a n i n g , o r i g i n a n d history of the w o r d  obnoxius (obliged) (6.17.1); G e l l i u s inquires into the  reason w h y the A v e n t i n e hill is outside the  pomerium (city limits) of R o m e  (13.14.4); a n d o n it goes throughout the pages of G e l l i u s ' book: research, investigation, questions a n d inquiry. Indeed, m u c h of G e l l i u s ' p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h w o r d s a n d language is concomitant w i t h his i n q u i r i n g nature. W o r d s m u s t be sought out; questions must be asked about them; research m u s t be d o n e into them. G r a m m a r i a n s ' rules m a y be formulated without recourse to research; the  auctoritas of early writers, however, can only be established b y research a n d inquiry. G e l l i u s ' diction reinforces the concept of intellectual curiosity. U n l i k e the w o r k s of other compilers such as Pliny, V a l e r i u s M a x i m u s or M a c r o b i u s , interrogative verbs a b o u n d i n G e l l i u s ' writing; forms of  percontor, dissero, requiro,  interrogo, inspicio, rogo, exploro, comperio, considero a n d inquiro appear repeatedly, t h o u g h he most frequently uses the s i m p l e quaero, w h i c h is e m p l o y e d i n s o m e f o r m a p p r o x i m a t e l y fifty times, most notably i n the phrase "quaeri solet" ("it is often asked"). G e l l i u s writes that "quaeri solet", for example, w h y the legal term  divinatio (selection of a prosecutor) is u s e d (2.4.2); whether a father s h o u l d always be obeyed b y his children (2.7.1); w h i c h d a y is the b i r t h d a y for those b o r n  143  after m i d n i g h t (3.2.1); w h o the m i n o r magistrates are (13.15.2), what the d e r i v a t i o n of  vestibulum (vestibule) is (16.5.4), what succidanae (additional  sacrificial victims) means (4.6.3), or if there is a religious reason for c o n s i d e r i n g the K a l e n d s , N o n e s a n d Ides ill-omened (5.17.4). W e have n o w a y of ascertaining, of course, h o w often these questions were geniunely p o s e d i n G e l l i u s ' day, but it is G e l l i u s ' diction that is important here, not his veracity. H e is u s i n g language to create an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity. G e l l i u s often e m p l o y s w o r d s i n the l e m m a t a w h i c h further suggest a state of i n q u i r y . H e uses phrases s u c h as "penitus reperta" ("close examination") (2.12.L), "inquisitio . . . curiosior" ("a somewhat careful inquiry") (13.1.L) o r "quaesitum atque tractatum" ("it is asked a n d discussed") (3.1.L, 13.25.L, 20.6.L). V e r y frequently G e l l i u s chooses an interrogative over a simple statement for the l e m m a : "qualis quantaque sit pro particulae varietas" ("what k i n d a n d h o w m u c h variety is i n the particle pro") (11.3.L) rather than "de pro particula" ("about the particle  pro"); "quis fuerit Papirius Praetextatus" ("who P a p i r i u s  Praetextatus was") (1.23.L) instead of "historia de Papirio" ("the story of Papirius"); or "quern i n m o d u m responderit C h r y s i p p u s " ("how C h r y s i p p u s replied") (7.1.L) rather than "responsum C h r y s i p p i " ( " C h r y s i p p u s ' reply").  It is not just language, however, w h i c h G e l l i u s uses to reinforce the concept of inquiry; he also e m p l o y s anecdotes w h i c h i n v o l v e inquiries a n d  144  questions. S o m e of these questions are directed at his teachers b y either G e l l i u s or a fellow-student: T a u r u s , for example, responds to a student's question o n Stoicism at 12.5, as w e l l as to Gellius' q u e r y about anger (1.26), w h i l e S u l p i c i u s A p o l l i n a r i s answers Gellius' g r a m m a t i c a l i n q u i r y (20.6). B u t G e l l i u s also includes anecdotes f r o m outside the confines of the classroom. H e recounts that Servius Sulpicius is said to have written a letter to V a r r o i n order to investigate a term u s e d i n the censorship records (2.10.1), that F a v o r i n u s asked fellow scholars for the definition or proper use of penus (stores) (4.1.4), a n d that Fronto sought out the meanings of  pumilio (dwarf) (19.13.2) a n d praeterpropter (more or less)  (19.10.5). G e l l i u s is not content to to be just a reporter, but instead time a n d again involves himself as an active participant i n the process of i n q u i r y outside the classroom. Gellius asks a friend w h o has studied civil law, for example, to explain the w o r d  proletarius to a c o m p a n y of his peers (16.10.3), a n d he r e s p o n d s  to a friend w h o asked w h y he u s e d  tertium rather than tertio i n a recent letter  (10.1.3); T a u r u s a n d his students, Gellius a m o n g them, fill i n a hiatus at d i n n e r b y c o n s i d e r i n g w h y oil congeals easily a n d often, but w i n e rarely (17.8.8); G e l l i u s is amongst the d i n n e r guests of the poet A n n i a n u s w h e n the host is q u i z z e d about the effects of the w a n i n g m o o n (20.8); a n d G e l l i u s a n d a friend, h a p p e n i n g u p o n a n ancient edict o n the clearing of river nets, inquire into its probable m e a n i n g (11.17.3).  145  T h r o u g h o u t the  Noctes Atticae G e l l i u s makes a point of h i g h l i g h t i n g his  o w n research skills a n d intellectual curiosity. H e searches for answers as to questions as v a r i e d as the derivation of  indutiae (truces) (1.25.12 - 13), the length  of h u m a n gestation (3.16.12), a n d "an quaestor p o p u l i R o m a n i a praetore i n ius v o c a r i posset" ("whether a quaestor of the R o m a n people c o u l d be cited b y a praetor") (13.13.1); he consults Aristotle to see whether he can resolve a dispute between H o m e r a n d H e r o d o t u s o n the nature of lions (13.7.6); or he searches the w o r k s of C i c e r o i n order to p r o v i d e F a v o r i n u s w i t h examples of the uses of  contio  (public assembly) (13.7.8). G e l l i u s frequently visits the p u b l i c libraries, b o t h at R o m e a n d i n other cities of the empire, i n his researches, h u n t i n g u p a c o p y of a m a n u s c r i p t of C l a u d i u s at the library at T i b u r (9.14.3), for example, or the  Commentarium De Proloquiis (Commentary on Proloquia) b y L u c i u s A e l i u s in the library of the T e m p l e of Peace at R o m e (16.8.2), or settling a dispute o n diction t h r o u g h consultation of a manuscript, "verae vetustatis" ("of u n d o u b t e d antiquity"), of L i v i u s A n d r o n i c u s in the library at Patrae (18.4.5). G e l l i u s also haunts booksellers w i t h an eye to scholarly finds (5.4.1; 9.4.1; 13.31.1). G e l l i u s fashions himself as the e x e m p l u m of the i n q u i r i n g amateur scholar a n d he urges the reader to follow his example i n the pursuit of his o w n p e r s o n a l inquiries. T h e reader is p r o v i d e d not only w i t h G e l l i u s ' o w n example to f o l l o w i n a general w a y but is e v e n g i v e n hints as to h o w to proceed w i t h research.  146  After a discussion concerning T u l l i u s Tiro's criticism of a speech m a d e by-  M a r c u s Cato, for example, Gellius advises the reader:  Commodius autem rectiusque de his meis verbis, quibus Tullio Tironi respondimus, existimabit iudiciumque faciet, qui et orationem ipsam totam Catonis acceperit in manus et epistulam Tironis ad Axium scriptam requirere et legere curaverit. Ita enim nos sincerius exploratiusque vel corrigere poterit vel probare (6.3.55). But one w i l l f o r m a juster a n d m o r e c a n d i d o p i n i o n of these w o r d s of mine, spoken i n reply to T u l l i u s T i r o , a n d judge accordingly, if one w i l l take i n h a n d Cato's o w n speech i n its entirety, a n d w i l l also take the trouble to look u p a n d read the letter of T i r o to A x i u s . F o r then he w i l l be able either to correct or c o n f i r m what I have said m o r e truthfully a n d after fuller examination.  T h o s e w h o desire examples of the ancient use of  levitas (inconstancy) a n d nequitia  (worthlessness) are directed to examine Cicero's oration against A n t o n y (6.11.3), w h i l e those w h o p u z z l e over a certain e n i g m a are a d v i s e d to look for the answer i n V a r r o (12.6.3). Gellius p r o v i d e s a suitable quote f r o m Plautus to assist a reader i n his inquiries, "si quis autem volet n o n o r i g i n e m s o l a m v e r b i istius, sed significationem q u o q u e eius varietatemque recensere" ("in case anyone s h o u l d w i s h to investigate, not only the o r i g i n of this w o r d  [obnoxius], but also its variety  of meaning") (6.17.12). Fronto's instructions to those y o u n g m e n clustered a r o u n d h i m at the e n d of his discussion o n the use of singular a n d p l u r a l L a t i n n o u n s is cited: "ite ergo n u n c et, q u a n d o forte erit o t i u m , quaerite an ' q u a d r i g a m ' et 'harenas' dixerit" ("so go n o w a n d inquire, w h e n y o u chance to  147  have leisure, whether . . . [any poet or orator] has u s e d  quadriga or harenae")  (19.8.15). T h e frequent appearance of G e l l i u s ' teachers a n d mentors i n the pages of the  Noctes Atticae is proof e n o u g h of the great value w h i c h G e l l i u s attaches to  education, but these appearances are not just the keen nostalgia for his y o u t h o n the part of a b u s y adult. T h e passages i n w h i c h these m e n appear serve to emphasize that G e l l i u s sees the process of education as one w h i c h continues t h r o u g h o u t the stages of one's life. A s m e n t i o n e d i n the p r e v i o u s chapter, Robert Kaster has closely e x a m i n e d Gellius' definition of  humanitas at 13.17. H i s  investigation has led h i m to believe that for G e l l i u s intellectual curiosity does not e n d w i t h f o r m a l studies:  43  It is clear, although still w o r t h e m p h a s i z i n g , that humanitas i n this sense [that G e l l i u s has g i v e n it] denotes the pursuit [emphasis Raster's] of culture, not the products of culture or the objects of study (in the sense of "humanities" c o m m o n today). T h e explicit structure of G e l l i u s ' passage makes it p l a i n that he thought of  humanitas as a process or w a y of life . . . There are so few references to G e l l i u s ' age or to datable events i n the anecdotes w h i c h concern i n q u i r y a n d investigation, particularly those w h i c h feature his teachers a n d mentors, that there is a sense of timelessness about m a n y of them. D i d G e l l i u s discuss Q u i n t u s C l a u d i u s Q u a d r i g a r i u s w i t h A n t o n i u s Julianus ten years ago or last m o n t h (9.1; 15.1)? D i d he listen to F r o n t o i n q u i r e  148  into the m e a n i n g of  praeterpropter (more or less) before he went to A t h e n s or after  his return (19.10)? D i d he research the m e a n i n g of  contio (assembly) for  F a v o r i n u s five years earlier or twenty (18.7)? D i d he consult w i t h Sulpicius A p o l l i n a r i s o n the m e a n i n g of  intra Kalendas as a y o u t h of twenty or as a m a n of  thirty-five (12.13)? W a s he p e r u s i n g the scrolls i n the library of Trajan's temple a year ago or twelve years ago (11.17)? F o r Gellius' purpose, the answer does not matter: studies, whether formalized i n classrooms or c o n d u c t e d o n one's o w n , are a life-long undertaking. T h e i n q u i r i n g m i n d is confined neither to the classroom nor to y o u t h .  4 3  Kaster 1986: 6.  149  Conclusion  A t the b e g i n n i n g of his preface to the  Noctes Atticae, G e l l i u s informs his  reader that he has not attempted to impose any order u p o n his w o r k , it h a v i n g  been c o m p o s e d "indigeste et incondite" ("without order or arrangement")  (praef.3); the i m p l i c a t i o n is that his miscellany is a r a n d o m collection of subjects  w h i c h appear i n the text generally i n the order i n w h i c h they were first n o t e d b y  h i m . B u t the  Noctes Atticae is not a h a p h a z a r d w o r k ; Gellius, as his c o m p l a i n t  against the indiscriminate writers of other miscellanies indicates, gives careful  consideration to his selections.  H e eschews the thematic arrangement of material  f o u n d i n the w o r k s of V a l e r i u s M a x i m u s , P l i n y the E l d e r or other miscellanists,  a n d opts instead to m a i n t a i n his reader's interest b y i n t e r w e a v i n g his great  variety of material throughout his w o r k . T h u s his themes reappear t h r o u g h o u t  the length of the  Noctes Atticae.  G e l l i u s ' interests are wide, as the variety of topics he presents i n the  Noctes  Atticae attests, but his true passions nevertheless m a k e themselves k n o w n . H i s  150  fascination w i t h language is evident throughout his w o r k . T h e b u i l d i n g blocks of c o m m u n i c a t i o n — i n d i v i d u a l w o r d s — a r e the p r i m a r y focus i n his e x a m i n a t i o n of language, but although he is often unable to appreciate the larger architecture of language, particularly poetic structures, he demonstrates that he is not w i t h o u t the ability to see language as part of the social structure of his w o r l d . H i s anecdotal encounters w i t h g r a m m a r i a n s m a y possibly lack historicity, but they are not socially inaccurate. L a n g u a g e is a means, then as n o w , b y w h i c h society separates the educated f r o m the uneducated. T h e importance a n d value of intellectual i n q u i r y forms the b a c k d r o p of the  Noctes Atticae. F o r Gellius, i n q u i r y a n d research are a significant part of the  life of the truly educated m a n . It is true that m a n y of the questions w h i c h G e l l i u s asks m a y lack imagination or insight, a n d the answers w h i c h satisfy h i m m a y not satisfy a m o d e r n scholar. Nevertheless, despite his intellectual limitations, he does not hesitate to ask questions or even to dispute the authority of scholars wiser than himself w h e n his research gives h i m reason to d o so. G e l l i u s admittedly is a n intellectual elitist; he w a r n s off any "male d o c t o r u m h o m i n u m " ("half-educated men") (praef.20) f r o m taking an interest i n his w o r k , a n d he sneers at those m e n w h o come late to learning, t h o u g h i n the latter case it is not their desire to learn but their incomplete education w h i c h earns his contempt (11.7,15.30). B u t his elitism is ambiguous, for he wishes to swell the ranks of the  151  truly educated; the  Noctes Atticae is G e l l i u s ' invitation to m e n of his o w n social  class a n d educational b a c k g r o u n d to join h i m i n continued, life-long s t u d y a n d research, not for material gain or social ascendancy, but for its o w n sake a n d for the benefits it can bestow u p o n a m a n .  T h e Noctes Atticae m a y not be an original w o r k b y a creative thinker, but it does clearly articulate its author's fascination w i t h language a n d his belief i n the delights of the intellectual life.  152  Bibliography  A b r a m s , M . H . (ed.) 1974,  The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 3 e d . V o l . rd  1. N e w Y o r k : N o r t o n . 2 vols. A n d e r s o n , G r a h a m . 1989, "The  pepaideumenos i n A c t i o n : Sophists a n d their  O u t l o o k i n the E a r l y R o m a n E m p i r e . 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