An Introduction to Roman Philology, 200 BCE-800 CE
Author: James E. G. Zetzel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Foreign Language Study
"To teach correct Latin and to explain the poets" were the two standard duties of Roman teachers, and philology - the study of Latin language and texts - was important at Rome. Not only was a command of literary Latin a prerequisite for political and social advancement, but a sense of Latin'shistory and importance contributed to the Romans' sense of their larger cultural identity. In this important and original study James Zetzel traces the changing role and status of Latin as revealed in the ways it was explained and taught by the Romans themselves. Zetzel explores ideas about theorigins of Latin and the nature of linguistic correctness; he provides an innovative account of the interconnections in Rome among philology, philosophy, rhetoric, law, and religion (both classical and Christian); and he charts the transformations of the Latin language and methods of instruction asthe people using Latin became increasingly remote from its Roman origins: in the Greek East, in the Roman and then Vandal North Africa, Visigothic Spain, and ultimately Ireland, where a rich and exotic Christian understanding of Latin flourished in the seventh and eighth centuries. Critics, Compilers, and Commentators is the first comprehensive introduction to the history, forms, and texts of Roman philology. A great many Latin dictionaries, glossaries, commentaries, grammars, metrical handbooks, and other forms of scholarship survive from antiquity and the early middle ages,some unpublished and many of them difficult to find and identify. Zetzel provides a descriptive bibliography of hundreds of them, listing editions, translations, and secondary literature. This book recovers a neglected but crucial area of Roman intellectual life, and it will be an essential resourcefor students of Roman literature and intellectual history, medievalists, and historians of education and language science.