Monday, December 27, 2021

Boys and Girls: Grammatical Gender in Early Roman Literature

 Latin classrooms tend to teach puella / puer as binary opposites [girl / boy], but the etymology of these terms is very complex. Puer originally meant "child of any gender," and there are numerous fragments of early Roman literature that show it was used as a feminine noun: 

·          Saucia puer filia sumam  I am a wounded girl, a daughter…  [from the Carmen Nelei]  

·         sancta puer Saturni filia  sacred child, daughter of Saturn [Livius Andronicus fr. 12]

Moreover, the word puella is the diminutive form of puer, and also has masculine forms:

·         Cumque hic tam formosus homo ac te dignus puellus. This guy is a handsome man, a youth worthy of you. [Nonius 158.14; Lucilius fr. 162-163]

·         Inde venit Romam tener ipse etiam atque puellus. He came to Rome when he was still a young kid [Lucilius fr. 450-2]

·         Poeni suos soliti dis sacrificare puellos  The Carthaginians are accustomed to sacrifice their children to the gods [Ennius, fr. VII.4]

These examples show that grammatical gender was not initially rigidly fixed to either of these words, but the meanings of the words changed over time.

ENNIUS

MAP:

Name:  Quintus Ennius

Date:  239 – 169 BCE

Works:  Annals

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

Although widely considered the father of Roman literature, little is known about the works of Ennius and even less is known about his life. It is said that he was born in Rudiae (modern Italy) and served in the Second Punic War. Although he was a prolific author, composing the Annals, (Rome’s first historical epic) and other epic poems, only fragments of these remain extant.

 EARLY ROMAN LITERATURE

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE


LIVIUS ANDRONICUS

MAP:

Name:  Livius Andronicus

Date:  3rd c. BCE

Works:  [fragments]

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Livius Andronicus is one of Rome’s earliest poets. He is known for translating the works of Homer into Latin, and for his numerous plays. Unfortunately, only fragments of his works remain.

 EARLY ROMAN LITERATURE

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE



LUCILIUS

MAP:

Name:  Gaius Lucilius

Date:  2nd century BCE

Works:  Satires

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Lucilius was an Italian poet and one of Rome’s earliest satirists. Although his works and his style deeply influenced the genre of Roman satire, most of his writings are lost to history and only fragments remain. 

 REPUBLICAN ROME

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE


 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.