Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIV - Literature and Art


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 100


First of all, the knowledge of the mother-tongue began to shape itself into Latin grammar; Greek philology transferred its methods to the kindred idiom of Italy. The active study of grammar began nearly at the same time with Roman authorship. About 520 Spurius Carvilius, a teacher of writing, appears to have regulated the Latin alphabet, and to have given to the letter -g, which was not previously included in it,(66) the place of the -z which could be dispensed with--the place which it still holds in the modern Occidental alphabets.

66. Cf. II. IX. Philology

The Roman school-masters must have been constantly working at the settlement of orthography; the Latin Muses too never disowned their scholastic Hippocrene, and at all times applied themselves to orthography side by side with poetry. Ennius especially--resembling Klopstock in this respect also--not only practised an etymological play on assonance quite after the Alexandrian style,(67) but also introduced, in place of the simple signs for the double consonants that had hitherto been usual, the more accurate Greek double writing.

67. Thus in his Epicharmian poems Jupiter is so called, -quod iuvat-; and Ceres, -quod gerit fruges.-

Of Naevius and Plautus, it is true, nothing of the kind is known; the popular poets in Rome must have treated orthography and etymology with the indifference which is usual with poets.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :