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Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose$
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Tobias Reinhardt, Michael Lapidge, and J. N. Adams

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263327

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263327.001.0001

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The Bellum Africum

The Bellum Africum

(p.73) The Bellum Africum
Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

J. N. Adams

British Academy

This chapter first addresses the ‘invention’ of literary prose. It takes two lexical examples to demonstrate the traditional character of the language, partly from Caesar himself, and partly from the Bellum Africum. The presented three passages all report the successful return of a military unit to base. The Bellum Africum abounds in forms of expression that can be paralleled in Caesar, reflecting no doubt on the one hand imitation of Caesar and on the other joint use of traditional language. Its most distinctive feature is its diversity. The archaism, poeticism, colloquialism, and the imitation of Greek in the work are specifically elaborated. There are many correspondences of phraseology between the Bellum Africum and the genuine Caesarian works. Varro and the author of the Bellum Africum did not place their archaisms, colloquialisms, or poeticisms exclusively in special contexts while restricting themselves to ‘standard’ language in unmarked contexts.

Keywords:   Bellum Africum, literary prose, archaism, poeticism, colloquialism, imitation of Greek

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