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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 Impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’

The Impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’

(p.194) (p.195) The Impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’
Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

R. G. Mayer

British Academy

This chapter provides a discussion that aims to offer some account of the impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’. It begins by presenting the quandary of Vitruvius. Vitruvius showed a thorough competence; his intellectual predecessors in the later Republic had provided a lesson in the logical grouping of topics, a lesson he learnt. Vitruvius’ quandary can be explained by the failure of Latin prose to provide the educated writer with workable models of sound prose style. The chapter then inspects the masters themselves, Cicero and Caesar. The period in Cicero’s oratorical prose is deemed to be generally above reproach, once allowance is made for his increasing assurance. The issue of anacoluthon in Cicero’s philosophical writings was considerably discussed at the time this essay was delivered, and in subsequent e-mail exchanges with Jaap Wisse. The chapter then turns to Cicero’s only real successor, Livy. Moreover, the origin and use of the period in formal Latin style are described.

Keywords:   Kunstprosa, Vitruvius, Cicero, Caesar, Livy, philosophical writings, Jaap Wisse, Latin style

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