Imágenes de páginas

cient inscription copied by Spon; and the following line is quoted from Timocles in Athenæus,

Ο νοσων δε μανικώς 'Αλκμίων εσκέψατο. The same sound is given to EI and I by the modern Greeks. These letters were frequently confounded in former times. ANAKTEI occurs in a very ancient inscription found by Colovel Leake in Asia Minor; EIAIAN on the Heraclean Tables ; AIEITPEQEE on a marble of Attica of remote date. El and I, as Valckenaer has remarked, were pronounced alike in the time of Ammonius, or in the beginning of the second century: and Thury, Toasty, yuvwoxóuevos are written with e in the letter of Mark Anthony to the Aphrodisians, A. U. 720.

A is pronounced in some words in Romaic instead of P, as αχλάδια for αχράδια. One of the most learned of the ancient commentators, the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius says, ouygevès το Λ τω Ρ; and adds, 'Αχράδας was sounded as 'Αχλάδας; and we find from another grammarian, that the Greeks said údprací, šutoλός, Δάμαλις, instead of υδρηροί, έμπορος, Δάμαρις.

T is now pronounced in Romaic, in some words, as A. This is not a modern innovation; it appears from an inscription, pubblished by Gruter, that did mátwy was written in Latin, DIA PANDON. (Scalig. Anim. in Euseb. Chron. p. 118.)

EI and H have the same sound in modern Greek. Singularis locus est apud Aristophanem in Vespis, de confusa et valde affini jam tum permutatione tõv ei et ý, ubi ait Poëta

[ocr errors]

είλη κατ' άρθρον, ήλιάσει προς ήλιον. ν.771. ludit in similitudine vocum sinn, et nuos et saságer.'-Casauboniana,

p. 49.

The sound of no letter has been so much the subject of debate as that of B. It is pronounced in Romaic like the English V. The following illustration of the power of this letter by Chishull will lead us to doubt whether it had always that sound. In the third century before Christ, we find, he says, the letter N changed into M as often as it precedes a word begiuning with either of the labials B or Π, or Μι as τημ βασλείαν, τώμ πραγμάτων, τημ μεν. ιερείαν ; in the compounds we read, εμβάλλω, εμπίπτω, εμμένω; in Latin, imbibo, impono, immuto. This mode was introduced on account of the easier prolation of the sound; the two cognate letters being expressed by one motion of the mouth. illa et antiqua elementi B, compressis labris, pronuntiatio, hoc saltem loco et tempore demonstratur.' (Ant. Asiat. p. 54.) The same sound is now given to T and I, that of our English

But Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in his treatise De Compos.,plainly marks the distinction between the two letters. There

"Hinc vera


is,' he says, ' a considerable contraction of the lips in sounding r; but the lips give no effect to the sound of I; the breath is driven against the teeth, and the mouth is open a little.' From the representation of the note of the cuckoo, in the Birds of Aristophanes, we cannot suppose that the letter T had the modern sound of ee. χώποθ' ο κόκκυξ είπoι Κοκκύ.-v. 505.

T is sometimes pronounced soft as s; thus yuvaixe becomes Yeenaka. At what period this practice was first introduced, we have not been able to ascertain; but the copyist of Ammonius must have given to the sound of 5, as he writes &pyou for épíoy. Id ex pronuntiandi ratione ortum, says Valckenaer.

OI and I have been confounded in pronunciation for many centuries. In the inscriptions relating to the Christian martyrs of Nubia, we find ΓΕΝΙΤΟ, ΚΟΛΠΙΣ, for ΓΕΝΟΙΤΟ, ΚΟΛΠΟΙΣ. They also give , for el, as êteacúson for éredesúsbn — he suffered martyrdom.'

It is easy to imagine that innumerable errors must have arisen in consequence of the same sound being given to Al and E, to OJ, H, T, 1,* EI. In transcribing manuscripts the copyist often wrote from dictation, and, misled by the sound, substituted one word for another. The mistakes originating in this confusion were so great, that Theognotus, a grammarian of the ninth century, delivered a number of rules pointing out in what cases AI and E should be written, and in what OI and T.

II. In the common practice of reading the Greek language the accent is disregarded, because it is found almost impossible

to apply it, and to give at the same time to different words their proper quantity; though, it does not always happen that the latter is preserved according to this mode. With the modern Greeks the accent is employed; but the syllable over which it is placed has, in consequence, a lengthened sound. The pronunciation of Oủaquévrv, as Mr. Knight has remarked, will exemplify the faults of the two systems; in Romaic the word evidently becomes 'Ouaquery; and, according to the common practice, 'Ourópevny.

This misapplication of the acute accent, according to the mode practised by the modern Greeks, is of early date. Dalòpwuos is a dactyl in Plautus; and the middle syllable of plantos is shortened in the same writer. The three last syllables of Orionis ('12piovos) form a dactyl instead of an anti-bacchius in Ovid; strictumque Orionis ensem. The unaccented syllables in these instances seem to have been pronounced rapidly, while a stress was laid on those which are accented. The Asiatic Greeks committed similar errors; Philostratus mentions a Cappadocian sophist, Pausanias, who, when he spoke, “ lengthened short syllables, and shortened long ones.' Ayiva, the name of the island Ægina, and Máxpiva are dactyls in the Anthologia. In the age of Ausonius, Prudentius and Sidonius we find the accent used with a power similar to that which it had among the vulgar in the days of Plautus; elowna is idola, and "Apatos, the middle syllable of which is long, becomes 'Αράτος; the ω in τρίγωνος is shortened by Ausonius; Ευριπίδης has the penultimate long in Sidonius; the second syllables of špuos and toinois are shortened by Prudentius. It has been contended that these Latin writers would not have employed the accent with a lengthening power, unless a similar mode of speaking had been familiar to the Greeks of their own time. It probably prevailed at first among the lower orders of Romans; and the more they mixed with the Greeks in their conquests of different countries of the east, the wider the corruption would be diffused. According to the neoteric Greeks the acute had a lengthening power; the scholiast on Hephæstion* says that the o in opov, in Homer, is long from the position of this accent; and Eustathius thinks the acute is the bepáresce

* While this article is going through the press, we observe in some inscriptions copied in Nubia, apparently with great accuracy, by Mr. Burckhardt, a curious instance of the change of H for r; it is also of considerable antiquity, MHPONHMOY ICIAOC, p. 124, is MYPISNYMOT 1. In another, p. 101, we have THN... RISNYMON EICIN. K 4


, or restorative medicine,' in the following verse of the same poet.

Βήν εις Αιόλου κλυτα δώματα. . If we find in the poems of Gregory of Nazianzum, a violation of the rules of metre, and a prolongation of short syllables bearing the acute accent, we may properly conclude that the same errors were general in his time, or at least were committed by those less learned than himself. In different parts of the works of this Father the following lines have occurred to us, each of which contains a false quantity.

Και συ Γεωργίοιο φίλον δέμας. .
φοβεραι ψυχών μάστιγες ουχ οσίων.
"Ακρα φέροντα πάσης Καισάριε σοφίης.
Το τρίτον αυ σκίπισσιν αηρ και γαία καλύφθη. .

Ενθάδε Βασσιλίoιο Βασίλειον αρχιερέα. . We have in our own language verses written in the 13th century with the same cadence as the Erixou Moritixos of the Greeks; and Heinsius has observed that a measure of a similar kind was employed by the ancient Hebrews. It was used by the Byzantines at an earlier period than is generally supposed; and we find it regularly formed in Simeon Metaphrastes, a writer of the ninth or tenth century.

'Αναλογίζου ταπεινή ψυχή μου παναθλία.

* See Gaisford's Hephæstio, p. 181.

In the eleventh, the same measure is employed by Michael Psellus, in some lines addressed to the Emperor Constantine Monomachus, and by Philippus Solitarius in his Dioptra; in the twelfth, Constantine Manasses composed his Chronicle, and the Loves of Aristander and Callithea in Political verses: they were used about the same time by Theodorus Prodromus and Nicetas Eugenianus.

The verses written in this measure are thought by Heinsius to have been formed from the iambic tetrameter catalectic; but Leo Allatius describes them as trochaïc; and if we read the following line of Aristophanes with the accentual cadence alone, we have a complete · Versus Politicus.'

Εί δε τυγχάνει τις ημών δραπέτης εστιγμένος. . It is unnecessary to pursue the changes of the language any farther. The capture of Byzantium drove the scholars of Greece into Italy, and interrupted the study of the ancient language; but no alterations have been made since that time in the neoteric idiom, except such as have arisen from the introduction of Turkish and Italian words. The works which appeared in the three centuries following the capture of Constantinople, possess little or no interest; they consist of homilies,* romances, and bad translations.

Before that event took place, the copying of manuscripts afforded employment to numerous scribes. Many of these volumes were fortunately carried into Italy by the exiles ; and the liberal exertions of princes and private individuals have since removed others, from the obscurity in which they were buried, to the different libraries of Europe. When Villoison was in Patmos, he was informed by the monks, that they had been obliged to burn a great number of manuscripts in consequence of the injury they had received from worms, and the damp situation in which they had been placed. We do not think that a similar instance of neglect and barbarism will again occur. Enlightened and opulent Greeks are diffusing among their countrynen the advantages of education; and they will be taught to attach a proper value to the literary treasures which may be still in their possession.

In closing these remarks, we cannot help adverting to the different fate of the two languages which have arisen on the ruins of those of Greece and Rome. The Italians who wrote as early as the year 1300 are considered at this moment by their countrymen as models in respect of purity and correctness of diction. But the Romaic has now been spoken for many centuries, and cannot yet boast of any work of genius, or original production, which can be referred to as a standard of taste or style. It is not difficult to explain the causes of this difference. The continued study of the writings of ancient Greece by the learned Byzantines, and their habits of composition in Hellenic, prevented them from paying any attention to the formation of the vulgar language. They were obliged indeed to use it occasionally in the common intercourse of life; but they always considered it as a depraved and vitiated idiom. And since the establishment of the Ottoman power, it is not easy to name a country, removed in any degree from barbarism, where the great body of the people is placed in a situation more unfavourable to the development of intellect, more hostile to improvement of every kind, than the Christian part of European Turkey. On the other hand, the literature of Italy was advanced at an early period by a concurrence of very remarkable circumstances. The immediate causes were—the conquest of Constantinople, the arrival of the scholars of Greece, the recent discovery of printing, the formation of libraries, the establishment of academies, and, above all, the protection which men of letters received from the Dukes of Milan and Ferrara, the houses of Medici and Sforza, the Kings of Naples, and the Republic of Venice.

* We take this opportunity of noticing an error of a somewhat ludicrous kiud in Warton's History of English Poetry, i. 350. • The story of Arthur,' he says,' was also reduced into modern Greek. M. Crusius relates that his friends who studied at Padua sent him in the year 1565, together with Homer's Iliad, Aidaxal Regis Arthuri. The words in Crusius are · Aldazai Rarthuri.' The homilies of this writer are well known to the modern Greeks.

ART. VII.–Vie Privée de Voltaire et de Madame du Châtelet,

pendant un Séjour de Six Mois à Cirey, par l'Auteur des Lettres Péruviennes--Suivie de cinquante Lettres inédites en vers et

en prose de Voltaire.—Paris, 1820. pp. 460. FROM

the catchpenny style of this title-page, one might almost be led to suppose that an author of some reputation had undertaken to write a formal history of six months of the private life of this celebrated pair. The simple fact, however, is, that a certain Madame de Grafigny passed about two months, in 1735, at Cirey, the joint residence of M. and Madame du Châtelet and Voltaire: in the first three weeks she wrote ten letters to a friend at Nancy, giving a gossiping account of the modes of life at Cirey; and a few more, relating to herself, in the last month of her stay.

But though these letters do not fulfil the pompous promise of the title, they are still an amusing and, we may even say, an interesting work. They give, at least, a sketch of the private life of these celebrated people, and they give somewhat more than a sketch of their hearts; and it will not be uninstructive to observe how the apparent amiability and good taste of their society, concealed, under a very thin varnish,

the profligacy, the cruelty, the miseries which they inflicted on their dependants, and on each


« AnteriorContinuar »