Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

6

The use of "As in the sense of 'let' so common in Romaic, occurs in Theophanes, a writer of the ninth century, and in Constantine Porphyrogennetus who lived in the tenth.* Other Romaic words and expressions are found in the same work of Theophanes; as, σápavra, forty,' Tάvw' I take,' xaλoxaígiov, summer,' σημισείου for ἡμισέως, ἐυφήμουν for ἐυφημοῦσι, and the termination in tv, for ov, as μανδύλιν, παιδίν, θυσιαστηρίν. In Constantine we find the Romaic ἦτον for ἦν, βασιλέα the accusative used instead of the nominative βασιλεύς, σικώνειν, ferre, ἀρχοντόπουλοι filii archontum, xasoupyεiv, novum facere.

6

It appears, therefore, from these instances that the barbarisms of the language were not confined to the lower orders; but were employed in writing even by persons of rank and education. The treatise De Administrando Imperio,' from which some of the preceding vulgarisms are selected, was addressed by Constantine, one of the most learned of the Greek emperors, to his son. The two best scholars of the last days of the Byzantine monarchy, Constantine Lascaris and Bessario used the same depraved idiom; the epistle of the latter to the preceptor of the sons of Thomas Palæologus is written entirely in modern Greek. Philelphus, indeed, assures us, that the courtiers and ladies of rank at Byzantium spoke the ancient language with purity and elegance; but we also know that they likewise employed the vulgar idiom of their times, differing very little from that which is still in use.

It is, however, owing to the cultivation of the language, which was continued to the late period mentioned by Philelphus, that the affinity of the Romaic to the Hellenic is much greater than that of the Italian to the Latin. Amidst the corruptions of the neoteric Greek, we observe in almost every sentence words strictly Hellenic, many of which are recognised by every reader as in use among the best writers of the language, and still retaining their form unaltered; there are also others of frequent occurrence in later Greek writers and in Romaic, the date of which is more ancient than is commonly supposed. This part of the subject might be illustrated by many curious examples: a few are subjoined. Nepó, Nnpo, water.' No other word is ever used in Romaic to denote water.' 'Ev vnpois μuxois, in humidis recessibus,' occurs in Lycophron; and Νηρεύς, Νηρίον, Νηρηΐδες, Νηρίτης, have

"

* See the work, De Administrando Imperio, edited by Meursius. From one of the Prefaces of Coray now before us, we select the following instances, shewing how ἵνα, θέλω, ἔχω, Αs are used in Romaic. Ελπίζω ὅτι θέλει εὑρεθῆ ὅστις μέλλει νὰ καθαρίση.

I hope that some one will be found, who is about to cleanse.'-"Orav ʼn yλãoσa παρήκμαζεν, ἢ εἶχεν ἤδη παράκμασει. 4 When the language was declining, or had already declined.' ̓́Ας με συγχωρήσῃ ὁ φίλος Γαζὴς νὰ σημείωσω. 'Let Gazi allow me to remark.' 'Aç or 'Aos is corrupted from "Apes. "Apes dwuev in St. Matthew, would be Ας ἴδωμεν in Romaic.

K 2

all

"

all significations referring to the same thing. Salmasius and Hemsterhuys assign a great antiquity to the word. In vulgari profecto lingua,' says the latter, non pauca sunt ab ultima retro antiquitate repetenda; sicuti cum aquam appellant Nepo': de qua voce vide sis Hesychium.'

"Aλoyo,' a horse.' It is found in Diogenes Laertius, a writer of the third century, applied to a 'beast of burthen.' In the Scholiast on the Ajax Mastigophorus of Sophocles, it bears the signification of horse.'

Πολλὰ τὰ ἔτη, is the ordinary salutation in the present day in Greece. It was used in the acclamations of the Greek councils; and try toλλd, 'IouσTiviavé, is the cry of one of the factions at Byzantium. In convoking the ecelesiastical synods, the emperors employed the phrases τὴν ἡμετέραν Θειότητα, τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ἡμερότητι.

Similar formulæ occur in neoteric Greek.

Aláλeyua in Romaic signifies 'Exλoyń, selectio. It was used in the same sense, thirteen centuries ago, by Stephanus Byzantinus. Tupos, circle,' in Romaic: employed also with the same meaning by Menander and the Alexandrians.

"

"Aσmpo, money,' a word derived by the Byzantines from the Latin. Good money was called probum et asperum.' In probo et aspero solvere, occurs in Seneca.

Ilopvoxóog is used by Menander; and many words, according to Coray, are formed in Romaic in a similar manner, as Medoxóτos, Χαροκόπος, Στενοκόπος, Σταυροκοπῶ.

'Opotaios was lately discovered by Hase in a writer of the twelfth century; it is, he remarks, insolita vox; but it occurs in an Athenian inscription published by Chandler and Wilkins, the date of which precedes the archonship of Euclid.

Táuos is used by the Byzantines and modern Greeks in the sense of ouvoucía. It bore a similar meaning in ancient times. (Villoison, Proleg. ad Hom. xxxviii.)

Exopoda. This word is always written and pronounced in Romaic Exopda. It occurs in the same form in the Septuagint, Num. x. 15. and in the Geoponica: and in the compounds, ¿piooxopov σκορδόπρασον in Dioscorides.

Karex is used in Athenæus in the sense of ' I know.' Hodiernis Græcis, maxime Cretensibus, xarxa est plane synonymum verborum olda, yiyvoxw. (Coray, in Athen.)

6

'Idíæμa, ' dignity, gravity, respectability of appearance,' in modern Greek. In the poem of Erotocritus,* we read,

Πεζοὶ μὲ ζάλα μετρητὰ καὶ ἰδιῶμα πορπατοῦσαν, 'Pedestres pedetentim et cum gravitate incedebant.' The word

[ocr errors]

This poem, as Col. Leake says, is one of the most esteemed in Romaic. It is certainly one of the longest: it consists of 10,000 lines.

ἰδίωμα,

siapa, according to Coray, was used also in a similar sense by Theopompus.

6

Yapı, fish,' in Romaic. 'Oάpiov, a small fish,' is found in St. John's Gospel, vi. v. 9.

Πάντα is used now for πάντοτε; it occurs in Lucian in this sense

twice.

The ancient Greeks applied χειρομάχαν πληθὺν to those who obtained their living by their own hands. The Greeks now use χερομάχος.

Tauí, the common word for 'bread' in Romaic. In the Septuagint version of Job, wuòs has the same meaning.-c. xxii. v. 7. 'Aoi, silver,' in Romaic. The word occurs in Eusebius, E. H. 1. 1. καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα προσέταξε δοθῆναι ἀυτῷ χρυσὸν καὶ ἄσημον.

"

6

Χρόνος, a year,' in modern Greek. The use of it, instead of Eviautos, is found also in the same work of Eusebius.

6

"

Kgaol, wine,' in Romaic. Kgaua, a word of the same meaning, was used in the time of Justin Martyr for wine.' "Taros xal xgáμaros, Aquæ et vini.' Apol. 2. et Græci recentiores xgaol, et xgάolov pro vino simpliciter dicunt.' Gataker Adv. Post. c. v. p. 452.

"

<

'Avaσтpoon, in ancient Greek, has the sense of the French word cercle, aud the Italian, conversazione. Neo-Græci,' says Coray, συναναστροφὴν eodem usurpant sensu.’ *Αλύπητα has the signification in modern Greek of ἀφειδῶς. In the passage of Eschylus,

[ocr errors]

Εψου ̇ μηδὲ λυπηθῇς πύρι,

unde unos declarandum est ex Neogræcorum lingua, Ne parce. (Coray in Athen. 1. ix. c. 17.)

Σπαθή is the usual word to express a sword in Romaic. Σπάθη autem vox pura Græca est. (See Jul. Pollux. 10, 31. Fabroti, Gloss. Cedreni.)

Kapáß, the common term in Romaic to denote a ship or vessel. Scaphæ a Græcis jurisconsultis xápaßo dicuntur.' (Heinsii Ex. Sacræ in Act. Apos. 320.)

There are two subjects connected with the present inquiry, namely, the pronunciation of the letters of the language, and the accentual mode of reading and speaking, on which we shall beg leave to offer a few concluding remarks.

[ocr errors]

I. AI and E are pronounced alike by the modern Greeks; Villoison has shewn that they were confounded in the time of Augustus; and, in an epigram of Callimachus, exe answers in echo to vaix. The similarity of sound prevailed at a much earlier period; we find AAKMEONIAH on the Sandwich marble; and in an an

EL

K 3

cient

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

̔Ο νοσῶν δὲ μανικῶς ̓Αλκμίων ἐσκέψατο.

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 Colonel Leake in Asia Minor; EIAIAN on the Heraclean Tables; AIEITPEÞEΣ 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 τίμην, πολίτην, γινωσ xóμsvos are written with in the letter of Mark Anthony to the Aphrodisians, A. U. 720.

A is pronounced in some words in Romaic instead of P, as ἀχλάδια for ἀχράδια. One of the most learned of the ancient commentators, the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius says, σuyyevès τὸ Λ τῷ Ρ; and adds, ̓Αχράδας was sounded as ̓Αχλάδας; and we find from another grammarian, that the Greeks said ὑδρηλοί, ἐμπολός, Δάμαλις, instead of ὑδρηροί, ἐμπορός, Δάμαρις.

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

6

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 Tv si et ý, ubi ait Poëta

ἣν ἐξέχῃ

εἵλη κατ ̓ ὄρθρον, ἡλιάσει πρὸς ἥλιον. v. 771. Judit in similitudine vocum είλη, et ἥλιος et ἡλιάζειν.—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 beginning with either of the labials B or I, or Mi as τὴμ βασλείαν, τῶμ πραγμάτων, τὴν μὲν. ἱερείαν; in the compounds we read, ἐμβάλλω, ἐμπίπτω, ἐμμένω; 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. Hinc vera illa et antiqua elementi B, compressis labris, pronuntiatio, hoc saltem loco et tempore demonstratur.' (Ant. Asiat. p. 54.)

6

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

ee.

is,' he says, a considerable contraction of the lips in sounding T; 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 had the modern sound of ee. χωποθ ̓ ὁ κόκκυξ εἴποι Κοκκύ.—ν. 505.

I is sometimes pronounced soft as; thus yuvaixa 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 y the sound of, as he writes pyou for ipíou. 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 ei, as éteλion for έteλeiwoŋ— he suffered martyrdom.'

"

It is easy to imagine that innumerable errors must have arisen in consequence of the same sound being given to AI and E, to OI, H, T, I,* 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 Ouλoμévny, as Mr. Knight has remarked, will exemplify the faults of the two systems; in Romaic the word evidently becomes 'Ouλoμēvyv; and, according to the common practice, 'Ouλóμμen.

This misapplication of the acute accent, according to the mode practised by the modern Greeks, is of early date. of early date. Φαίδρωμος is a dactyl in Plautus; and the middle syllable of PTOs is shortened in the same writer. The three last syllables of Orionis ('Qpíwvos) 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

* 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 Y; it is also of considerable antiquity. MHPONHMOY ICIAOC, p. 124, is ΜΥΡΙΩΝΥΜΟΥ 1. In another, p. 101, we have THN ... PIÄNYMON EICIN. K 4

which

« ZurückWeiter »