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By J. N. Adams

This e-book bargains systematically with communique difficulties within the Roman international the place various languages except Latin and Greek have been spoken. How did the Romans converse with their topics within the remoter elements of the Empire? What linguistic rules did they pursue? Differing sorts of bilingualism built, which had an important impression at the approach the Romans and their matters proposal, spoke and wrote. a variety of cultural, historic and linguistic questions in regards to the various advancements in bilingualism are addressed.

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Secondly, it is not satisfactory to treat ‘Greek’ as a unity. The language of classical literature was at a far remove from the koine spoken in the Roman period, and some Romans might well have been fluent in the spoken language but relatively unversed in literary Greek. It would be illogical to argue from the errors made by a person in understanding literary Greek that he could not speak the language. Confusions arise in discussions of Roman bilingualism because the various categories of Greek (and the categories of performance) are not always distinguished.

It was not impossible that a Roman fluent in Greek might parade a hostility to Greek culture. L. Crassus, just mentioned, was said to be so fluent in Greek that some thought it his native tongue (Cic. De orat.  Plutarch’s remark about Marius (Mar. ), to the effect that     For a full discussion of this passage, see Sevenster (: –). It would be wrong though to ascribe this Ciceronian ideal of achieving correctness in one’s Greek to Cato as well, on the basis of a well-known story.

A prosopographical study of Greeks known for their knowledge of Latin, from the Republic to the late Empire. The material bearing on this issue dealt with in the present book will be rather different from that of Holford-Strevens and Rochette: not (for the most part) anecdotal, but primary. Primary evidence richly documents Greeks using Latin. I mention here just one anecdote which concerns knowledge of Latin among members of the Greek educated classes (Gell. ). The passage has been discussed by Rochette (a: –), but in connection with the Greeks’ knowledge of Latin literature.

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