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From Greek to Latin. The development of the Latin philosophical vocabulary. Second part


English studies K - Z

  1. Kaimio, Jorma. 1979. The Romans and the Greek Language. Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica

    "The present work comprises the first part of a sociolinguistic study of Rome and the Roman world, the theme of which is concerned with the position and status of the Greek language within this context.


    The division of the study into two parts is of practical value; it is based on the outstanding importance which Greek, as compared with other languages except latin, had in different spheres of Roman life. From the point of view of the whole Empire this exceptional position can still be seen on the linguistic map of Europe. Moreover, the problems involved in the status of Greek and that of the other indigenous languages are as different from each other as was the eventual outcome of sociolinguistic development in the eastern and western parts of the Empire." (p. 9)


    Cicero considered himself a pioneer of Latin philosophy, and together with M. Terentius Varro and M. Junius Brutus he represents the only significant period of philosophical literature in Latin before late Antiquity. But these writers, too, had to defend their use of Latin, and their influence on contemporary society remained small.(178) As the works of Varro and Brutus are lost, we know only the apologies of Cicero, but interestingly, one of these occurs in a conversation with Varro (ac. post. 1.4-8), while another is addressed to Brutus (de fin. 1.1-5).


    "The third century A.D. knows only few pagan philosophers, and for our purpose, only one of them, Aemilius Gentilianus,(215) is of any importance. He was from Etruria, a pupil of Plotinus in Rome; he published a great number of Plotinus' treatises as well as a large number of his own works, all in Greek. One may assume that with such prominent figures as Plotinus and Porphyrius, Greek invariably constituted the language of the philosophical centre of Rome, irrespective of the origin of the philosophers." (p. 248)

    (178) ac. pos. 1.5; Tusc. 1.6; 2.7; 4.6; ad fam. 15.2; cf. Quint. 10.1.124.

    (215) See Zeller,[The Philosophy of Greeks in their Historical Development] IIL.2, 688—692.

  2. Kotzia, P. 2007. "Philosophical Vocabulary." In A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity, edited by Christidis, Anastassios-Fivos, 1089-1103. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    "The way philosophical concepts were formulated reflects the structure of the Greek language, the nature of its syntax and vocabulary, and its distinctive characteristics in general. The classic example in almost all studies relating to the development of philosophical termninology is the potential for substantivization inherent in the definite article. In Ancient Greek, apart from ''things'' in the narrowest sense, any of the following can become the subject of a clause, and subsequently a term: not only properties e.g., the substantivized adjective ἀπείρων ''the unlimited'' for Anaximander's ''principle''; compare Cicero's difficulty in rendering Socrates' τό άγαθων in Latin, which has no definite article: id quod re vera bonum est), but also infinitives, participles, prepositional, adverbial, and pronominal phrases, and even entire clauses." (p. 1091)

  3. Lampe, Kurt. 2014. "Greek Philosophy, Translation." In Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Volume 2 G-O, edited by Giannakis, Georgios K., 136-140. Leiden: Brill

    "My focus in this article is not the history of translation, but rather the nature of translation and its consequences for Greek philosophy. Because ‘translation theory’ encompasses linguistics, analytical and continental philosophies of language, and the broader context of semiotics (→ Ancient Philosophers on Language), it raises possibilities of enormous diversity and complexity. In the following I merely provide a preliminary survey. At the most naive level we might formulate the aim of translating as “saying the same thing in the target language as the source text says in Greek”. We may then ask at what level one should “say the same”: should one seek equivalences word-by-word, phrase-by-phrase, or with greater latitude? Lexical equivalence raises obvious problems. First, the target language often lacks parts of speech present in Greek (Word Classes (méré tot lögou), Ancient Theories of).

    For example, Latin lacks articles, and English is short on → particles. (The problem would be enormously greater in a polysynthetic language like Navajo). Second, even where grammatical forms coincide, it is frequently impossible to find a word with the same connotation as the Greek word to be translated. For example, the Cyrenaic philosophers designate pönos as the greatest intrinsic evil. Pönos refers primarily to bodily exertion and the discomfort associated with it. It is usually translated in English as ‘pain,’ but this English term does not connote exactly the same thing as the Greek original: most importantly, ‘pain’ is only very weakly associated with exertion." (p. 136)

  4. Leeman, Anton Daniel. 1963. Orationis Ratio: The Stylistic Theories and Practice of the Roman Orators Historians and Philosophers. Amsterdam: Hakkert

    "If historiography was to reach the level of the classical Greek achievements only in the decades after Cicero’s death, it had at least an ancestry reaching back well into the second century B.C. The third genre [after oratory and historiography] of literary prose that was recognized as such by the Romans, philosophy, had a harder task yet in establishing itself at Rome, though it reached a standard with which at least the Romans themselves were satisfied already during the latter days of Cicero. In the second century Rome remained almost totally a-philosophical - the poet Ennius is of course a striking and unique exception —, though some outstanding Greek philosophers made their appearance there, together with adventurous rhetoricians. A man like Panaetius was accepted in certain quarters, mainly because he gave no offence and supported the Roman political and moral views. But Carneades, who did give offence, was told to leave the place at once. A deeper interest in Greek philosophy as we find it in men like C. Laelius ‘Sapiens’ and Q. Aelius Tubero, who failed to become a praetor in 129 B.C. because of his Stoic convictions, seems to have been exceptional. We have viewed the intimate relations of the Gracchi with Greek philosophers in the light of an early connection between ‘progressive’ politics and Graecophilia.

    When Cicero decided to introduce philosophy into Latin literature, he found the field virtually uncultivated; at the same time he felt that he had to overcome a strong Roman prejudice, even in the intelligentsia, against this most Greek of all Greek activities. There is indeed a marked difference between his plea for a high standard of historiography as we found it in our last chapter, and the curious arguments which he put forward as a defence of his turning philosopher at a time when we expected him to become Rome’s first ‘literary’ historian. We find these arguments scattered throughout the prologues of his philosophica, but they are expounded nowhere in a more significant manner than in the first prologue of the Tusculanae disputationes, which is one of the most revealing documents for the history of Latin culture and conceptions. Therefore we shall have to deal with it at some length. It is addressed to Brutus, who in this respect seems to have been of one mind with him - and he seems to have been one of the very few indeed." (p. 198)

  5. Lévy, Carlos. 2003. "Cicero and the Timaeus." In Plato’s Timaeus as Cultural Icon, edited by Reydams-Schils, Gretchen J., 95-110. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

  6. ———. 2022. "Cicero and the Creation of a Latin Philosophical Vocabulary." In The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosopy, edited by Atkins, Jed W. and Bénatouïl, Thomas, 71-87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    "It is both right and erroneous to say that Cicero was the creator of Roman philosophical vocabulary. Before him, at the outset of the Hellenization of Roman culture, poets like Ennius (c. 240 - 170 BCE) and Lucilius (180/148? - 102/101? BCE) began to give Latin equivalents of Greek concepts.

    This task was brilliantly pursued by Lucretius, after the rather disastrous attempts, at least according to Cicero (Acad. 15-6; Tusc. 4.6), of Amafinius and Rabirius to propagate the Epicurean doctrine. Lucretius was not only a great poet but also a prodigious demiurge of the language, trying to remedy the poverty of Latin, patrii sermonis egestas. He succeeded in expressing a lot of Epicurean technical terms in Latin, though the Latin vocabulary of his literary predecessors did not seem at this time suited to accommodate an atomistic theory. By comparison, Cicero’s originality lay in giving precise translations of many Platonic, Academic, Stoic, and Peripatetic concepts, in translating many Greek philosophical texts, and above all in strongly asserting the right of Latin to become a philosophical language. All those who pretend that Cicero dramatically lacked originality in the field of philosophy ought to imagine what a challenge it was to claim that there was no structural reason preventing Latin from becoming a philosophical language.." (p. 71, notes omitted)

  7. Long, A. A. 2003. "Roman Philosophy." In The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy, edited by Sedley, David, 184-210. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    "Prior to Lucretius and Cicero, there had been no philosophical writing of consequence in the Latin vernacular. This explains Lucretius’ complaint in his poem about the ‘poverty’ of the Latin language for rendering the obscure details of Epicurean physics.

    Cicero, writing a few years later, frequently finds it necessary to coin Latin words for the Greek terms he needs to convey to his readers. Hence we have, as English derivatives from Cicero’s Latin, such words as ‘quality’ (poiotes). The Latin that he and Lucretius inherited was ill-suited to expressing the nuances of philosophical Greek. Yet, thanks to their remarkable initiative, Latin was launched on the way to becoming the superb instrument for scientific discourse that it would be for Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes and Newton. Indeed, a large part of our English philosophical terminology, although ultimately derived from Greek, is most directly taken from classical and mediaeval Latinizations of Greek terms, e.g. ‘virtue’, ‘substance’, ‘essence’, ‘element’, ‘principle’, ‘matter’, ‘form’, ‘potentiality’, ‘accident’, ‘efficient cause’, ‘final cause’, etc. (cf. glossary, pp. 373–85, for details of these and others)." (p. 185)

  8. McElduff, Siobhán. 2009. "Living at the level of the word. Cicero's rejection of the interpreter as translator." Trasnslation Studies no. 2:133-146

    Abstract: "This article argues that Cicero’s rejection of the interpreter as a literal translator was not just a rejection of a particular style of translation but an attempt to keep translation of Greek literature in Rome an elite activity. I discuss the social status and role of Roman interpreters and their repeated association with limited education in our sources, finally concluding that the interpreter is despised as a translator by Cicero not necessarily because he translates literally, but because he is a potential rival translator from a lower social rank who may allow the spread of inappropriate translations of Greek material to Rome."

  9. ———. 2013. Roman Theories of Translation: Surpassing the Source. New York: Routledge

    Chapter 4: Cicero’s Impossible Translation: On the Best Type of Orator and Beyond, pp. 104-121.

    "Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE) was Rome’s greatest orator, as well as a prodigious translator of Greek thought and texts into Latin. He was also Rome’s most famous writer on translation.(1) It is a rare introduction to the history of translation in the West that does not cite his comment that he translated “not as an interpreter but as an orator” (On the Best Type of Orator 14). Therein lies part of the problem: as Frederick Rener pointed out, the endless repetition of this formula tends to have a soporific effect on those who encounter it [Rener, Frederick M. 1989. Interpretatio: Language and Translation from Cicero to Tytler. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi,] 1989, 2. Familiarity has bred not so much contempt as a tendency to switch off. As a result, Cicero’s comments on translation are rarely situated within the context of his other works, his literary and political aims, his personal circumstances, and the cultural moment he inhabited and helped shape. His translation theory needs to be seen as part of a larger cultural debate, not as a set of sound bites isolated from the world of the Late Republic." (p. 96, a note omitted)

    (1) I discuss here Cicero’s writing on translation, rather than his translations, the latter being an enormous topic and outside the scope of this work.(...)

  10. Mohrmann, Christine. 1951. "How Latin Came to Be the Language of Early Christendom." Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review no. 40:277-288

    "When the Gospel of Christ was brought to the Western part of the Roman empire, the new thoughts and interests coming with Christianity transformed the Latin language. A new spirit moved the disciples of the new -doctrine and new necessities of expression stimulated the creative powers of the early Christian communities. In this way came into being a christianized Latin, which survived antiquity: it survived in the Romance languages and it survived also in medieval Latin. Expansion of Latin in the early Middle Ages is expansion of Christianity: for Christianity has Latinity in its train and the Northern peoples adopted Latin with the Christian faith. Latin was the language of Christianity and at the same time of civilization. In this way medieval Latin became the mouth-piece of medieval Christian civilization. The writers of the Middle Ages moulded the Latin tongue to utter the various matters which moved their minds: for medieval Latin was not an immutable and dead language, even though it was not the mother-tongue of peoples and nations. Under the two universal influences of Christianity and antique culture medieval Latin will be for centuries and centuries the repository of European thought. This evolution has been possible because Latin had become, in the course of the first centuries of our era, a Christian language: Latin had been modified and reinspired and loosed in the bosom of the Christian communities. It was inspired by the spirit of Christian faith and it was modified by the exigencies of Christian life." (p. 277)

  11. O'Sullivan, Neil. 2019. "Manuscript Evidence for Alphabet-Switching in the Works of Cicero. Common Nouns and Adjectives." The Classical Quarterly no. 68

    "Of the hundreds of Greek common nouns and adjectives preserved in our MSS of Cicero, about three dozen are found written in the Latin alphabet as well as in the Greek. So we find, alongside συμπάθεια, also sympathia, and ἱστορικός as well as historicus. This sort of variation has been termed alphabet-switching;(1) it has received little attention in connection with Cicero,(2) even though it is relevant to subjects of current interest such as his bilingualism and the role of code-switching and loanwords in his works.3 Rather than addressing these issues directly, this discussion sets out information about the way in which the words are written in our surviving MSS of Cicero and takes further some recent work on the presentation of Greek words in Latin texts." (p. 498)

    (1) J.N. Adams, Bilingualism and the Latin Language (Cambridge, 2003), 71.

    (2) S.C.R. Swain, ‘Bilingualism in Cicero? The evidence of code-switching’, in J.N. Adams, M. Janse and S.C.R. Swain (edd.), Bilingualism in Ancient Society: Language Contact and the Written Text (Oxford, 2002), 128–67, at 156–7, and M. Dubuisson, ‘Le grec da la correspondance de Cicéron: questions préliminaires sur un cas de bilinguisme’, La Linguistique 41 (2005), 69–86, at 71–2, both mention it briefly.

  12. ———. 2020. "Manuscript Evidence for Alphabet-Switching in the Works of Cicero: Proper Nouns and Adjectives." The Classical Quarterly no. 70

    "Our manuscripts of Cicero contain dozens of Greek word sthat are presented in some passages in Greek letters, and in others are transliterated into Latin. In a recent paper I collected the evidence for this phenomenon in connection with common nouns and adjectives (for example ὑποθήκη vs hypotheca, ἱστορικός vs historicus), surveyed scholarship to date and posited an interpretative framework which is assumed in this study also. Key components of this framework are the use of mixed alphabets in surviving ancient documents (especially inscriptions) and an awareness of the frequency with which modern editors change the alphabets in the manuscripts when dealing with Greek words—hence the importance of using the apparatus critici, not just the printed text, of our editions. The earlier paper was also strict in its exclusion of words in continuous passages, and even short phrases, of Greek, since that context excludes the option of transliteration for the author. The major contention of that earlier study was that a coherent pattern of use in the manuscripts can only really be a reflection of Cicero's own considered choice of alphabets: consistently inexplicable choice may indicate that Cicero himself was indifferent to which alphabet he used for single Greek words, or that our copyists paid no attention to this aspect of their exemplars, or both." (p. 677

  13. Powell, Jonathan G. F. 1995. "Cicero's Translations from Greek." In Cicero the Philosopher: Twelve Papers, edited by Powell, Jonathan G. F., 273-300. Oxford: Clarendon Press

    "A number of passages in Cicero's philosophical works are translated directly from Greek. Apart from this, Cicero devotes considerable attention to the problems of rendering individual Greek words and concepts in Latin. In this chapter I shall examine these two aspects of Cicero's literary activity, with a view to enabling the reader to assess more accurately Cicero's contribution to the development of the Latin language as a medium for the expression of abstract thought. I do not aim to provide a commentary on the translated passages or to catalogue in detail every item in Cicero's philosophical vocabulary, but merely to identify the central issues and suggest some possible lines of thought about them.(1)" (p. 273)

    (1) In this chapter I have disregarded the poetic translations which Cicero includes in the philosophical works.

  14. ———. 2007. "Translation and culture in ancient Rome: Cicero's theory and practice of translation." In Übersetzung - Translation - Traduction. 2. Teilband: Ein internationales Handbuch zur Übersetzungsforschung, edited by Kittel, Harald, Frank, Armin Paul and Greiner, Norbert, 1132-1137. Berlin: de Gruyter

    "Cicero was well aware in practice that there was a wide spectrum of different kinds of translation, from the most pedantically literal (and hence inelegant or unidiomatic) to the freest of literary adaptations. He himself was prepared to place his own activities at different points on the scale according to his purposes in writing. His tendency to self-justification, so insistent in his public career, extended also to literary activities, including translation, and we have a number of remarks from his pen regarding the policy he was adopting in particular instances.

    These remarks should not, however, be overvalued. They do not constitute a well thought out and rigorous 'theory of transla- tion', but are largely practical and intuitive, responding to the demands of the individual occasion. However, they do cast light on his methods and assumptions, and may help to warn us against judging his translations by in- appropriate criteria. (For a fuller treatment see Powell [Cicero's Translations from Greek] 1995.)" (p. 1134)


    "Cicero has sometimes been credited (at least since Plutarch's Life of Cicero) with a systematic intention to create Latin equivalents for all the Greek philosophical terms, but he himself does not quite claim this, and his actual practice does not go so far. His feeling for elegance in Latin precluded too much innovation in vocabulary. Cicero makes some suggestions for new coinages, only to abandon them thereafter (e.g. veriloquium for 'etymology').

    Some of these (e.g. beatitudo 'blessedness', medietas 'median') were rescued by subsequent generations of Latin speakers and became current even in the colloquial spoken language, as shown by their occurrence in Roman literature or by the existence of derivatives in Romance languages (e.g. Italian 'meta' , French 'moitié', both meaning 'half', derive from medietas). Indeed, some of Cicero's coinages became so well established that they are now part of the common European linguistic inheritance, albeit usually with their original meaning much changed. One may instance qualitas (quality: it may be that Varro had a hand in the invention of this item), moralis (moral), evidentia (evidence), indifferens (indifferent)." (p. 1135)

  15. Rawson, Elizabeth. 1985. Intellectual Life in the Late Roman Republic. London: Duckworth

    Part II: The Artes, § 19. Philosophy, pp. 282-297.

    "Fundamentally the book is concerned with figures of the second rank, and with general patterns. We read Cicero and Lucretius ; we also read Catullus, Caesar (though not the fragments of his De Analogia) and Sallust; but we tend to know far too little of the intellectual, as opposed to the political, background to these writers. The Romans of this period had just learnt that, if one wishes to write about a subject, one must begin by defining it. 'Intellectual life' is not altogether easy to define. I had a number of definite questions in mind as I worked, however. What were the basic opportunities and constraints in intellectual activity? For example, where were the books and otherdocuments, and who could use them? How far could one do without written materials? Who were the men who pursued the different branches of study - from what backgrounds did they come and how were they financed? Which scholars were Greek, which Roman - and is there a strict dividing line? Which can be called professionals and which amateurs ? What were the relations between these different classes? The role of the many learned Greeks who worked in Rome is, it emerges, not altogether easy to decide.

    Furthermore, what sort of activity was there outside the city, in the rest of Italy, and how closely integrated was any of it with what went on in the capital ? While the last and most important task is to discover what intellectual objectives were pursued, irrespective of the breadth of the audience which might be expected, it is also vital to see what that audience in any case might be. And what changes came about in the period of over half a century with which we are dealing? To answer these questions at all it is necessary at present to turn to a farge number of specialised studies, mostly not in the English language. This book tries to draw the threads together and (to change the metaphor) to draw as full a general picture as our inadequate evidence allows." (pp. VVII-VIII)

  16. ———. 1989. "Roman Tradition and the Greek World." In The Cambridge Ancient History. Second Edition. Volume 8: Rome and the Mediterranean to 133 B.C., edited by Astin, A. E., Walbank, F. W., Frederiksen, M. W. and Ogilvie, R. M., 422-476

    "The distance which Rome had travelled in less than a century was enormous. But there was still a long way to go. In 148 probably no Roman, of the upper class at least, had thought to pay an extended visit toAthens or Rhodes for serious study with the best Greek masters of rhetoric or philosophy, or, unless he happened to be there already on public business, had gone sightseeing in Greece. Exiles withdrew to the cities of Latium or Etruria, not to the Greek East. It was barely respectable for a noble to write verse, certainly not for him to abandon public ambitions altogether for a life of study, as a few men of prominent family did in the first century. If philosophy was beginning to be known, Academic Scepticism, Epicureanism and Cynicism were probably still all distrusted. In 146, when political developments disrupted the Museum at Alexandria, it seems that none of the scholars who had worked there fled to Rome, though we are told that 'Greece and the islands' were filled with refugee intellectuals of every kind(230) (it is true that there was an Alexandrian painter in Rome somewhat earlier(231). It was not till the first century that, as Philodemus shows, a visit to Rome became the normal ambition of a Greek teacher,(232) partly owing to the extinction of the various royal courts that had offered patronage, and to the impoverishment of many Greek cities, partly perhaps to the fact that by now so many famous Greek libraries had come to Rome, mainly as spoils of war, that scholarly activity could be carried on there as well as anywhere else, and Rome and Alexandria could be spoken of in the same breath as intellectual centres.


    But the earlier period, as we have seen, had laid the foundations for most of these developments. Above all, it had on the one hand provided the basis for a real civilization that should be something more than a pale copy of a Greek model, but should preserve and develop much that was genuinely Roman or Italian. And, on the other, though it ultimately distanced the educated or wealthy Roman from his humbler fellow cuntrymen (not that all of these were completely untouched by any sort of Greek influence), it allowed and initiated that possibility of understanding and co-operation between the Latin- and Greek-speaking elites, which was to be one of the most important factors in the long survival of the Roman Empire." (pp. 475-476).

    (230). iv. 184D-C (from Andron of Alexandria and Menecles of Barca).

    (231) Diod. Sic. xxxi. 18; cf. Val. Max. v. 1 - a topographos, either a scene-painter or one who painted the pictures of cities etc. carried in triumphs.

    (232 Phld. Rhel. 11.145 Sudhaus.

  17. Rèe, Jonathan. 2001. "The translation of philosophy." New Literary History no. 32:223-257

    "The discrepancies which Greek philosophers identified within their own language grew even clearer when their work became an object of study for people whose first language was not Greek but Latin. When Cicero decided to devote the last years of his life to philosophical translation - "teaching philosophy to speak Latin" - he was acutely conscious of the limitations of his linguistic resources.(44) He had to force strange new abstractions out of existing Latin words (humanitas from homo for example), to institute a basic set of Greek-Latin equivalences (natura for phusis, res publica for polis, ars for techné), and invent new Latin words by transliteration (logica, dialectica, dogma). He also created an array of loan-translations, or caiques, analyzing Greek words and translating them part by part (as with subjectum for hypokeimenon). By all these means he created, in effect, a half-Greek enclave within Latin, for the purpose of discussing philosophy.(45)

    Purists could of course object to Cicero's brash translation language, and three centuries later, when Plotinus spent twenty-five years working in Rome, he refused· to teach in any language but Greek. But it was a losing battle, and philosophy in the mainstream Christian tradition from Augustine to the Renaissance was conducted almost entirely in Latin." (p. 247)

    (44) 44 Cicero, Oratio pro Archia Poeta, ix, 23.

    (45) Paul Friedlander, "The Greek behind Latin," Classical journal, 39 (February 1944), 270-77.

  18. Reiley, Katharine G. 1909. Studies in the Philosophical Terminology of Lucretius and Cicero. New York: The Columbia University Press

    "Cicero and Lucretius created a philosophical terminology for the Latin language. They found their native tongue a clear and vigorous medium for the expression of the energies of a practical and objective people. They left it a fine instrument for the discussions of abstract and speculative philosophy." (p. 1, a note omitted)


    "The scope of the comparison is narrower than we could wish, for Lucretius concerned himself chiefly with the mechanical and physical side of Epicureanism, while Cicero, whose philosophical interests were largely ethical, passed over these elements of the system in rapid summary. When, however, the interests of the two thinkers touched, we see in full view, just as in the processes of a laboratory, their terminology in the very making. A study of the causes and influences operating to determine their choice of identical or different terms to express the same idea, should be full of informing interest alike for the philosopher, the linguist and the psychologist." (pp. 2-3)


    "It is the object of our investigation to examine, as far as the necessary limitations of so large an inquiry may permit, the degree of success attained by each philosopher in the creation of a terminology and the manner in which he achieved it." (p. 7)

  19. Reinhardt, Tobias. 2016. "To See and to Be Seen: On Vision and Perception in Lucretius and Cicero." In Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Philosophy, edited by Williams, Gareth D. and Volk, Katharina, 63-90. New York: Oxford University Press

    "4.1. Introduction. There exist many stereotypes about what Roman philosophical texts are, and some of these stereotypes derive from the history of Roman philosophy as it is written into the texts themselves; the notion of patrii sermonis egestas (Lucr. 1.832, 3.260) is a case in point. What makes a language poorly suited or poorly equipped to talk and do philosophy in it? Surely not the absence of technical terms. The aim of my chapter is to show that the texts written by Lucretius and Cicero reveal profound reflection not only on the “content” to be conveyed—the doctrines expounded in their Greek “sources”—but also on the preexisting resources of the Latin language, and that they engender the reader’s retracing of these reflections and their pursuit beyond the boundaries of the written text." (p. 63)


    "4. 5. Conclusion. I have, at the end of sections 4.3 and 4.4, offered some concluding observations specific to Lucretius and Cicero. Here I would like to discuss a feature that the two authors share and that marks them out as pioneers in the project of revealing the potential of the Latin language as a medium for philosophical discourse. This feature is the fact that both authors encourage and demand reflection on Latin usages in a profound way." (p. 88)

  20. Rigolio, Alberto. 2014. "Translation of Greek Texts in Late Antiquity." In Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Volume 3 P-Z, Index, edited by Giannakis, Georgios K., 436-441. Leiden: Brill

    "A crucial aspect of translation practice is the degree of faithfulness to the original text. At the extremes of the spectrum one finds, on the one hand, translations that are configured as paraphrases and, on the other hand, translations that compromise the structure of the target language in favor of meticulous rendering of the original text. The degree of faithfulness to the originals has been explained either through the nature of the original texts or through the development of particular translation techniques. Scholarship on the Syriac tradition has proposed a conciliation of the degree of faithfulness to the originals with the chronological development of the translation technique, while scholarship on the Armenian tradition has shown particular interest in the linguistic impact of faithful translations on the target language.

    A key concern of cultural-historical scholarship has been to identify translation features that characterize the specific historical and cultural milieu in which the translations were composed. Translations can betray a particular understanding and interpretation of the original texts and the choice of particular philosophical or theological terminology, as well as the use of loanwords, » calques, or idiomatic translations, can reveal dependence on, or independence from, a philosophical, theological or exegetical tradition. The recurrence of common linguistic and textual features has been used to support the assignment of translations to the same historical milieu or intellectual school. Furthermore, the selection of the texts to translate and the omissions, additions and changes carried out on the texts, such as the Christianization of non-Christian material, can reveal the implementation of a particular cultural agenda. Also, there are anonymous works that have been disguised as translations from Greek." (p. 436)

  21. Robinson, Douglas. 2002. Western Translation Theory from Herodotus to Nietzsche. New York: Routledge

    First published 1997 by St. Jerome Publishing.

    Marcus Tullius Cicero, pp. 6-12.

    "Cicero is often considered the founder of Western translation theory; certainly he is the first to comment on the processes of translation and offer advice on how best to undertake them. His remarks on the pedagogical use of translation from Greek to Latin in the training of an orator were expanded by Horace, Pliny the Younger, Quintilian, and Aulus Gellius in Rome, adapted for medieval Christian theology by Jerome, and cited repeatedly by Catholics and Reformers and Humanists in support of their translatorial and pedagogical principles from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries." (p. 7)

  22. Rose, H. J. 1921. "The Greek of Cicero." The Journal of Hellenic Studies no. 41:91-116

    "My object has been, first, to give as complete and reliable a list as possible of the words used by Cicero himself (not his correspondents, though I have included half-a-dozen words quoted from Atticus and Caesar), omitting literary quotations of all sorts, including proverbs and the chapter-headings of the Paradoxa, and taking account of all the works, whole or fragmentary, which have come down to us. This list is my own compilation, not taken over from the earlier ones, which, except that of Merguet,(7) are not full alphabetical lists of all the words, and include quotations as well as Cicero's own words. Within its assigned limits it is, I think, fairly complete and in accordance with up-to-date texts." (p. 91)

    (7) Merguet, Lexikon zu den philosophischen Schriften, end.(7)This gives the words in the philosophical treatises only.

  23. Rosén, Hanna. 1983. "The Mechanisms of Latin Nominalization and Conceptualization in Historical View." In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, Teil II: Principat, Band 29.1: Sprache und Literatur (Sprachen und Schriften), edited by Haase, Wolfgang, 178-211. Berlin: de Gruyter

    See in particular: Specialized uses and names for nominal concepts: Cicero's methods of innovation, pp. 204-209.

    "For the largest part of his terminological innovations Cicero proceeds by the method of calque, of lending to an existing Latin word, again almost exclusively to substantives, the meaning of the Greek original, or at least a new nuance, new to Latin or marginal in the existing word. Here too he often sees fit to mention the Greek original, either to clarify the special nuance meant (uoluntas for Stoic βούλησις: est quae quid, cum ratione desiderat Tusc. 4.12) or to avoid misunderstanding through the general meaning of the Latin word.

    In the domain of grammatical terminology, Cicero uses the action noun casus (Plautus, Accius) in the terminological meaning of grammatical (case) ending, under the pressure of synonymous πτώσις; notio, an abstract living on as a nominalization, is employed to render (together with intellegentia, Fin. 3.21) έννοια; uisum is imbued with the meaning of φαντασία, sumptio becomes, like λήμμα, a "premise". Via, besides functioning as a suppletive verbal noun of ire (see above, note 25), is used to translate μέθοδος. Causa becomes, by lexical equation with αιτία, "accusation" as well as "cause", status, the action noun of esse (see above, p. 184), serves to translate the rhetorical term στάσις "issue, position of a defendant", also "mood" (grammatical, in Quintilian). Two concepts central to the Roman way of life come into being in this way: Cicero forms a new abstract humanitas (φιλανθρωπία) after having calqued on the adjective humanus (φιλάνθρωπος "loving men", άνθρώπινος "human") the other meaning of the Greek counterpart, viz., "civilized, cultivated"113. Vrbanitas (also "city life" in Cicero) and urbanus likewise became imbued with the meaning "refined, cultivated, elegant"114 after Greek άστειος (and άστικός)." (p. 208)

  24. Rowland Jr., Robert. 1972. "Cicero and the Greek World." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association no. 103:451-461

    "So, culture, services (mutual and one-way, public and private), and governmental efficiency provided the necessity and purpose for Greeks to cultivate Romans and for Romans to cultivate and utilize the Greeks. Because of the accidents of literary survival, Cicero's friendships and the details of his relationships and services given and received-although often shadowy-are better attested than those of any other Republican figure. Had he never engaged in politics and statesmanship, he would undoubtedly have acquired iendships (granted the frequent meaninglessness of that term) with powerful and influential Greeks acquired by a new man in relatively brief tours of duty abroad is an important testimony to the workings of the Roman system of provincia! government -- in fact, to the workings of the Roman system. " (pp. 459-460)

  25. Schofield, Malcolm. 2002. "Cicero, Zeno of Citium and the Vocabulary of Philosophy." In Le style de la pensée: Recueil de textes en hommage à Jacques Brunschwig, edited by Canto-Sperber, Monique and Pellegrin, Pierre, 412-428. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

  26. ———. 2022. "Cicero and Plato." In The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosopy, edited by Atkins, Jed W. and Bénatouïl, Thomas, 88-102. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    "Cicero was not a “Platonist.” He hardly ever described himself as a philosopher at all. But Plato, the writer and thinker himself, was a presence of the greatest importance in Cicero’s own writing and thinking.

    “No other individual philosopher,” as A. A. Long has written, “is cited by Cicero as fully and frequently.”(3) This chapter will not attempt to describe or assess Cicero’s treatment of “Platonism” as a system. He inherited from his philosophical teachers – Philo and Antiochus – differing views of the overall stance from which Plato philosophized; even in Antiochus’ version of Academic history it was only subsequently that a “system” was articulated (descriptio disciplinae: Acad. 1-17) invoking his authority. Instead it will explore just what Plato himself meant to Cicero: first in some of his letters of the period 54 - 49 BCE, then in the dialogues of 55-51, and finally in the theoretical writings of 46 - 44." (p. 88)

    Much of the material presented in this chapter was first published in Schofield [“Cicero’s Plato,” in From Stoicism to Platonism, ed. T. Engberg-Pedersen. Cambridge: 47–66] 2017b.

    (1) A contrary view has lately been revived by Altman [The Revival of Platonism in Cicero’s Late Philosophy: Platonis aemulus and the Invention of Cicero. Lanham, MD] 2016a.

    (2) See Hine [“Philosophy and philosophi: From Cicero to Apuleius,” in Volk, K. and Williams, G. (eds.) Roman Reflections: Studies in Latin Philosophy. Oxford.] 2015, 14-19. Plutarch, however, says that he would often tell his friends that they should call him a philosopher, not an orator, oratory merely being his instrument (Plu. Cic. 32.5).

    (3) Long [“Cicero’s Plato and Aristotle,” in J. G. F. Powell, Cicero the Philosopher: Twelve Papers. Oxford 1995, pp. 37-61], 44.

  27. Sedley, David. 1998. Lucretius and the Transformation of Greek Wisdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    "1. Lunguistic poverty

    In the preceding chapter, we met at the end of Lucretius’ proem his famous apology on behalf of the Latin language (I, 136-45) which he laments the linguistic struggle that he faces (I, 136-9):

    nec me animi fallit Graiorum obscura reperta

    difficile inlustrare Latinis versibus esse,

    multa novis verbis praesertim cum sit agendum

    propter egestatem linguae et rerum novitatem.

    Nor do I fail to appreciate that it is difficult to illuminate in Latin verse the dark discoveries of the Greeks, especially because much use must be made of new words, given the poverty of our language and the newness of the subject matter.

    In §§ 2-7 of this chapter I shall be considering how he handles this task of Latinising the technical terms of Epicurean philosophy. In §§ 8-13 I shall turn to his own poetic use of Greek loan-words and idioms. The two practices will come out looking antithetical to each other. At the end I shall suggest how we are meant to interpret this antithesis. What may start out looking like an issue of linguistic mechanics will turn out, if I am right, to reveal a fundamental tension in Lucretius’ evaluation of his own poetic and philosophical task." (p. 35)

  28. ———. 1999. "Lucretius' Use and Avoidance of Greek." In Aspects of the Language Poetry, edited by Adams, J. N. and Mayer, R. G., 227-246. Oxford: Oxford University Press

    An enlarged version of the paper appears as Chapter 2 Two languages, two worlds of D. Sedley, Lucretius and the Transformation of Greek Wisdom, Cambridge, Cambridge Univeristy Press 1998, pp. 35-61.

    Summary: "Lucretius uses highly technical Greek Epicurean sources, but his strategy is to replace technical terms with complementary sets of metaphors and images. Above all, he never merely transliterates a Greek philosophical term, unless for the exceptional purpose of keeping the corresponding concept at arm's length. His aim is to make Epicureanism thoroughly at home in a Roman cultural context. In the first half of the present chapter, this policy is illustrated with examples such as his vocabulary for visual 'images' in book 4 (where, thanks to the accidental survival of two successive versions of the book's programme of topics, his methods can be observed in action).

    The second half of the chapter examines the ways in which he does nevertheless introduce numerous Greek loan-words into his vocabulary, arguing that this is done in order to build up contexts which convey an exotic and alien Greek world.

    Why does Lucretius combine these two antithetical policies towards the Greek language? He is drawing a cultural map in which the Roman and the Greek are widely separated, but in which Epicureanism can, uniquely, cross that divide, and thus prove its true universality."

  29. ———. 2013. "Cicero and the Timaeus." In Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoreanism in the First Century BC: New Directions for philosophy, edited by Schofield, Malcolm, 187-205. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

    "The Timaeus is one of just two Platonic dialogues from which Cicero translated wholesale. The other translation, that of the Protagoras, is lost, but we are fortunate to possess, apart from one or two lacunae, his translation of Timaeus 27c–47b." (p. 187)


    "... Cicero’s project of cumulatively enriching the native Latin philosophical vocabulary, by explicitly introducing new renditions of Greek terms one by one as they cropped up, was maintained in his Timaeus translation, in seamless continuity with his other philosophical writings of the period. The present example is one of six Greek terms whose renditions are announced during the course of the translation.(7) Four of the six are terms imported into physics from mathematics, namely ἀναλογία, σφαιροειδές μεσότης, άρμονία. A fifth has a specifically astronomical sense, namely what he (questionably) interprets as a special use of κόσμος to indicate the heaven, which he decides to translate ‘lucens mundus’, ‘the illuminated world’ (35.10 = Ti. 40a6). Only one of the six, δαίμων, falls altogether outside mathematics. Here we can see Cicero seeking in his Timaeus translation to rectify the poverty of the Latin mathematical vocabulary, which he had made Varro lament at the beginning of the Academic Books (1.6). Varro had made it clear there that his ensuing account of early Academic physics – an account itself derived ultimately from the Timaeus – would be compelled to omit the more mathematical aspects of Platonic cosmology. It is above all this lack that his Timaeus translation seeks to rectify." (p. 191)

    (7) Cf. Lambardi [Il ‘Timaeus’ ciceroniano: arte e tecnica del ‘vertere’. Florence.]1982: 69–90.

  30. Siebengartner, Andrew. 2012. "Stoically Seeing and Being in Cicero's Aratea." In Greek into Latin from Antiquity until the Nineteenth Century, edited by Glucker, John and Burnett, Charles, 97-116. London: The Warburg Institute

    "...focuses on the early translation of Aratus’s Phaenomena by Cicero, who changed not only the title of the original ( Aratea) but also added to it a Stoic tinge, absent from Aratus’s poem. Analyzing a number of excerpts, the author describes how Cicero’s use of second-person verbs related to vision and of descriptions of stars and constellations enhanced by additional actions and characteristics (which resemble those of the Stoic god) transformed Aratus’s poem and its static style into a dramatized poem in support of the Stoic cosmology. The author briefly touches on the influence of the Stoic exegesis of Aratus’s poem by Boethus of Sidon on Cicero’s translation and the similarities between Aratea and Cicero’s De Natura Deorum II. The essay offers a deep discussion of the relationship between the original author and his audience and how this relationship may change between the translation author and his audience." (from Ioannis Deligiannis, Review of John Glucker, Charles Burnett (eds.), Greek into Latin from Antiquity until the Nineteenth Century. Warburg Institute colloquia, 18. London; Turin: Nino Aragno Editore, 2012, Bryn Mawr Classical Review).

  31. Spanos, William V. 2001. "Heidegger’s Parmenides: Greek Modernity and the Classical Legacy." Journal of Modern Greek Studies no. 19:89-115

    Abstract: "One of Heidegger’s most insistent assertions about the identity of modern Europe is that its origins are not Greek, as has been assumed in discourses of Western modernity since the Englightenment, but Roman, the epochal consequence of the Roman reduction of the classical Greek understanding of truth, as a-letheia (un-concealment), to veritas (the correspondence of mind and thing). In the Parmenides lectures of 1942–43, Heidegger amplifies this genealogy of European identity by showing that this Roman concept of truth— and thus the very idea of Europe— is also indissolubly imperial. Heidegger’s genealogy has been virtually neglected by Western historical scholarship, including classical. Even though restricted to the generalized site of language, this genealogy is persuasive and bears significantly on the conflicted national identity of modern, post-Ottoman Greece. It suggests that the obsessive pursuit of the unitary cultural ideals of the European Enlightenment, in the name of this movement’s assumed origins in classical Greece, constitutes a misguided effort to accommodate Greek identity to the polyvalent, imperial, Roman model of the polity that informs European colonial practice. Put positively, Heidegger’s genealogy suggests a radically different way of dealing with the question of Greek national identity, one more consonant with the actual philosophical, cultural, ethnic, and political heterogeneity of ancient Greece (what Martin Bernal has called the “Ancient Model”) and, thus, one less susceptible to colonization by “Europe.”."

  32. Steele, R, . B. 1900. "The Greek in Cicero's Epistles." The American Journal of Philology no. 21:387-410

    "The use of Greek by Cicero represents two phases of the influence of the Greeks upon the Romans: the natural utilization of a small part of the Greek vocabulary, and the free use of Greek in the social intercourse of the day. When the Romans came in contact with the higher artistic development of the Greeks, they were content to adopt Greek forms of presentation, and thus Roman literature became, so far as it was original, the embodiment of Roman thought fashioned according to Grecian models. Along with the adoption of the forms of presentation came the admission of Greek words to a place in the Roman vocabulary, and the naturalization process was carried on somewhat freely, Saalfeld (Tensaurus Italo-graecus) [*] giving about eight thousand words borrowed entire, or in which some part is derived from the Greek.

    This introduction of Greek terms was not in all respects a loss to the borrower, as it gave to Roman philosophers, physicians and rhetoricians the same technical vocabulary as was used by the Greeks, and enabled them to deal with like objects and like phases of thought in terms common to both languages." (p. 387)


    "Though Cicero's use of Greek was justified by the prevailing communicational forms of the day, yet, apart from the use of direct quotations, it may be considered, (i) partly as a mere display of a knowledge of Greek, (2) partly as an attempt to make up for some of the deficiencies of the Latin language by the use of a word afterwards fully naturalized, or of a substitute for some form not so well developed in Latin as in Greek." (p. 390)

    [*] Günther Alexander Saalfeld, Tensaurus Italograecus: Ausführliches Historisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch der Griechischen Lehn-und Fremdwörter im Lateinischen, Wien, 1884.

  33. Striker, Gisela. 1995. "Cicero and Greek Philosophy." Harvard Studies in Philology no. 97:53-61

    "Cicero seems to have been the first educated Roman who developed a real flair for philosophy and a serious attachment to it, considering it not just as an intellectual hobby or a kind of spiritual support in times of personal or political turmoil, and attempting in earnest to make it a part of Roman culture. I do not mean, of course, to overlook the great poet Lucretius. But Lucretius, perhaps precisely because he was a great poet, but also because he adopted the tone of a fervent missionary, seems to have remained an isolated figure, at least as far as philosophy was concerned. It was Cicero who gained a lasting place in the history of European philosophy by creating a vocabulary in which Romans could debate philosophical questions; not just read, but write and discuss philosophy. No doubt Cicero's own auctoritas helped here, too.

    Not quite a century later, in the works of Seneca, the "poverty of the Latin tongue" (Lucr. 1.139, 832; 3.260) so eloquently lamented by Lucretius seems to have been overcome." (p. 54)

  34. Swain, Simon. 2002. "Bilingualism in Cicero? The Evidence of Code-Switching." In Bilingualism in Ancient Society: Language Contact and the Written Text, edited by N., Adams J., Janse, Mark and Swain, Simon, 128-167

    Abstract: "This chapter explores the problem of Roman Latin-Creek bilingualism in the Late Republic. There is an abundance of evidence to show that Romans at this time knew classical Greek literature well enough. Some of them, like Cicero, knew key parts of it extremely well. Cicero himself was able to compose Greek prose and verse and to deliver set speeches in Greek before a Greek audience. No one would deny that he could speak Greek well. It is a commonly held view that Cicero’s peers were fluent in Greek and regularly used it in conversation with each other. There are, however, no grounds for the latter belief. This chapter places Cicero’s choices against the general background and function of bilingualism in Rome."

  35. Swanson, Donald Carl. 1962. A Formal Analysis of Lucretius’ Vocabulary. Minneapolis: Perine Book Co.

  36. Toohey, Peter. 1981. "How good was Latin? Some opinions from the Late Republic and early Empire." Arethusa no. 14:251-269

    "The paper is concerned primarily with "literary" — scholarly, quasi-scholarly, and artistic — opinion: above all, how "intellectuals" allowed themselves to dissemble. Hence I have paid very to social and linguistic analogues: the closely related question of the extent of Roman bilingualism; the question of the extent of the influence of Latin upon Greek (and Greek upon Latin).


    For those, such as Cicero, who desired a broader spectrum of culture than Rome had to offer, a knowledge of the Greek language was obligatory. (In fact the educational system, at least in Cicero's day, encouraged bilingualism. At school Cicero would have studied Greek first and then Latin.)(5) But such a seeming philhellenism had an obvious peril: one avowed intellectual subservience to a subservient people. The tension produced by such an apparently contradictory attitude may in no small part be responsible for the potentially prejudiced responses which I hope to describe.

    To return to the initial point: bilingualism, to a large extent, creates the situation which I will endeavor to discuss. However, a lengthy examination of this topic would obscure the major purpose of the paper, which is to examine how - rather than why - linguistic prejudice and, ultimately therefore, racial prejudice is or is not embodied in the work of certain Roman intellectuals." (pp. 251-252, some notes omitted)

    (5) So Marrou [Histoire de I'éducation dans I'antiquité (Paris2 1960] 335.

  37. Woolf, Greg. 1994. "Becoming Roman, staying Greek. Culture, identity and the civilizing process in the Roman East." Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society no. 40:116-143

    "The limits of Romanization in general have been accounted for in terms of many factors, but most can be dismissed where the east is concerned. The elites of the most prominent Greek cities had sufficient contact with Romans and sufficient wealth to adopt anything they desired in the way of Roman culture. Nor were Greeks resistant to the practices which gave scope in the west to the development of a Roman style:

    competitive energetism, civic and cultic monumentality and the enhancement of personal status and identity through the acquisition and display of expensive possessions. These institutions were common to west and east, but Greeks used them to remain Greek. This paper takes an alternative approach to the problem by focusing on the cognitive aspects of these changes and on continuities of culture and identity.

    There is a danger in approaching these issues through posing questions such as How did Romans understand Romanization? How did they regard Greek culture and their role in relation to it? and How did Greeks understand these cultural changes? Most obviously such questions might lead to over-simplistic answers; answers that assume the existence of single unified 'Roman' and 'Greek' viewpoints and identities, without leaving space for dissenting views, uncertainties and live debates. But it is possible to describe central features of belief-systems without either over-schematizing or engaging in collective psychologizing. All belief systems include central features of this kind that connect different sets of ideas, and frame and structure debate so as to determine the parameters of discourse. The notions at issue here are sufficiently central - Roman notions of civilization and of their imperial mission on the one hand, and on the other Greek notions of their identity - for the attempt to be made. My argument, in brief, will be that the peculiar features of Romanization in the east can be largely accounted for in terms of these cognitive structures. To begin with (section 2), Romans conceived of their cultural and moral vocation in respect of the Greeks as different from, if complementary to, their mission to the barbarians. Furthermore (section 3), Greeks did not conceive of the relationship between material culture and collective or ethnic identity in the same terms as did Romans. Finally (section 4), the nature of the interaction between the two sets of beliefs is worth exploring in order to suggest some reasons for the Greeks' remarkable preservation, almost but not quite unique among Rome's subjects, of a sense of identity separate from any that had been assigned by Rome." (pp. 117-118, notes omitted)