Sunday, May 29, 2016


Take Up Sound Studies

Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), "De Corrigendis Adolescentium Studiis" (inaugural lecture at the University of Wittenberg, August 29, 1518), in his Opera quae supersunt omnia, ed. Carl Gottlieb Bretschneider (Halle: C.A. Schwetschke, 1843 = Corpus Reformatorum, XI), cols. 15-25 (at 25, tr. Ralph Keen):
Take up sound studies, and bear in mind what the poet said: Well begun is half done. Dare to know, cultivate the Romans, embrace the Greeks without whom the Romans cannot be properly studied.

Capessite ergo sana studia, et quod a Poëta dictum est, animo volvite: Dimidium facti qui coepit habet. Sapere audete, veteres Latinos colite, Graeca amplexamini, sine quibus Latina tractari recte nequeunt.
The poet is Horace, Epistles 1.2.40:
dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet; sapere aude.
What noun should we supply with Graeca? Volumina, or perhaps exemplaria? Cf. Horace, Ars Poetica 268-269 (tr. John Conington):
Make Greece your model when you write,
And turn her volumes over day and night.

                        vos exemplaria Graeca
nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.


Why need a noun be supplied at all? Might it not be a neuter plural adjective used as a substantive? ‘Greek things’, perhaps ‘Greek culture?’ Perfectly good Latin to do so.

Yours faithfully,

Dr A Girdwood
Head of Classics
Albyn School
17-23 Queen's Road,
Aberdeen, AB15 4PB

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