Tuesday, September 01, 2015


A Latin Hexameter Consisting of Adjectives in Asyndeton

Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art (London: Nelson, 1964; rpt. Nendeln: Kraus, 1979), p. 193, quotes the beginning of a medieval Latin poem on the planets:
Annis viginti currit bis quinque Saturnus,
et homo, qui nascitur, dum Saturnus dominatur,
audax, urbanus, malus, antiquus, fur, avarus,
perfidus, ignarus, iracundus, nequitiosus.
The fourth line is a hexameter consisting entirely of adjectives in asyndeton. Since the third line contains a noun (fur) mixed in with adjectives, I don't include it in my collecton of examples of this phenomenon:
Other versions of this poem don't seem to include the first or fourth lines. See e.g. Marijke Gumbert-Hepp, Computus Magistri Jacobi: Een schoolboek voor tijdrekenkunde uit 1436 (Hilversum: Verloren, 1987), pp. 170, 172, and Josep Perarnau i Espelt, "Nous autors i textos catalans antics: Pere de Puigdorfila, Fogatges, Guillem Aldomar, Pere Ramon," Arxiu de Textos Catalans Antics 17 (1998) 540-569 (at 569).

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