Friday, July 28, 2017


Who, What, Where, When

Augustine, City of God 6.3 (tr. William M. Green):
Varro wrote forty-one books of "Antiquities" which he divided into "Human Things" and "Divine Things," assigning twenty-five books to the former and sixteen to the latter. "Human Things" he divided into four parts of six books each, taking up in turn the persons who act, the places, the times and the actions. That is, in the first six books he writes about men, in the next six about places, in the next six about times, and finishes the work in the last six by writing about things. Four times six are twenty-four, but at the head of these books he placed a single book to discuss in a general way all the matters that follow. Again in the treatment of "Divine Things" the same plan is followed, as far as it is applicable to the rites performed for the gods. For men, in certain places, at certain times, perform certain sacred rites. These four topics which I have named, Varro discussed in three books each. In the first three he writes about men, in the next about places, in the third about times, and in the fourth about sacred rites, thus presenting the reader in this case also with a very neat distinction between those who perform, where and when they perform, and what they perform.

Quadraginta et unum libros scripsit antiquitatum; hos in res humanas divinasque divisit, rebus humanis viginti quinque, divinis sedecim tribuit, istam secutus in ea partitione rationem ut rerum humanarum libros senos quattuor partibus daret. Intendit enim qui agant, ubi agant, quando agant, quid agant. In sex itaque primis de hominibus scripsit, in secundis sex de locis, sex tertios de temporibus, sex quartos eosdemque postremos de rebus absolvit. Quater autem seni viginti et quattuor fiunt. Sed unum singularem, qui communiter prius de omnibus loqueretur, in capite posuit. In divinis identidem rebus eadem ab illo divisionis forma servata est, quantum adtinet ad ea quae diis exhibenda sunt. Exhibentur enim ab hominibus in locis et temporibus sacra. Haec quattuor, quae dixi, libris complexus est ternis: nam tres priores de hominibus scripsit, sequentes de locis, tertios de temporibus, quartos de sacris, etiam hic, qui exhibeant, ubi exhibeant, quando exhibeant, quid exhibeant, subtilissima distinctione commendans.

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