Tuesday, October 11, 2022
'Eupsones', quod homines Afri dicunt, non esse verbum Poenicum, sed Graecum.Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Aulus Gellius: An Antonine Scholar and his Achievement, rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 14:
Eupsones, Cupsones, Cupsones ς Qu(o)psones σ Eudones Scaliger
Tantalizing, however, is the lemma to the lost chapter 8.13: 'Cupsones quod homines Afri dicunt non esse uerbum Poenicum sed Graecum', the African provincialism cupsones is not a Punic word but Greek. The term is elsewhere attested only in the African Augustine, and in an African) context: 'In Numidia ... in cupsonibus habitant.'13 Proposing the gloss 'in crags and caves' (in rupibus et speluncis), the Maurist editors noted that elsewhere in Augustine the Donatist Africans at Rome are called Montenses or Cutzupitae/-tani;14 if cupsones and Cutzupitae are related, the parent tongue will have allowed metathesis.P.K. Marshall, "Four Lexicographical Notes on Gellius," Mnemosyne, 4th ser. 15.3 (1962) 272-274 (at 273):
13 Serm. 46.39 (CCSL 41.567), attacking an African heresy; see P.K. Marshall, Mnem.4 15 (1962), 273.
14 Edn. Paris, 1679-1700, v. 246 n. e (PL 38.293); see Aug. Ep. 53.2 (CSEL 34.154), Ep. Cath. 6 (CSEL 52.237). The Greek etymology will have been κύπτω, since one has to duck on entering (Marshall loc. cit.).
B. 8.13 Lemma. "Eupsones"(?), quod homines Afri dicunt, non esse verbum Poenicum, sed Graecum. The Lemmata to the Eighth Book are found only in manuscripts of the fifteenth century2), and Hertz presumably decided to read the mysterious word eupsones as being the most common reading in these late manuscripts. Next in frequency after eupsones come cupsones and eussones. I wish to suggest that beyond all doubt the correct word here is cupsones. We find this word in a sermon of St. Augustine (46, 39 = Migne 38, p. 293): In Numidia, unde ventum est huc cum tanto malo, muscarium vix invenitur, in cupsonibus habitant. The reading cupsonibus seems guaranteed, although its meaning is doubtful. Migne suggests it may mean in rupibus et speluncis, while TLL offers no explanation. Here we have a homo Afer addressing himself to an audience of homines Afri on the subject of Numidia. It is not difficult to imagine that in the missing chapter in Gellius, we were given an etymology for cupsones connecting it with the Greek word κύπτειν.Edmund Hill, The Works of Saint Augustine, Part III: Sermons, Vol. II: Sermons 20-50 (Brooklyn: New City Press, 1990), p. 297, n. 100 (quotation marks fixed):
2) I have personally examined nearly one hundred manuscripts of Gellius, and have not found these Lemmata to Book Eight in any manuscripts earlier than the fifteenth century.
Augustine uses an otherwise unknown word, cupsones—so unknown that it is spelled with great variety in the manuscripts. It is presumably a word borrowed from Punic or Berber. The editor and other scholars suggest it may mean caves. My guess, given the semi-nomadic nature of Numidian society, is that it was some kind of movable dwelling. If it is a Punic word, it may be related to the Hebrew root q-p-ts, which means "draw together," "shut," fold up." Thus a cupso could be an easily folded tent, like a wigman [sic, read wigwam, cf. p. 290: "they live in wigwams"] or teepee.Thanks very much to Jim O'Donnell for sending me scans of the relevant pages of Cyril Lambot, ed., Aurelii Augustini Opera, Pars XI, 1: Sermones De Vetere Testamento (Turnhout: Brepols, 1961 = Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, XLI). Here is Lambot's apparatus for cupsonibus in Sermon 46:
cupso ou cupsio: forme orthographique incertaine. L'hyparchétype y semble avoir présenté cupsio, et z cupso. Impossible de décider quelle était la forme dans l'archétype. Le terme ne se rencontre que chez S. Augustin, et uniquement dans le sermon 46. Il est peut-être la transposition d'un mot numide. Les Mauristes se demandent: "Idemne ac in rupibus ac speluncis?", et ils rappellent que les donatistes groupés à Rome étaient qualifiés en cette ville de montenses, cutzupitae ou cutzupitani (AUGUST. Epist. 53, n. 2, éd. A. GOLDBACHER, CSEL. 34, 1908, p. 154 [cutzupitae]; Ad catholicos epistola contra donatistes, vulgo De unitate Ecclesiae, n. [cutzupitani], éd. M. PETSCHENIG, CSEL. 52, 1909, p. 237). S'il existe réellement une relation entre cupso (cupsio) et le sobriquet cutzupita (-tanus), il faudrait admettre que le mot était déjà déformé dans l'archétype de nos manuscrits.It's obvious that Lambot was unaware of the occurrence of the word in Aulus Gellius.
I don't see anything in Alfred Ernout and Alfred Meillet, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine, 4th ed. rev. Jacques André (Paris: Klincksieck, 2001).