Volume 13, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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SUMMARYA large number of the chapters in Aulus Gellius' Noctes Atticae are dedicated to grammar, which was considered to be of primary importance among the ingenuae artes. In this sphere Gellius therefore had to be an authority, not an amateur, so as to establish himself in a position contrasting with that of scholastic grammar. The Roman ars grammatica provides, at least up to the time of Gellius, fairly clear glimpses of a double tradition: one trend is of a scholastic nature and is directed mainly at the parts of speech {partes orationis); the other is a more specialized type and turns its attention toward the question of correct language as based on several canons (natura, analogia, consuetudo, auctoritas). In Gellius we have ample evidence of this twofold tradition. In fact, we have (as also, though to a lesser degree, in Quintilian's Institutio Oratorio) a rather extensive compendium of ars grammatica, which can be reconstructed in its fundamental lines and organic structure and whose purpose it is possible to recognize, even if the variety of topics and logical disarray of the Noctes Atticae have always impeded our understanding of any systematic Gellian doctrine and have favored negative assessments of the author, who has generally been considered a dilettante in matters of language science. Though depending on multiple sources, Gellius seems, on the contrary, sufficiently original and independent in his judgments. In all likelihood his own originality and a certain coherence and freedom of thought are not unrelated to the archaizing movement of his time and to the cultured ambience of contemporary Rome. In linguistic analysis Gellius is a champion of a special rationality, which again avails itself of etymology, long since dispensed with by the traditional ars grammatica, and as a sophisticated scholar of language (he has even "cultivated" his own sources), Gellius places himself outside the scholastic grammatical tradition and proposes a form of linguistic inquiry that is predicated on various decision-making criteria, foremost among which is knowledge of the history of words from the most ancient authors to contemporary speech.RÉSUMÉDans les Nuits attiques d'Aulu-Gelle, un grand nombre de chapitres sont consacres a la grammaire, jugee de premiere importance parmi les ingenuae artes. Dans un tel domaine, par consequent, Aulu-Gelle devait etre une au-torite et non un amateur, au point de se situer lui-meme en contraste avec la grammaire scolaire. Dans l'ars grammatica romaine, on entrevoit assez bien, tout au moins jusqu'a l'epoque d'Aulu-Gelle, une double tradition, c'est-a-dire une veine "de type scolaire", orientee specialement vers toutes les partes orationis et une seconde "de type specialise", orientee vers la question de la langue correcte, sur la base des canons (natura, analogia, consuetudo, auctoritas). Chez Aulu-Gelle, nous trouvons des traces tres nettes de cette double tradition; nous y trouvons meme (aussi bien qu'a un moindre degre, dans l'Institutio oratoria de Quintilien) un compendium as-sez developpe l''ars grammatica, qu'il est possible de reconstituer dans ses lignes fondamentales et dans sa structure organique et dont il est egalement possible de reconnaitre la finalite, meme si la variete des arguments et le desordre logique des Nuits attiques n'ont guere contribue a bien faire saisir une doctrine aulu-gellienne systematique et ont favorise des jugements ne-gatifs sur cet auteur, considere en general comme un amateur en ars grammatica. Or, Aulu-Gelle, bien que dependant de sources multiples, parait assez original et autonome dans ses jugements. II est probable que son ori-ginalite et une certaine coherence et liberte de pensee ne doivent pas etre dissociees du "mouvement" des archaïsants et de l'atmosphere cultivee de la Rome d'alors. Dans l'analyse de la langue, Aulu-Gelle est partisan d'une rationalite particuliere, qui redonne sa valeur a l'etymologie (auparavant bannie, depuis longtemps, de l'ars grammatica traditionnelle) et qui, en specialiste raffine du langage (il a ses sources exclusives et "cultivees") se situe lui-meme en dehors de la tradition de la grammaire scolaire et propose une recherche sur la, langue fondee sur differents criteres d'appreciation, le premier en etant la connaissance de l'histoire des mots depuis les auteurs les plus anciens jusqu'a la langue contemporaine.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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