Varro, On the Latin Language

LCL 333: 230-231

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62. Si dico quid <sciens1 ne>scienti,2 quod ei3 quod ignoravit trado, hinc doceo declinatum vel quod cura docemus4 dicimus vel quod qui docentur inducuntur5 in id quod docentur. Ab eo quod scit ducere6 qui est dux aut ductor; <hinc7 doctor>8 qui ita inducit, ut doceat. Ab ducendo9 docere disciplina discere litteris commutatis paucis. Ab eodem principio documenta, quae exempla docendi causa dicuntur.

63. Disputatio et computatio e1 propositione putandi, quod valet purum facere; ideo antiqui purum putum appellarunt; ideo putator, quod arbores puras facit; ideo ratio putari dicitur, in qua summa fit pura: sic is sermo in quo pure disponuntur verba, ne sit confusus atque ut diluceat, dicitur disputare.

64. Quod dicimus disserit item translati<ci>o1 aeque2 ex agris verbo: nam ut holitor disserit in areas sui cuiusque generis res, sic in oratione qui facit, disertus. Sermo, opinor, est a serie, unde serta; etiam in vestimento sartum, quod comprehensum:


On the Latin Language, VI

62. If I dico ‘say’ something that I know to one who does not know it, because I trado ‘hand over’ to him what he was ignorant of, from this is derived doceoa ‘I teach,’ or else because when we docemus ‘teach’ we dicimus ‘say,’ or else because those who docentur ‘are taught’ inducuntur ‘are led on’ to that which they docentur ‘are taught.’ From this fact, that he knows how ducere ‘to lead,’ is named the one who is dux ‘guide’ or ductor ‘leader’; from this, doctor ‘teacher,’ who so inducit ‘leads on’ that he docet ‘teaches.’ From ducere ‘to lead,’ come docere ‘to teach,’ disciplinab ‘instruction,’ discere ‘to learn,’ by the change of a few letters. From the same original element comes documenta ‘instructive examples,’ which are said as models for the purpose of teaching.

63. Disputatio ‘discussion’ and computatio ‘reckoning,’ from the general idea of putare, which means to make purum ‘clean’; for the ancients used putum to mean purum. Therefore putator ‘trimmer’, because he makes trees clean; therefore a business account is said putari ‘to be adjusted,’ in which the sum is pura ‘net.’ So also that discourse in which the words are arranged pure ‘neatly,’ that it may not be confused and that it may be transparent of meaning, is said disputare ‘to discuss’ a problem or question.

64. Our word disserita is used in a figurative meaning as well as in relation to the fields: for as the kitchen-gardener disserit ‘distributes’ the things of each kind upon his garden plots, so he who does the like in speaking is disertus ‘skilful.’ Sermo ‘conversation,’ I think, is from series ‘succession,’ whence serta ‘garlands’; and moreover in the case of a garment sartum ‘patched,’ because it is held together: for

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.varro-latin_language.1938