M. Terenti Varronis De Lingua Latina
De Disciplina Originum Verborum ad Ciceronem
liber iiii explicit; incipit
I. 1. Quemadmodum vocabula essent imposita rebus in lingua Latina, sex libris exponere institui. De his tris ante hunc feci quos Septumio misi: in quibus est de disciplina, quam vocant ἐτυμολογικήν1: quae contra ea<m>2 dicerentur, volumine primo, quae pro ea, secundo, quae de ea, tertio. In his ad te scribam, a quibus rebus vocabula imposita sint in lingua Latina, et ea quae sunt in consuetudine apud <populum et ea quae inveniuntur apud>3 poetas.
2. Cum1 unius cuiusque verbi naturae sint duae, a qua re et in qua re vocabulum sit impositum
Marcus Terentius Varro’s on the Latin Language
On the Science of the Origin of Words, addressed to Cicero
book iv ends here, and here begins
I. 1. In what way names were applied to things in Latin, I have undertaken to expound, in six books.a Of these, I have already composed threeb before this one, and have addressed them to Septumiusc; in them I treat of the branch of learning which is called Etymology. The considerations which might be raised against it, I have put in the first book; those adduced in its favour, in the second; those merely describing it, in the third. In the following books, addressed to you,d I shall discuss the problem from what things names were applied in Latin, both those which are habitual with the ordinary folk, and those which are found in the poets.
2. Inasmuch as each and every word has two innate features, from what thing and to what thing
- aBooks II.–VII.; Book I. was introductory.
- bBooks II.–IV.
- cQuaestor to Varro, cf. vii. 109; but when or where is not known. Possibly he was the writer on architecture mentioned by Vitruvius, de Arch. vii. praef. 14, and even the composer of the Libri Observationum mentioned by Quintilian, Inst. Orat. iv. 1. 19.
- dCicero, to whom Varro addresses the balance of the work, Books V.–XXV., written apparently in 47–45 b.c.