Thursday 29 May 2014

Plurals of regional names

Catullus xlv. 21-22 (hendecasyllables; as Kroll)

unam Septimius misellus Acmen
mavolt quam Syrias Britanniasque:

'Poor Septimius prefers his Acme / to all the Syrias and Britains;' (Guy Lee)

[ 21 agmen codd., cf. ll. 1, 2, 23; Neither Ἀκμή or Ἄκμη in is LGPN; 22 Syriasque codd.]

For another Acme (a slave of Julia, involved with Herod and Antipater), see Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 17.134, 137, 139, 141, 145, 182, and 183 and De bello Judaico 1.641, 643, 645, and 661.

Syria and Britain - a hot topic in 55 BC - stand for wealthy territories.

Kroll cites Propertius 2.16.10 -
deinde, ubi consumpto restabit munere pauper,
    dic alias iterum naviget Illyrias!

- and xiv 18 for plural personal names, with Plautus Bacchides 649 and Kuehner-St. 1, 72.

The commentators' notes become somewhat circular. One Greek passage may be adduced, Hdt.3.160.1:
μᾶλλον ἢ Βαβυλῶνάς οἱ εἴκοσι πρὸς τῇ ἐούσῃ προσγενέσθαι
'rather than that twenty Babylons accrue to him in addition to the one that was already his'.

Plurals of personal names: many Mariuses were evident in Julius Caesar even as a boy (Plu.Caes.1.4).
δύο γὰρ Ἀντιόχους ὑπέθετο τοῦ βασιλέως υἱούς, ὄντος ἑνὸς τοῦ τότε συνεστρατευμένου
'For he supposed that there were two Antiochi there, sons of the king, whereas there was only one with him on this campaign'. (Plb.16.19.9)

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