The Language of Pliny the Elder

Harm Pinkster

in Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263327
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734168 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Language of Pliny the Elder

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This chapter suggests that long sentences need not be ‘periods’. It also aims to take Pliny seriously in his own right and shows a few characteristics of his language in the light of his general aims. Pliny’s work covers a broad range of topics, some of which were more accessible for his audience than others, some of which were known in more detail in his time than others, and some of which human participants were more involved than in others. Although Pliny clearly views nature from the perspective of its significance for human beings, his text is nevertheless the largest work in Latin that is not chiefly anthropocentric in its subject matter, and therefore a welcome source for statistically ‘deviant’ linguistic structures. The chapter then addresses a few features of Pliny’s language that are not, or are less, determined by his subject matter. The overall organization of the material is very careful, down to the smallest detail.

Keywords: Pliny; language; Latin; long sentences; linguistic structures

Chapter.  8280 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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