The paper offers a survey of the relation to the past in the thought and prac- tice of the Latin grammarians. Some preliminary considerations are offered on the exegetical tendency of ancient grammar and on how this is reflected in the diversi- fied selection of the so-called idonei auctores, addressing also the increasing preva- lence, in the regulation of linguistic usage, of reference to moderni auctores beside documenting consuetudo vetus. Beginning from the general study of all the attesta- tions in the Corpus grammaticorum of the abstract nouns vetustas and antiquitas (and more analytically of the instances of the connected adverbs antique, vetuste and antiquitus), the study documents their much greater rarity compared to the em- pirical notices on specific uses attributed to the veteres and/or to the antiqui; there is a clear predominance of a rather limited sense of the two abstract nouns, associated with concepts such as licentia, abusio and confusio. After an excursus on the very dif- ferent conception of the relation between antiquitas and vetustas in Varro (perhaps inherited from him by the orthographic writers), some passages are re-examined in relation to this point – not without textual proposals and original exegesis. These are passages in which it has been held that we find a reference to vetustas among the qualifying criteria for Latinitas. In Quint. inst. 1.6.1–3 the reference to vetustas, far from being elevated to a criterion of linguistic correctness, should rather be interpret- ed as a specific reference to the ornamentum eloquentiae. From the analysis of the parallel passages in Charisius p. 61.16–63.16 B. and Diomedes GL I 439.14–30, it be- comes clear that the reference in the latter to the veterum lectio does not derive from the nearest common source (Pliny or Caper), but is the result of an insert, moving from a detail of the different doctrine of Latinitas that emerges from definitions going go back to Scaurus by Maximus Victorinus (GL VI 189.3ff.) + Audax (GL VII 322.21ff.) + Ars Augustini (p. 1 B.) + Excerpta Andecavensia (p. 246.149ff. D.N.). As for this scaurine doctrine, the paper critically edits and evaluates a new and de- tailed testimony drawn from a hitherto unedited section of the Explanationes in Do- natum. This confirms, among other things, the important distinction between the two scopes of the reference to veteres in the grammarians: the first more ‘erudite’ one, effectively limited to high Republican authors, the other more ‘ecumenical’, which extends so far as to embrace also the classics of Augustan poetry. Finally a selection of illustrative passages is presented with commentary, showing the necessary link to consuetudo vetus implicit in the grammarians’ constant attention to various aspects of dubius sermo. The paper ends with the discussion of a passage of Diomedes (GL I 400.1– 401.9), which attests that interest in the theme, already recurring in Horace, of Latin’s evolution as language has also contributed not a little to keeping alive in the grammatical tradition the reference to the linguistic freedom of the veteres.
Mario, D.N. (2017). "Vetustas" e "antiquitas", "veteres" e "antiqui" nei grammatici latini. In S. Rocchi, & C. Mussini (a cura di), "Imagines Antiquitatis". Representations, Concepts, Receptions of the Past in Roman Antiquity and Early Italian Renaissance (pp. 213-247). Berlin/Boston : De Gruyter.