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I have fixed on the period of the birth of each writer, to enable the reader at a glance to see the interval between one and another. Where the exact date of the birth is unknown, I have taken the probable date, resulting from known events. For instance, I have fixed the birth of Aristophanes at 456 B. C. Not that the exact year of his birth is known ; but his first comedy was presented B. C. 426, at which time he may have been thirty years old : taking him to be seventy when he died (B. C. 386), would bring us to exactly the same date for his birth. The quotations from the early grammarians are not always from extant editions of their works, but often from later writers, who cite them, and must therefore be presumed to have read them. When Eustathius, for instance, informs us how Aristarchus pronounced a word, I consider this to be good evidence of the proper pronunciation in the time of Aristarchus, though I am not able to produce the work from which the citation is made.
I do not think it necessary to enter upon critical inquiry into the merits of these writers, nor how far tbey varied in style or in judgement : it will surely be conceded to the Greek writers at least, that they knew how their own language was pronounced. Of the Latin writers cited, there is not one whose works do not show that he was well read in Greek. But as more extensive citations will be made from Quinctilian than
from any other author, it may not be amiss to give a short account of him.
Quinctilian was born about the time of the Emperor Claudius, either at Rome, or more probably in Spain. It is however clear, that he was educated at Rome, that he pleaded causes there, and that he taught a school of rhetoric, with a degree of reputation which caused him to be selected as the teacher of part of the imperial family. He is supposed to have commenced his celebrated work on the education of an orator about the 47th year of his age: he certainly finished it about a century before the period which we have fixed upon as the era at which the purity of the Greek language may be assumed to have begun to decline. The fashion at Rome at that time was to cultivate Greek in their schools, either in conjunction with their native tongue, or sometimes even in exclusion of it. Quinctilian's accurate knowledge of Greek literature might safely therefore have been inferred from his celebrity as a teacher, had it not shone forth as it does through every page of his masterly work. Imbued as he was with Greek learning, in daily communication as he must have been with Greek rhetoricians and grammarians, and constantly turning his mind to a comparison between the structure, the genius, the merits, and defects of the two languages, writing with a knowledge of the world, which is only acquired by taking part in the business of the world, and with that accuracy which is learned only by teaching, he may fairly be cited as an authority second only to Aristotle himself. But even supposing any doubt among scholars as to the purity of his taste or the accuracy of his judgement, it seems at least impossible to question his knowledge of the pronunciation of the Greek language, which prevailed during the first century among well-educated persons; and on this point alone will he be cited in the following pages. I quote from the Oxford edition, “ Marci Fabii Quincti. liani de Institutione Oratoria, Libri duodecim, juxta editionem Gottingensem Johannis Matthiæ Gesner,” 1806. Each book is divided into sections, and each section into paragraphs. I. 6. 10, means the first book, sixth section, tenth paragraph.
INQUIRY CONFINED TO ATTIC DIALECT. 4. It now only remains to be ascertained to what dialect our observations are to apply, or whether a separate inquiry is to be instituted as to each. The Greek language is divided into two great dialects, and these again subdivided each into two, so that we may sometimes find the same word written and pronounced four different ways, accordingly as it appears in an Ionic, Æolic, Attic, or Doric writer. It is not intended to pursue this inquiry with respect to all these dialects, but to limit it to the Attic, because that dialect seems by the common consent of the Greeks themselves to have been considered as having been carried to a higher degree of purity and perfection than any of the other three; and because by far the larger proportion of the works now extant are Attic. The Alexandrian grammarians especially, from whom the best information on our present subject is derived, wrote mainly with reference to that dialect. But though for the sake of precision the Attic dialect be fixed on so as to exclude others where they differ from it, there are so many points where they all agreed, that an inquiry into one will throw light upon the others. Indeed with regard to the pronunciation of each particular letter, it may be doubted whether all the dialects did not agree; for if they had not, though their pronunciation was different, their orthography would perhaps have been the same. What the Attics called ημέρα the Dorians called αμέρα, and so wrote it ; which makes it probable, not that the Dorians pronounced the letter H in a different manner from the Attics, for, if they had, they would have retained the word nuépa in their writings; but that they gave to the first syllable of the word a specific sound, which both they and the Attics represented by the letter A. If this be the case, any general observations on the mode of pronouncing the letter H by the Attics will be equally true of the Dorians, though it may still be true that the Dorians often substituted the A for it; where, however, the orthography being the same the dialects differed in pronunciation,
if ever they did so differ, I shall consider my observations as confined to the Attic method of pronunciation, and reject the other, not as being wrong, for strictly there can be no right or wrong in such things, but as being simply different from the more widely received and more perfect dialect. It should be further observed that the pronunciation to which alone our inquiry ought to refer, is that of well-educated men, according to Quinctilian's rule,“ Consuetudinem sermonis vocabo consensum eruditorum; sicut vivendi, consensum bonorum."-I. 6. 45. I doubt whether some critics, particularly among the modern Greeks, have sufficiently attended to this distinction.
Having thus settled the period to which our inquiry is to extend, the degree of authority to be conceded to the authors who wrote during that period, and the dialect to which our observations will principally apply, I shall proceed to inquire, first into the pronunciation of the particular letters of the Greek alphabet; and, secondly, into the accentuation of words.
ANALOGY BETWEEN THE GREEK AND LATIN. 5. With respect to the pronunciation of the Greek letters, it is to be observed, that, in a case where so much precision is required, little light can be derived from general analogy between the Greek and Latin languages. Want of attention to this obvious truth has caused much perplexity. Ingenious scholars have, in many cases,