Other Errors

The Latin text is also available.

Along with barbarism and solecism there are 12 errors which can be named in this way: barbarism, solecism, acyrologia, cacemphaton, pleonasm, perissology, macrology, tautology, eclipse, tapinosis, cacosyntheton, amphiboly.

1. Acyrologia is speech which does not fit together, as

hunc ego si potui tantum sperare dolorem
`if I have been able to hope for so much grief' (Aeneid 4.419); sperare she said for timere `to fear'.

2. Cacemphaton is a vulgar utterance either in connected discourse or in one word, as numerum cum navibus aequet `equal in number to his ships' (Aeneid 1.193), arrige aures Pamphile `prick up your ears, Pamphilus!' (Terence, Andr. 5.4.30 [Loeb l. 937]). [These involve words which are offensive to some, though they are perfectly admissible in discourse, Tr.]

3. Pleonasm is the addition of words useless for full meaning, as sic ore locuta est `thus he spoke with his mouth' (Aeneid 1.614) for sic locuta est.

4. Perissologia is the useless addition of words without any referent, as

ibant qua poterant, qua non poterant non ibant.
`they went wherever they could and where they could not, they did not go'.

5. Macrologia is a long sentence containing unnecessary things, such as

legati non inpetrata pace retro, unde venerant, domum reversi sunt
`the ambassadors not having obtained peace they returned back home, from whence they had come'.

6. Tautology is a faulty repetition of phrases, such as `me, myself and I'.

7. Eclipse is the lack of some needed phrase, which the sentence is missing, as haec secum `this to herself'; `she said' is lacking.

8. Tapinosis is weakening (belittling) of a great thing by a statement which is ineffective (does not measure up), as

penitusque cavernas ingentes uterumque armato milite complent
`deep in the paunch fill the huge cavern with armed soldiery' (Aeneid 2.19), and Dulichias vexasse rates `harried the Ithacan barks' (Eclogues 6.76), and
Pelidae stomachum cedere nescii
`Pelides' unyielding stomach' (Horace, Odes 1.6.6 = Achilles' anger).

9. Cacosyntheton is a faulty composition of sentences, as versaque iuvencum terga fatigamus hasta `and with spear reversed we prick the flanks of the oxen [at first you can't tell which goes with which]' (Aeneid 9.609).

10. Amphiboly is ambiguity in sentences, which is done either through the accusative case, as if someone said: audio secutorem retiarium superasse `I hear shield-man conquered net-man / or vice versa'; or by a passive, e.g. criminatur Cato `Cato stands accused / accuses', vadatur Tullius `Cicero is hauled into court / hauls into court', and does not add whom or by whom; or through distinction, as vidi statuam auream hastam tenentem `I saw a golden statue holding a spear / I saw a statue holding a golden spear'. It also comes about through homonymy, as when someone says aciem `point' and does not add `of the eye [= pupil]' or `of the squadron' or `of iron'. It also comes about in many other ways which we do not need to go through, lest things become too boring.

On Metaplasm

Metaplasm is the transformation of a well-formed utterance into a different form by reason of metrics or for embellishment. There are fourteen types: prothesis, epenthesis, paragoge, aphaeresis, syncope, apocope, ectasis, systole, diaeresis, episynaloephe, synaloephe, ecthlipsis, antithesis, metathesis.

1. Prothesis is the addition to the beginning of a word of a letter or a syllable, as gnato for nato, tetulit for tulit.

2. Epenthesis is an addition in the middle of a word of a letter or a syllable, as relliquias for reliquias, induperator for imperator. Some call this epenthisis, others parenthesis.

3. Paragoge is the addition to the end of a word of a letter or a syllable, as magis for mage, and potestur for potest. Some call this prosparalepsis.

4. Aphaeresis is the removal of the beginning of a word, the opposite of prothesis, as mitte for omitte, temno for contemno

5. Syncope is removal from the middle of a word, the opposite of epenthesis, as audacter for audaciter, commorat for commoverat.

6. Apocope is removal from the end of a word, the opposite of paragoge, as Achilli for Achillis and pote for potest.

7. Ectasis is the stretching out of a syllable contrary to the nature of the word, as Italiam fato profugus, since Italia ought to be said [with a] short [i].

8. Systole is shortening, the opposite of ectasis, as aquosus Orion, since Orion ought to be said with a long first o.

9. Diaresis is the splitting of one syllable into two, as:

olli respondit rex Albai longai
`the king of Alba Longa answered him' (Ennius, Annals 1.31 [Ennius was kind of like those who say Ellinois for Illinois])

10. Episynaloephe is the gathering of two syllables into one, the opposite of diaeresis, as Phaethon for Phaëthon, Nerei for Nerëi, aeripedem for aëripedem.

11. Synaloephe is a slippery and kind of soft bringing together of competing vowels, as:

atque ea diversa penitus dum parte geruntur
`and while such things were done in far off parts' (Aeneid 9.1). This is called by some syncrisis.

12. Ecthlipsis is a difficult or hard coming together of consonants vying harshly with vowels, as:

multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
`much buffeted on land and from above' (Aeneid 1.3).

13. Antithesis is the substitution of letter for letter, as olli for illi.

14. Metathesis is the carrying of a letter into another place, but nothing removed from the word, as Evandre for Evander, Thymbre for Thymber.

[The translation, particularly of the examples, is quite difficult in this section, not because I did not understand the Latin, but because one needs context to understand the examples, e.g. an explanation of the Trojan Horse under tapinosis. Note that Donatus was aware that there were other people who used other terms, and that many of his definitions do not hold today, as in the case of antithesis. Some wrote that they could not find the examples, so I have added references to Loeb where needful (necessarium). -- Jim Marchand.