L. Danckaert, The Development of Latin Clause Structure. A Study of the Extended Verb Phrase

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Lieven Danckaert, The Development of Latin Clause Structure. A Study of the Extended Verb Phrase, Oxford-New York, 2017.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
Collection : Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics
384 pages
ISBN : 9780198759522
70 £


This book examines Latin word order, and in particular the relative ordering of i) lexical verbs and direct objects (OV vs VO) and ii) auxiliaries and non-finite verbs (VAux vs AuxV). In Latin these elements can freely be ordered with respect to each other, whereas the present-day Romance languages only allow for the head-initial orders VO and AuxV. Lieven Danckaert offers a detailed, corpus-based description of these two word order alternations, focusing on their diachronic development in the period from c. 200 BC until 600 AD. The corpus data reveal that some received wisdom needs to be reconsidered: there is in fact no evidence for any major increase in productivity of the order VO during the eight centuries under investigation, and the order AuxV only becomes more frequent in clauses with a modal verb and an infinitive, not in clauses with a BE-auxiliary and a past participle. The book also explores a more fundamental question about Latin syntax, namely whether or not the language is configurational, in the sense that a phrase structure grammar (with 'higher-order constituents' such as verb phrases) is needed to describe and analyse Latin word order patterns. Four pieces of evidence are presented that suggest that Latin is indeed a fully configurational language, despite its high degree of word order flexibility. Specifically, it is shown that there is ample evidence for the existence of a verb phrase constituent. The book thus contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the status of configurationality as a language universal.

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D. Lenfant (éd.), Pseudo-Xénophon, Constitution des Athéniens, texte établi, traduit et commenté

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Dominique Lenfant (éd.), Pseudo-Xénophon, Constitution des Athéniens, texte établi, traduit et commenté, Paris, 2017.

Éditeur : Les Belles Lettres
Collection : Collection des Universités de France
443 pages
ISBN : 978-2-251-00618-5
45 €

La Constitution des Athéniens est un pamphlet contre la démocratie athénienne, rédigé à la fin du Ve siècle av. J.-C., à l'époque où Périclès faisait au contraire l'éloge de ce régime. Longtemps attribuée à tort à Xénophon, elle est due à un Athénien anonyme de la classe supérieure, partisan d'un régime oligarchique, que les modernes surnomment parfois « le vieil oligarque ». L'auteur dénonce la démocratie comme un régime injuste, dont les victimes sont les riches, les bien nés, ceux qu'il appelle « les honnêtes gens » et qui sont les mieux qualifiés pour gouverner, tandis que les « fripons », les pauvres, la masse profitent d'un système qui vise à leur seul profit. L'opuscule détaille les spécificités du régime et ses conséquences pour les uns et les autres. Il présente la démocratie athénienne comme un régime immoral, mais très cohérent. Considéré par les historiens actuels comme une œuvre majeure, il est une mine d'informations sur la démocratie athénienne, son fonctionnement et les attaques dont elle a fait l'objet.

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R. Burns, Origins of the Colonnaded Streets in the Cities of the Roman East

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Ross Burns, Origins of the Colonnaded Streets in the Cities of the Roman East, Oxford-New York, 2017.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
432 pages
ISBN : 9780198784548
100 £

 

The colonnaded axes define the visitor's experience of many of the great cities of the Roman East. How did this extraordinarily bold tool of urban planning evolve? The street, instead of remaining a mundane passage, a convenient means of passing from one place to another, was in the course of little more than a century transformed in the Eastern provinces into a monumental landscape which could in one sweeping vision encompass the entire city.
The colonnaded axes became the touchstone by which cities competed for status in the Eastern Empire. Though adopted as a sign of cities' prosperity under the Pax Romana, they were not particularly 'Roman' in their origin. Rather, they reflected the inventiveness, fertility of ideas and the dynamic role of civic patronage in the Eastern provinces in the first two centuries under Rome.
This study will concentrate on the convergence of ideas behind these great avenues, examining over fifty sites in an attempt to work out the sequence in which ideas developed across a variety of regions-from North Africa around to Asia Minor. It will look at the phenomenon in the context of the consolidation of Roman rule.

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