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The Childhood of Rome   By: (1869-1951)

The Childhood of Rome by Louise Lamprey

First Page:

[Illustration: Cover image]

[Illustration: Marcia wove her basket, putting a band of red around the curve.]

THE CHILDHOOD OF ROME By L. LAMPREY

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY EDNA F. HART HUBON

[Illustration: Printer's sign] BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 1925

Copyright, 1922, BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

All rights reserved

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

TO MAITLAND C. LAMPREY

INTRODUCTION

It is scarcely necessary to say that these stories are not meant to be taken as history, even legendary history. The tales of the founding of Rome and of the early life of the Italian races are many and contradictory. It is quite possible that future discoveries may disprove half the theories now held on these subjects. There must have been, however, heroic semi savage figures like the Romulus of the legends, and the aim of the author has been to re create in some degree the atmosphere and the surroundings in which they may have lived.

The various customs and events introduced here were not, probably, part of the history of one generation. It is possible, however, that as a tree grows from a seed, the laws of the future city were foreshadowed and suggested in the relations between the Romans as individuals and between the town on the Palatine and its neighbors.

It will be observed that the forms of Latin and Italian names used in these stories do not follow the usual classic Latin style and end in "us." It is said by some authors that the original immigrants from whose customs and traditions Roman civilization developed came from Greece, and in that case such Greek forms as "Vitalos" might have been preserved long after such clipped forms as "Marcus" and "Marcs" became current. Inasmuch as Italian peasant names hardly ever end in anything but a vowel it seems illogical to take it for granted that in a colony of farmers, such as the men who founded Rome, the names would all have taken the classical Latin form at first. They would have been much more likely to vary according to the ancestry, dialect and intelligence of the family. Later they would tend to a conventional form as certain families of distinction set a standard for others to follow and took pride in keeping their own speech correct.

In short, the period described here is a transition stage, and like any age of the founding of a new civilization, contains incongruous elements. It has been stated that even in the great days of the Roman Empire the number of people who actually spoke correct classical Latin was extremely small in proportion to the whole population of any city.

THE LIVING LANGUAGE

Sing a song of little words, homely parts of speech, Phrases children use at play, songs that mothers teach, Who would think when Rome was new, they used that language then Table, chair and family, map and chart and pen?

Sing a song of stately ways, camp and square and street, Consuls, tribunes, governors, the legion's myriad feet, If those wise men so long ago had not known what to say, All they gave us readymade we should not have to day.

Clear and straight and brief their talk in country or in town. Lucid, vivid, accurate the thoughts that they set down. Still the world is using words that bear the Roman stamp Coined in forum, villa, temple, market place or camp. Still our thoughts take day by day those shapes of long ago If you read the dictionary you will find it's so... Continue reading book >>




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