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EPITHETS

AND

A STUDY IN VERGIL'S AENEID

By NICHOLAS MOSELEY

Professor of Classics in Albertus Magnus College

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CHARACTERS AND EPITHETS

A Dissertation presented to

the Faculty of the Graduate School
of Yale University,

in Candidacy for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy, 1925

Printed in Great Britain

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EPITHETS

T

HE ancient grammarians and rhetoricians used Tò éπíberov and its Latin transliteration, epithetum, or translation, appositum, in the sense in which we use the word adjective. In this they have been followed by the majority of modern lexicographers and writers on style. In fact the German word Beiwort may mean either adjective or epithet. Adjectives (or epithets) admit of division into classes; the usual division is into two classes, "necessary" and "ornamental." The former are defined as those which convey information; the latter as those which merely state some fact or quality already apparent in the object described. As examples of the latter Quintilian (VIII, vi, 40) gives "white teeth" and "liquid wine.

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The use of these adjectives with these words is different from their use with other words, as, for example, in the phrases "white sky" and "liquid gas." The difference, however, is not in the conveying of information, for in both cases the adjectives do this. Moreover whiteness is not a necessary quality in teeth nor liquidness in wine; the teeth might be yellow or the wine frozen. The distinguishing feature is that the adjectives are felt to express qualities characteristic of teeth or

wine.

This has been recognized in the New English Dictionary, which defines epithet as "(1) an adjective in

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