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Dosithée, Grammaire latine, texte établi, trad. et commenté par Guillaume Bonnet, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2005.
The Grammatica is a grammatical handbook composed at the end of the 4th c. by an otherwise unknown magister named Dositheus (see author entry); it is noteworthy because it includes an interlinear version of its content written in Greek. The work begins with a paragraph defining ars grammatica and the scope of the grammaticus’s knowledge: Ars grammatica est scientia emendati sermonis in loquendo et scribendo poematumque ac lectionis prudens praeceptum. Grammaticus est qui uniuscuiusque rei vim ac proprietatem potest explanare loquela. Artis grammaticae officium constat partibus quattuor: lectione, emendatione, enarratione, iudicio. Subsequently we find chapters dedicated to accents (§2-4), punctuation (§5), pronunciation (§6), letters (§7-10), and syllables (§11-13).
Next comes a long section on the eight parts of speech: after an introductory chapter (§14) come paragraphs on nouns and adjectives (§15-26), pronouns (§27-33), verbs (§34-8), adverbs (§39-44), prepositions (§45-51), conjunctions (§52-63), and interjections (§64). After the chapter on interjections, our manuscripts preserve a series of brief grammatical texts, as well as lists of Latin words and their Greek translations. None of these appears to be related to Dositheus’s Grammatica, and although they have been edited by Keil (GL 7.424.17 – 7.436.14) and Tolkiehn (§62-77), they are not included in Bonnet’s edition (2005: xxxi-xxxii).
The complete absence of a section dedicated to the vitia et virtutes orationis — an especially common feature of Latin grammatical treatises (cf. Baratin-Desbordes 1986) — and of paragraphs de pedibus, de barbarismo, de tropis, de schematibus, or of a similar type may result from the fact that Dositheus’s audience consisted of Greek students who already knew those concepts, which were common to both languages, from handbooks of Greek grammar (Bonnet 2005: xiii-xiv; contra Ferri 2007).
As mentioned in the author entry, the sources of the work can be traced to two distinct groups: a) the “Gewährsmann der Charisius-Gruppe” and the lost grammar of Cominianus; and b) Donatus and the “Donatus-Gruppe” (Bonnet 2000; Bonnet 2005: xiv-xvii). Comparison with its sources and grammars contemporary to it reveals that Dositheus’s work contains a rather limited number of unique ideas (Bonnet 205: xvii-xviii); these include: introducing a definition of grammaticus (§1); adding the category of nomina ominalia (§20); a section on enclitic pronominal particles—i.e. –que, -cumque, -dam, -dem, -piam (§30); and the so-called “theory of concession” (§53; cf. Bonnet 1999).
The chief defining attribute of the work is the presence of an interlinear version of the text in Greek that has a varied relationship to the Latin it purports to reproduce. The inclusion of both, however, allows Dositheus to utilize Greek technical terminology even in the Latin text, adapt Greek grammatical theories to Latin, and demonstrate the structural differences between the languages (cf. Lenoble, Swiggers, and Wouters 2000: 14-18).
The work is transmitted by three manuscripts that can be dated between the middle of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th c.; all were composed at the scriptorium at the monastary of St. Gallen. They are identified as: 1) ms. Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, 902 (S); 2) ms. Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 601 (M); and 3) ms. London, British Library, Harley 5642 (H). All three are descended from a lost archetype identified as x. Since a copy of Dositheus’s Grammatica was preserved at the Abbey of Bobbio (Genest 1996: 252, 257), Bonnet has postulated that the itinerant Irish monk Marcus—prior to settling for good in the cloister of St. Gallen—stopped at the monastary in northern Italy and produced a copy of Dositheus’s work for himself around 850. According to this theory, the book passed into the library of St. Gallen upon Marcus’s death and was used as the exemplar for codices S, M, and H (Bonnet 2005: xviii-xxix). [G. Cattaneo; tr. C. L. Caterine].