Fragment 500874



By reciprocal denomination are called

Original French:  Par reciprocque denomination ſont dictz

Modern French:  Par reciprocque denomination sont dictz


Par reciprocque denomination

Pline, XVIII, 3 : « Cognomina etiam prima inde: […] Pisons a pisendo, jam Fabiorum, Lentulorum, Ciceronum, ut quisque aliquod optime genus sereret».

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Le Tiers Livre. Edition critique. Michael A. Screech (b. 1926), editor. Paris-Genève: Librarie Droz, 1964.

reciprocal denomination

Ex homine remediorum primum maximae quaestionis et semper incertae est, polleantne aliquid verba et incantamenta carminum. quod si verum est, homini acceptum fieri oportere conveniat, sed viritim sapientissimi cuiusque respuit fides, in universum vero omnibus horis credit vita nec sentit. quippe victimas caedi sine precatione non videtur referre aut deos rite consuli. praeterea alia sunt verba inpetritis, alia depulsoriis, alia commendationis, videmusque certis precationibus obsecrasse summos magistratus et, ne quod verborum praetereatur aut praeposterum dicatur, de scripto praeire aliquem rursusque alium custodem dari qui adtendat, alium vero praeponi qui favere linguis iubeat, tibicinem canere, ne quid aliud exaudiatur, utraque memoria insigni, quotiens ipsae dirae obstrepentes nocuerint quotiensve precatio erraverit, sic repente extis adimi capita vel corda aut geminari victima stante. durat inmenso exemplo Deciorum patris filiique quo se devovere carmen, extat Tucciae Vestalis incesti deprecatio qua usa aquam in cribro tulit anno urbis DXVIIII. boario vero in foro Graecum Graecamque defossos aut aliarum gentium cum quibus tum res esset etiam nostra aetas vidit. cuius sacri precationem qua solet praeire XVvirum collegii magister si quis legat, profecto vim carminum fateatur, ea omnia adprobantibus DCCCXXX annorum eventibus. Vestales nostras hodie credimus nondum egressa urbe mancipia fugitiva retinere in loco precatione, cum, si semel recipiatur ea ratio et deos preces aliquas exaudire aut ullis moveri verbis, confitendum sit de tota coniectatione. prisci quidem nostri perpetuo talia prodidere, difficillimumque ex his etiam fulmina elici, ut suo loco docuimus.

Of the remedies derived from man, the first raises a most important question, and one never settled: have words and formulated incantations any effect? If they have, it would be right and proper to give the credit to mankind. As individuals, however, all our wisest men reject belief in them, although as a body the public at all times believes in them unconsciously. In fact the sacrifice of victims without a prayer is supposed to be of no effect; without it too the gods are not thought to be properly consulted. Moreover, there is one form of words for getting favourable omens, another for averting evil, and yet another for a commendation. We see also that our chief magistrates have adopted fixed formulas for their prayers; that to prevent a word’s being omitted or out of place a reader dictates beforehand the prayer from a script; that another attendant is appointed as a guard to keep watch, and yet another is put in charge to maintain a strict silence; that a piper plays so that nothing but the prayer is heard. Remarkable instances of both kinds of interference are on record: cases when the noise of actual ill omens has ruined the prayer, or when a mistake has been made in the prayer itself; then suddenly the head of the liver, or the heart, has disappeared from the entrails, or these have been doubled, while the victim was standing. There has come down to us a striking example of ritual in that with which the Deciia father and son, devoted themselves; extant too is the plea of innocence uttered by the Vestal Tuccia when, accused of unchastity, she carried water in a sieve, in the year of the City six hundred and nine. Our own generation indeed even saw buried alive in the Cattle Market a Greek man and a Greek woman, and victims from other peoples with whom at the time we were at war. The prayer used at this ceremony is wont to be dictated by the Master of the College of the Quindecimviri, and if one reads it one is forced to admit that there is power in ritual formulas, the events of eight hundred and thirty years showing this for all of them. It is believed today that our Vestal virgins by a spell root to the spot runaway slaves, provided they have not left the City bounds, and yet, if this view is once admitted, that the gods hear certain prayers, or are moved by any form of words, the whole question must be answered in the affirmative. Our ancestors, indeed, reported such wonders again and again, and that, most impossible of all, even lightning can be brought by charms from the sky, as I have mentioned on the proper occasion.

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 8: Books 28–32. William Henry Samuel Jones (1876–1963), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1956. 28.03. Loeb Classical Library

Par reciprocque denomination

Ravisius Textor, Officina, «Denominationes a naturalibus seu accidentariis casibus» : «Pisones a pisis leguminibus, quae optime serebant, ut Fabii a fabis, Lentuli a lente, Cicerones a cicere.»

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Le Tiers Livre. Edition critique. Jean Céard, editor. Librarie Général Français, 1995. p. 456.

reciprocque denomination

Rabelais, François (ca. 1483–1553), Œuvres complètes. Mireille Huchon, editor. Paris: Gallimard, 1994. p. 505, n. 8.



Posted 10 February 2013. Modified 4 July 2017.

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