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Sicilicissitat (Plautus, Menaechmi 12) and Early Geminate Writing in Latin (with an Appendix on Men. 13)

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image of Mnemosyne

1. The morphologically anomalous word sicilicissitat in v. 12 of Plautus' Menaechmi is, I argue, a Joycean 'portmanteau', or punning composite word coined for the nonce, meaning, simultaneously, the plot (i) 'affects a Sicilian atmosphere', from the Greek verb σικελιζειν, and (ii) 'is double' or 'counts twice', from the Latin noun sicilicus, a diacritical mark which served as a nota for gemination of consonants. 2. Although the evidence is inconclusive, I suggest that, on the strength of the pun, we can retrodate the period in which sicilici were used to the era before Ennius' arrival in Rome in 204 BC. 3. (Appendix) In Men. 13 read antēloquium, not antelogium.


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