Poetic License and the Music of Your Ear: Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, 13.21

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

The fact that more attention is paid by the best writers to the rather pleasing sound of words and phrases—what the Greeks call euphony—instead of rules and custom, things revealed by grammarians

“When Probus Valerius was once asked-and I heard this story from one of his close friends—whether has Urbis or has urbes was correct or hanc turrim or hanc turrem, he said “If you are creating verse or you are writing out prose and you need to use these words, don’t listen to the pedantic and specific precepts of grammarians; but heed your own ear for whichever solution it prefers. What pleases it, that will certainly be the most correct.

When his friend asked in turn “What do you mean “heed my ear”?” And Probus is said to have responded “In the same way that Vergil mixed things up, so he wrote in different places urbis and urbes

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