On the interpretation of Cicero, De Republica

Classical Quarterly 48 (02):564- (1998)
Apropos congregatio Zetzel remarks ‘the metaphor is qualified by quasi…, as it more properly refers to animals rather than men’. It seems doubtful, however, that in general the -grego compounds were at this date felt as vividly metaphorical: segrego is used of human beings as early as Plautus and Terence ; aggrego is commonly so used by Cicero . Moreover, our passage is the first attestation of congregatio. Cicero uses the word three times in De Finibus , of which the latter two passages also refer to human beings but are without quasi. Hence the use of quasi in our passage is likely to be related above all to the newness of the term, albeit the etymology may be more strongly felt in a new coinage. Cf. TLL 4, 288.26ff
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800039367
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