octonis vocibus

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by slideman, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. slideman Member

    English (UK)
    I've just encountered Peter Philips: Cantiones sacrae octonis vocibus (1613) [...in eight parts]. The same form "octonis" appears in other publications from what look like the same period. I'm puzzled by "octonis". From schooldays I had thought octo was invariable. Is "octonis vocibus" Renaissance Latin?
  2. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    In classical Latin, octonus is a distributive adjective and means eight each, eight at a time, by eight, in groups of eight. Your title could be interpreted using this definition, but in Medieval Latin the distributives were often used as numerals when somebody wanted to be fancy.
  3. slideman Member

    English (UK)
    Thanks. Meanwhile I've also found "quinis vocibus", also from 17C, so some consistency. At least some of these are in Flanders; meanwhile Italians generally seemed happy to write "a 5", "a 8" etc.

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