The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1288 Thursday, 22 July 1999.
Date: Saturday, 17 Jul 1999 15:46:07 +0100
Subject: Re: Horatio
Syd Kasten said: 'To my eye Laertes seems more Greek than Roman -
Heracles, Hippocrates etc.'
Quite right, of course. I was thinking of Ovid as Shakespeare's possible
source - hence the 'Latinate' rather than 'Roman'. Greek sits better
alongside Ophelia, which Ruskin translated as 'serviceableness'.
' ... the Lithuanians of today use the the "ius" endings in names.
Lithuania is across the Baltic from Denmark. '
While taking your point about names like Vilnius, this would take
Shakespeare's knowledge into Russian territory (since Lithuania comes
much later). . Well, perhaps; but it seems unlikely, given the lack of
any speculation on this subject before and the obvious availability of
Roman 'Claudius'. As for the Polonius/Poland link, I still cannot
believe it - the character is given no Polish links in the play. Where
did the -ius suffixes in Lithuania come from, incidentally? Not Russia,
it seems, since Vilnius was called Vilna. Perhaps we need some Slavic
advice, though we are leaving Shakespeare behind.