In Anselm's Cur Deus Homo, 1.9.12, he writes:

Verbum autem quod positum est, didicit, duobus modis intelligi potest. Aut enim didicit dictum est pro: alios fecit discere, aut quia, quod per scientiam non ignorabat, experimento didicit.

Deane's translation reads:

Now the word “didicit,” which is used, can be understood in two ways. For either “didicit” is written for this: he caused others to learn; or it is used, because he did learn by experience what he had an understanding of before.

However, these dual meanings don't appear to exist in Classical Latin: Lewis and Short's entry focuses almost exclusively on the "to learn" definition, and only mentions "to teach" extremely briefly as "Late Lat.," with no examples.

I'd like to know more specifically when this "to teach" meaning came about. Was it attested in Classical or Late Latin (i.e., before AD 500)? Or was it a relatively new meaning when Anselm was writing in the late 11th century?

1 Answer 1


Here's what I found in Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL; institutional subscription only):

IV i. q. docere. de hac confusione, quam praecipue in vulgari sermone obviam iam impugnare videtur

IS ID. diff. 1, 177 (v. p. 1331, 35 ), cf. Plasberg, Rhein. Mus. 54, 148 , ubi adde anglosax. learn pro teach: ANTH. 666, 28 comforta, revoca, corripe, -e (defendit Plasberg l. c., duce Bücheler ), mone. EXC. Lat. Barb. p. 268, 2 astrologica arte didicebatur (sic ).

As you can see from the entry above, there are some interesting examples:

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from Excerpta Latina Barbari (Garstad 2012 dates it around 692). Here's its English translation (Garstad 2012):

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  • Nice! I know others here can easily read this as is, but I know I at least would benefit from translation and/or summary of the content of these sources. Thanks! Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 22:39
  • 1
    @Nathaniel I added English translation by Garstad; if you want to read more about it, click on the link (to Harvard U Press).
    – Alex B.
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 1:20
  • @Alex Just out of curiosity, what kind of institution has this subscription? Are you from an university? (So I could know which university subscribed)
    – Quidam
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 9:49

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