Title Background

Langland’s Use of the Term <i>Ex vi transicionis</i>.

Langland’s Use of the Term Ex vi transicionis.

The terminology of regimen, a system for analyzing syntax which developed during the twelfth century, in which parts of speech are said to govern cases by various forces, was widely used in texts taught in English grammar schools during WL’s time. The term ex vi transicionis, referring specifically to the syntactic relationship of direct objects governed by verbs, would not have been obscure to WL’s audience, though the term, metaphorical in itself, lends itself to the metaphoric use made of it by the poet to describe God and Christian ethics. Implicit in the phrase are the notions of transaction and transition, which are represented in Patience’s riddle (B.13.151-72) as the conversants discuss “how to treat their fellow man (transaction) and how to get to heaven (transition).”