Old ancient ancestors

Figure of speech. Responding to the professor's idea that Romans and English people are strangely preoccupied with hygiene, Lenehan ludicrously observes that our "Our old ancient ancestors, as we read in the first chapter of Guinness's, were partial to the running stream." Old ancient rhetoricians knew this kind of verbal piling-on as tautologia, the unnecessary repetition of the same idea in different words. Sometimes they referred to it instead as pleonasm. Aeolus contains several examples of such redundancy.

JH 2023

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