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Slain by the Sword of Damocles

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Slain by the Sword of Damocles

Postby jsquiggles » Sat May 28, 2005 10:21 pm

I have attempted to translate this and was looking for someone to bounce it off of. Please be as harsh as necessary.

This tyrant himself revealed that he was as fortunate as possible. For when a certain one of his flatterers, Damocles, was recalling his abundant rule of greatness, his abundant property, and was denying that anyone at anytime had ever been happier, Dionysius said, “You wish, therefore, O Damocles, for yourself to taste this life and my fortune to be tested?” When he had said that he wished it, he ordered the man to be placed on a golden couch and he adorned many tables with silver and gold. Then he ordered handsome boys to bring in an exquisite dinner. Damocles seemed a happy man to himself. At the same time, however, Dionysius ordered a sword above his head to be let down by a horsehair. Damocles, since he had seen the sword, fearfully begged the tyrant to permit him to leave, because now he wished not to be "fortunate." Does not Dionysius seem to have sufficiently demonstrated that nothing can be fortunate for the one which fear is threatening?

Thanks for the help.

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Postby jsquiggles » Mon May 30, 2005 1:15 pm

Sorry guys/gals here is the text I was translating from.

Hic tyrannus ipse demonstravit quam beatus esset. Nam cum quidam ex eius assentatoribus, Damocles, commemoraret copias eius, maiestatem dominatus, rerum abundantiam, negaretque quemquam umquam beatiorem fuisse, Dionysius "Visne igitur," inquit, "O Damocle, ipse hanc vitam degustare et fortunam meam experiri?" Cum ille se cupere dixisset, hominem in aureo lecto collocari iussit mensaque ornavit argento auroque. Tum pueros bellos iussit cenam exquisitissimam inferre. Fortunatus sibi Damocles videbatur. Eodem autem tempore Dionysius gladium supra caput eius saeta equina demitti iussit. Damocles, cum gladium videsset, timens oravit tyrannum ut ei abire liceret, quod iam "beatus" nollet esse. Satisne Dionysius videtur demonstravisse nihil esse ei beatum ciu semper aliqui metus impendeat?

I will be grateful for any help. Thanks. ~~j~~
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Postby elduce » Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:18 pm

I just translated this same passage. You've done well, though I think the first sentence is wrong:

Hic tyrannus ipse demonstravit quam beatus esset.

Here 'quam' means 'how', so I think it's "this tyrant himself did show how happy/blessed he was. (quam beatissimus would be "as happy as possible.")

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Postby jsquiggles » Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:06 pm

Thanks for the help!
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Postby benissimus » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:21 pm

copias eius, maiestatem dominatus must be "his troops, the greatness of his rule". "his abundant rule of greatness" is not a possibility because copias does not mean "abundant" but abundances or troops, "greatness" (maiestatem) is not genitive so it cannot be "of greatness", and dominatus could not be the direct object unless plural which does not make much sense based on its meaning.

negaretque quemquam umquam beatiorem fuisse

"deny" is too defensive a word in English. It is usually better to translate as "said not", as in "and he said that not anyone had ever been more fortunate".

experiri is better translated "to experience" in this case. It is also deponent so it could never mean "to be tested" in a passive voice.

exquisitissimam is a superlative. I would say "a most exquisite dinner".

Other than that and elduce's comment, it looks good. You stayed away from literal translations in some of the parts which could sound odd in English, which is a good thing and opens the door to more stylistic translations.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby jsquiggles » Thu Jun 02, 2005 12:11 am

Thanks for the help again!
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