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A few questions on Chap. 23

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A few questions on Chap. 23

Postby zhongv1979 » Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:53 pm

I have some difficulties translating the Laocoon article in Chap. 23. My translation is as such:


"Suppressed by the long war and diverted from the gods, the leaders of the Greeks, now after ten years, make a huge wooden horse with the art of Athena. They fill its belly with many foot solders, and abandon the horse in the shore. and sail beyond the nearby island. The Trojans see no troops nor warships; every Trojan is joyful; they have their ports opened. However, the Trojans are uncertain about the horse. Some wants it to be carried to the city; some call it a Greek plot. Being the first person there before every one, Laocoon, the Trojan priest, running from the citadel, says these words: "O my wretched citizens, you are not sane! What are you thinking about? Do you not understand the Greeks and their plots? Either you will find many fierce foot soldiers in that horse, or the horse is a machine of war, which is made against us, and will come into the city, spy on our houses and people. Or something is hiding. Do not trust this horse, Trojans: whatever it is, I fear the Greeks and the gifts they brought." He said these, and threw a strong spear to the uterus of the horse with great strength of his right hand. It stands still, but trembling."

There has been certain sentences I am not sure about:

1. Primus ibi ante omnes, de arce currens, Laocoon, sacerdos Troianus, haec verba dicit...

What does the first part mean? I think it means Laocoon was the first to be there before every one else.. Is that right?

2. ... timeo Danaos et dona gerentes!

It appears that both Danaos and dona are the object of "timeo" (I fear). However, how to explain "gerentes"? Literally it means "that is giving", but it sounds nonsense here...

3. Dixit, et potentem hastam magnis viribus manus sinistrae in uterum equi iecit; stetit illa, tremens.

Here "stetit" should mean "it (the horse) stands still". However, how to explain "illa" here? It could either be singular feminine or plural neutral, but I cannot find anything that could refer to in this sentence.

Or maybe I totally got the whole thing wrong here. This "illa" means the "hasta"? Then this makes a lot of more sense to me now. So is it the spear that stands still and trembling? This sounds right to me.
zhongv1979
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Postby Dacicus » Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:28 am

First, a disclaimer: Unfortunately, I haven't practiced my Latin in quite a while. Anything that I say will be based solely on the saved documents of my work from Wheelock's, since I don't have access to the textbook at the moment.

zhongv1979 wrote:What does the first part mean? I think it means Laocoon was the first to be there before every one else.. Is that right?
That's how I translated it.

zhongv1979 wrote:It appears that both Danaos and dona are the object of "timeo" (I fear). However, how to explain "gerentes"? Literally it means "that is giving", but it sounds nonsense here...
I translated that part as I fear the Greeks even carrying gifts. This is the thing about which I am least confident from anything that I will write in this post, though.

zhongv1979 wrote:Here "stetit" should mean "it (the horse) stands still".
Stetit is a perfect active indicative, so it should be translated as it stood still.

zhongv1979 wrote:This "illa" means the "hasta"?
Illa is either feminine or neuter, but equi is masculine, so illa can't mean the horse. Of the feminine and neuter nouns in the sentence (hastam, viribus, manus, and uterum), I think it makes the most sense for illa to refer to the spear.
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