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An Eclipse Foretold

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An Eclipse Foretold

Postby phil » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:29 am

This is the first time I've come across an indirect speech of more than one sentence and there are one or two areas where I'm having problems. It could be that I don't understand indirect speech, or I'm just thick!

Castris permunitis, C Sulpicius Gallus, tribunus militum secondae legionis, qui praetor superiore fuerat, consulis permissu ad contionem militibus vocatis, pronuntiavit nocte proxima, ne quis pro portento acciperet, ab hora secunda usque ad quartam horam noctis lunam defecturam esse. Id, quia naturali ordine statis temporibus fiat, et sciri ante et praedici posse. Itaque quem ad modum, quia certi solis lunaeque et ortus et occasus sint, nunc pleno orbe, nunc senescentem exiguo cornu fulgere lunam non mirarentur, ita ne oscurari quidem, cum condatur umbra terrae trahere in prodigium debere. Nocte quam pridie nonas Septembris insecuta est dies, edita hora cum luna defecisset, Romanis militibus Galli sapientia prope divina videri; Macedonas ut triste prodigium, occasum regni perniciemque gentis portendens, movit, nec aliter vates. Clamor ululatusque in castris Macedonum fuit, donec luna in suam lucem emersit.


Once he had finished fortifying the camp, Sulpicius Gallus, a tribune of the second legion of soldiers, who had been a praetor (judge) the previous year, with the permission of the consul, and with the soldiers having been called to a meeting, (crunchy English, but I'm trying to get close to the Latin words) announced that during the next night, lest anyone take it as an omen, the moon would eclipse from the second right up to the fourth hour. And that it, because by regularity of nature would happen at the appointed times, to be able to be known and predicted beforehand. And so, no idea because the risings and settings of the sun and moon were certain, (and that) the moon would shine sometimes as a full disc, at others with a thin crescent as it waned, they should not wonder, in the same way, (they shouldn't wonder) even with it being obscured, something about it being hidden by the shadow of the earth. During the night which the day before the Nones of September followed , when the moon was eclipsed at the times predicted, the wisdom of Gallus to the Roman soldiers to seem (seemed) almost divine. It disturbs the Macedonians as a woeful portent, predicting the fall of the kingdom, and the ruin of the family (or possibly the race), and the prophets agreed. There was shouting and yelling in the Macedonian camp, until the moon reemerged and shone normally.

naturali ordine I can't get a nice translation of this phrase in my head. It's not because this eclipse will happen that they were able to predict them. It's the other way around, surely.

quem ad modum I've no idea what this means. whom to the way/method/limit?

cum condatur umbra terrae trahere in prodigium debere I think my problem is that the sentence is getting too long by this point, and I've lost the plot!

quam pridie nonas Septembris insecuta est dies Again, It's a night early in September, and the notes at the back of the book tell me it's the night before the 4th, but for the life of me I can't get that out of this phrase.

I look forward to your help
Phil
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Re: An Eclipse Foretold

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:02 am

For naturalis ordo, "natural order" is what I'd say. The idea is that since by the natural order it occurs at regular times, it can be known beforehand and predicted. About the extended indirect speech, I find it helpful when taking apart sentences to figure out which infinitive represents the main verb of the direct speech and work from there. In this sentence it's posse, basically "[he said that] since it..., it can be..."

In the next sentence, which is too long, the main verb is debere which directly governs trahere. quem ad modum, literally "to which way" (it's an example of how Latin puts the preposition between the adjective and the noun as in magna cum laude), means "how" as a question but here means "just as" and governs mirarentur. The structure of the sentence is "[he said that] therefore, just as they do not wonder that the moon..., since the risings and settings of the sun and moon are certain, so they should not ascribe even that the moon is obscured to an omen, when it is hidden by the shadow of the earth."

The date is just due to the crazy way Romans dated things. From A&G:
On the seventh day of March, May, July, and October, but the fifth of the other months, were the Nōnae (Nones or ninths).

And then you count backwards one day (pridie).

Just to mention, for videri, this isn't indirect speech because it's subject sapientia is in the nominative. In indirect speech, the subject is in the accusative, which you can't really see in this excerpt (id could be either and the subject is implicit in the second sentence). Also, movit is in the perfect tense so "disturbed."
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Re: An Eclipse Foretold

Postby phil » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:26 am

Thanks for that, but I have a question about the way the date is specified.

Nocte quam pridie nonas Septembris insecuta est dies, edita hora...

I looked at the back of the book to see what the notes said, and it said:

pridie etc. : this phrase, being a date, is in apposition with dies, as if it were nom., i.e. 'the day before the Nones.'

But how can a phrase with its noun in the acc. being in apposition with a noun in the nom.? ( I'm assuming that nonas is acc.) I thought that to be in apposition, the cases had to be the same. I was trying to make dies the subject of secuta est, and pridie nonas Septembris the object, and getting drivel. Now I get 'During the night which a day, the day before the 5th of September followed, at the announced time...', which I can massage into 'During the night which the 4th of September followed...', or better, 'During the night before the 4th...' Am I right?

This seems to be a very convoluted way of expressing a date. Is it common in Latin?
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Re: An Eclipse Foretold

Postby adrianus » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:15 am

You're right, indeed, phil. // Non erras, philippe, certé. "on the night which the day followed on the day before the 5th [id est, on the night before the 4th]"

The whole phrase "pridiè nonas" is a substantive (with pridie taking the accusative). "Pridiè nonas dies felix fuit."
Collocatio substantiva est "pridiè nonas", ubi "pridiè" adverbium casui accusativo servit.

When the nones are significant, it's not so convoluted; then, naturally you reckon time around them and remember from them,—a bit like "on the night of the day before Christmas Eve", or "on the night of the day before the day before my birthday". Of course, I find it unusual because I don't look forward to the nones every month.
Tàm gravitatem habent nonae quàm cotidiè tempus eis putas et, eo modo, res in memoriam faciliùs intrant. Cuidam qui sic facere solet non tortuosa est consuetudo; mihi autem qui nonas non exspecto, tempus sic putare adeò tortuosum. Aliter certè puto sicut ità: "nocte quam pridiè vigilia Natalis Christi secuta est dies".

I strictly ought not to say this, I think, to be perfectly clear: // Strictim, ut opinor, non dicam hoc, si ambiguitatem evitem:
"nocte diei [quae] pridiè vigilia Natalis Christi [est]"

In English also it isn't always clear which end of the day we are talking about,—after midnight, the night of one day extends into the next day, confusingly! "On the night of the 10th at 2am (in the morning of the 11th)!?!?!?!?"
Etenim et anglicè non clarum est utrum de principio an de fine diei loquamur, cum nox post meridiem suum in alteram diem porrigat, quod confundit.

Nota benè: If I say two nights before my birthday, am I including the night that extends into my birthday?
Si dico "duae noctes ante diem natalis mei", includone illam noctem quae in diem natalis porrigit?
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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