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Translation Help

Postby dhaaz » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:49 am

I'd heard a good amount about Giordano Bruno and his memory techniques, so I scrounged up an archive of some of his writings in Latin. I started out trying to read his De Umbris Idearum, but even with more than liberal use of the Words dictionary program, I found myself unable to read it, so I decided to attempt to translate it, which means that I have to at least attempt to understand the sentence before moving on. This has not be so successful as I had hoped, and though I have some idea of what's going on in the sections I have read (I'm just about done with the preliminary dialogue), I still don't quite know.

This is the first text I'm really working on solo; previously, I'd worked through the Ecce Romani series in high school and done some reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Catullus's poetry, and Juvenal's third satire. I'm surprised by the large use of -nd- verb forms (whose name escapes me), and frustrated by large numbers of words in oblique cases that just don't seem to mesh (or a lack of a word in the nominative, at times). One sentence particularly bothers me, and another should serve as an example; if any of you should be able to decipher it, I hope that it might aid me in understanding the rest of the text, which is why I ask about it here.

Leuiorum, vel lymphatorum vinorum vsus, ne venae hiantes vini vehementia sanguinem exurant.

My current translation is: The use of fickle, or deranged wines, so that veins wide open with wine violently burn up the blood.

I believe this is part of some enumeration on things to avoid in eating and drinking, but I'm not quite certain; it's in the middle of a large discourse by Logifer on something the learned Carpophorus of Proculus and Sabinum supposedly said. What annoys me is the vehementia: I cannot see, for the life of me, how it is connected to the rest of its clause. I could assume textual corruption and add an e at the end so that it might be taken to modify venae, but the location seems off for this. I could try to make it the subject of the phrase, but then the hiantes prevents me from dislodging venae.

Mitte poetas. sicut. n. pro locis scimus longas regibus esse manus, ita & attae longaeque pro locis atque temporibus poetis solent esse voces.

My current translation is: Send poets. Thus about the places do we know that long hands are to rulers, thus and fathers and long about the places and the times are accustomed to be voices for poets.

As you can see, my translation's incomprehensibility betrays my lack of comprehension of the Latin original. I suppose the n. that I've been seeing is short for nos (and perhaps also inflected forms, although that's irrelevant here), though I'm worried it could also be non, as that would completely alter the sense of the sentence. I simply cannot put these sentences together. Regibus would seem to modify locis, but it's all the way over there and braced by longas...manus, which makes me want it to fit in with those, but it doesn't.

Any help would be welcome.
dhaaz
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Jul 15, 2004 8:46 am

morning,
this latin is rather interesting.

Leuiorum, vel lymphatorum vinorum vsus, ne venae hiantes vini vehementia sanguinem exurant.

i would imagine this to be in an enumeration of things to be followed so as to keep the body in fine shape (and thus serve as an implicit instruction of what not to do), thus:

[one should engage in] the consumption of light or watered down wines to prevent one's veins bloating wide and inflaming the blood from the strength of a wine.

vehementia must be in the abl.; a slight variant (if the writer is employing rather poor latin) could run ...to prevent one's veins inflaming the blood in their greed for a wine's potency. such a varia lectio is unlikely, as there are better ways to construct this sentiment, and hiantes used figuratively of 'yearning for' is v. rare with the abl.

this one is rather more convoluted.

Mitte poetas. sicut. n. pro locis scimus longas regibus esse manus, ita & attae longaeque pro locis atque temporibus poetis solent esse voces.

forget the poets! just as we know that company is on occasion tiresome to rulers, so too is the voice wont to be tiresome on occasion to a ruler and to poets.

there are many issues with this sentence. firstly, i don't know the context, so the very first word is ambiguous. i think it best interpreted as 'dismiss' as opposed to the antithetical 'send for'. 'pro locis' is, i presume, the use of the idiom 'on occasion', as 'pro tempore' is often used. i thus interpret 'pro locis atque temporibus' as a synonymous phrase for 'on occasions' [lit. in proportion to space and time]. the other meaning of 'pro' that is possible here would be 'in favour of', but i cannot see how that would make sense. manus is of course ambiguous - i initially thought it would be hands, so as to form a nice contrast with voices, but the sentiment is less than satisfactory. rather, i think it may mean groups of people, i.e. court attendants, which are often dismissed. it could even mean 'force' or 'power' in general! longus is used predicatively and with the dat. (i don't think the abl. would be right) the most likely meaning is 'tedious/tiresome to'. 'attae' is a killer, perhaps it is a form of the Hittite, then anc.grk., atta(s), meaning a father figure of sorts, perhaps not. i have never come across a word at all like it. it could be this word in the sg. dat. dependent also on longae. i thought at first that it could be a genitive, running as ...so too does the voice of a ruler tend on occasion to be tiresome to poets, which would form a nice contrast with the first half. the edition of enclitic -que after longae, however, dismisses this possibility.

maybe the wider context of the passage makes this sentence easier - perhaps the writer is evidently against or in favour of poets elsewhere? perhaps the freaky atta appears elsewhere? perhaps this presumably 15/16th century writer is not producing flawless latin?

~D
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Context

Postby dhaaz » Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:02 pm

Thank you. Your translations are far more satisfactory than mine. I think you are right to equate attae to regi. My only remaining question is about vehementia: I thought it was vehemens, -entis, so that that would have to be a substantive in the neuter nominative or accusative plural, which I had no way of integrating into the rest of the sentence. Your translation makes sense and seems to be the only understanding of vehementia possible here, as far as its function in the sentence, so I wonder if there is a vehementia, -ae that exists, or if it is only a conceit of this author.

As to the author, I think the flaws in his Latin are not so much those of bad Latin, but rather an ignorance of the frequency of his words. It seems that, as Mediaeval writers commonly imported poetical constructions into their prose, so did, at least this author, import whatever words he ran across as a word fit for use. I have run across several words marked rare, early, uncommon, and the like. So, as far as Mediaeval Latin goes, I think he's doing alright.

Then again, what do I know?

I am thinking that I have been taking the text too literally, and have been blind to most synecdoche and metonymy and the like, as I took it to be a prose text; that may have been an error, as it is certainly an excellent way to take manus in this passage, and as it would fit the type of text, as well.

As to the context:

Philothimus has just finished talking about how he likes that this author isn't one of those that collects things from the writings of others and then pretends to be an author and to actually know something. Logifer asks if he feels the same way about versifiers who use the ideas, hemistiches, and verses of others and advertise themselves as poets. Then Philothimus says what I quoted above. Logifer follows up with, "I spoke of versifiers, not poets." Then Philothimus says something I can't quite understand: Bene, pauci igitur, aut nullus pro se dictum putabit. Sed haec quid ad rem nostram? Sufficit quod in proposito authorum artis istius fuerit intellectum. I understand this as, "Well, some therefore, or none will know it was said about themselves. But what do those things have to do with anything? It is enough that it will have been understood in the intention of the authors of that art," but I have trouble with the first and last sentences. Logifer replies, "Not about the poets." Philothimus says, "But let us continue what we started, read on," and Hermes launches into reading the next paragraphs of the text. After that, the actual text begins, and the framing device is forgotten.

I think what Philothimus means is that he wasn't talking about poets and that he doesn't want to hear about them, either, so I'm taking attae as to an old man.
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Postby whiteoctave » Thu Jul 15, 2004 8:10 pm

vehementia, -ae does exist and is attested well enough.
i think you are correct about the author's confusion in what words are common latin and what has been clouded by medieval lunacy.

Bene, pauci igitur, aut nullus pro se dictum putabit. Sed haec quid ad rem nostram? Sufficit quod in proposito authorum artis istius fuerit intellectum.

There are few, then, or rather there is no one who will think that he has been spoken about kindly/well. But what does this matter for our conversation? It is enough that what has been said on the topic of author's of this genre has been understood.

~D
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