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North & Hillard Exercise 25 [B] - Participles

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North & Hillard Exercise 25 [B] - Participles

Postby whsiv » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:11 pm

Salvete omnes!

I have always wanted to improve my Latin writing, so I've decided to work through North and Hillard's Latin Prose Composition. I have the accompanying key, so I'm able to check my answers, but I'm having a hard time understanding why my answer is incorrect for Exercise 25 Sentence 3.

25.3: The soldiers, throwing away their arms, fled from the battle. My translation of this was Milites arma abicientes e proelio effugerunt. The key offers Milites, armis abiectis, e proelio effugerunt.

I don't understand why a present active participle can't be used. The participial phrase agrees with the subject of the sentence, so as far as I understand it, you don't need to use an ablative absolute - but the answer key uses one.

I understand that the answer key will only offer one possible translation (out of many possibilities), and translations won't always match the key, even if they're correct. Is that what is going on here?

Gratias
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Re: North & Hillard Exercise 25 [B] - Participles

Postby Victor » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:38 pm

English is content to be vaguer than Latin in its use of the present participle. Milites arma abicientes e proelio effugerunt would mean "The soldiers fled from the battle all the while throwing away their arms." This is unlikely to be what is meant. Instead the meaning is likely to be that the soldiers discarded their arms (to allow them to run as quickly as possible) and fled from the battle. This sense is best rendered with the perfect participle, as the key suggests.
Last edited by Victor on Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North & Hillard Exercise 25 [B] - Participles

Postby whsiv » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:55 am

Thanks, Victor. That does clear things up.

I guess it's an example of the age-old battle of translating ideas and not words, and understanding that the Latin present participle expresses an action contemporaneous with the main verb.
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