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Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

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Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:38 pm

Salvete!

There is a passage in Caesar's Bellum Gallicum (Liber VII/12) which I do not quite understand:

C. Iulius Caesar wrote:Vercingetorix, ubi de Caesaris adventu cognovit, oppugnatione destitit atque obviam Caesari profiscitur. Ille oppidum Biturigum positum in via Noviodunum oppugnare instituerat.

My Loeb-edition translates this passage as follows:
As soon as he heard of Caesar's approach Vercingetorix abandoned the siege and started to meet him. Caesar, for his part, had determined to assault Noviodunum, a stronghold of the Bituriges stationed on his route.

When I first read the Latin sentence I translated it for myself like this:

Caesar had decided to attack a stronghold of the Bituriges situated on the way to Noviodunum.

Is the Latin sentence really unclear as to whether oppidum Bituriges equals Noviodunum (not very likely), or am I missing something?

By the way, please help me in correcting the mistakes in the KEY to Adler's Practical Grammar. I really need your help and would appreciate your feedback to my questions.

Valete,

Carolus Raeticus

PS: I have just started to read Latin, or the empire of a sign by Françoise Waquet. From what I have read so far, it promises to be a really interesting book.
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Re: Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby Qimmik » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:19 pm

If the sentence meant "on the way to Novidunum", there would be a preposition before Noviodunum. Noviodunum must be in apposition to oppidum.
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Re: Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby adrianus » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:32 pm

Carolus Raeticus wrote:PS: I have just started to read Latin, or the empire of a sign by Françoise Waquet. From what I have read so far, it promises to be a really interesting book.

Est quidem. It really is.
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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Re: Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:02 pm

Salve Qimmik!

Qimmik wrote:If the sentence meant "on the way to Novidunum", there would be a preposition before Noviodunum. Noviodunum must be in apposition to oppidum.


According to Wheelock's Latin (Chapter 37) and A&G's New Latin Grammar (§ 427) no preposition is used with the actual names of cities, towns, and small islands to indicate the place to which. What am I missing?

Vale,

Carolus Raeticus
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Re: Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby Qimmik » Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:09 pm

An accusative without a preposition can't depend on a noun. The accusative without a preposition is used with a verb of motion to indicate place to which, but via isn't a verb. The genitive might work.
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Re: Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby Victor » Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:52 pm

Carolus Raeticus wrote:When I first read the Latin sentence I translated it for myself like this:

Caesar had decided to attack a stronghold of the Bituriges situated on the way to Noviodunum.

You're making in via function quasi-prepositionally, which it can't do, as Qimmik has said.
To get the meaning you suggest, you'd have to have something like:
Ille oppidum quoddam Biturigum, Noviodunum versus, oppugnare instituerat.
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Re: Ambiguous sentence from Bell. Gall. VII?

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:53 pm

Thank you, Victor and Qimmik!

Now I finally understand. Thank you for both your help.

Bye,

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