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Peculiar passage in Terence's Phormio

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Peculiar passage in Terence's Phormio

Postby horus92 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:27 pm

So I came across this passage (577-587) and couldn't make heads or tails of it before turning to a translation.

Demipho: Quid gnato optigerit me absente audistin, Chreme?
Chremes: Quod quidem me factum consili incertum facit.
Nam hanc condicionem si quoi tulero extrario,
quo pacto aut unde mihi sit dicundum ordinest.
Te mihi fidelem esse aeque atque egomet sum mihi
scibam. Ille, si me alienus adfinem volet,
tacebit dum intercedet familiaritas;
sin spreverit me, plus quam opus est scito sciet.
Vereorque ne uxor aliqua hoc resciscat mea:
quod si fit, ut me excutiam atque egrediar domo
id restat; nam ego meorum solus sum meus.

The situation is that Chremes has a secret wife and family in Lemnos, but IIRC there's been no mention of Chremes's secret family at all in the play so far. I wonder if the lines are misplaced.

I guess Chremes had originally intended on marrying off his daughter to Demipho's son (Chremes and Demipho are brothers).

It's just very confusing as it is and I don't think I'd ever have figured it out.

Does it seem as strange to anyone else? I hate it when I run across stuff like this it keeps me up at night!
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Re: Peculiar passage in Terence's Phormio

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:52 pm

I haven't read Terence since grad school... But in this case, I don't think the Latin is problematic, but rather the content. The passage is simply difficult to understand without careful attention to the context and some idea of the cultural context that supplies the background for Chremes' comments.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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