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Pergama flere volo

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Pergama flere volo

Postby msfonsecajr » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:35 am

Hecuba laments the fate of Troy. Shet retells the cause of the war and so narrates the kidnapping of Helen by Paris, who is the nominative of the first sentence:

Vadit et accedit, clam tollit, clamque recedit ;
Nauta solo cedit, fit fuga, praedo redit.

Tuta libido maris dat thura libidinis aris,
Civibus ignaris quod parat arma Paris.


Post cursus Helenae currunt ad arma Mycenae,
Mille rates plenae fortibus absque sene.


Does anyone have an explanation for the Tuta libido couplet?

Cordially,
MSF
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Shenoute » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:47 pm

Here's how I understand it (very) literally :

"The desire safe from the sea gives incenses to the altars of desire,
the citizens not knowing that Paris is preparing armies."

tutus + Gen. is not very common but Forcellini gives one exemple in Lucan (although it mentions that some read it as an Abl.)

The second line is somehow reminiscent of Walter of Châtillon's Alexandreis, "Civibus ignaris, Graios quod ducat ad urbem". I wouldn't be surprised that the rest of the poem also contains "borrowings" of this kind.
Last edited by Shenoute on Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Qimmik » Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:00 pm

He goes and approaches, he steals her in stealth, and he withdraws in stealth.
He departs from dry land as a sailor [i.e., on a ship], the flight occurs, the thief returns.

The safe lust of the sea gives incense to the altars of lust,
While the citizens [of Troy] are unaware that Paris is preparing arms [i.e., fomenting war; this is the quod + indicative construction for indirect discourse].

After the elopement of Helen, Mycenae rushes to arms,
A thousand ships full of brave warriors and [sent?] from the old man [I don't get this completely].

"The safe lust of the male [it could also mean "of the sea"] gives incense to the altars of lust." I think this means that once he has safely indulged his male lust, he gives an offering of incense at the altars of Venus. Update: After I wrote this I saw what Shenoute wrote, and I think (s)he's right: the idea is that once his lust is safe from the dangers of sea travel, he gives thanks by placing incense on the altar of lust (i.e., Venus?). But maris could be the genitive of either mas, "male" or mare, "sea."

It's pretty crude Latin; Ovid it ain't. Some clever person who knew Latin but didn't have complete command of Latin elegiac verse composed this. It's riddled with jejune word-play. Apparently it's from the Carmina Burana; the full text is here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=YPSUgZzahRMC&pg=PA34&lpg=PA34&dq=Tuta+libido+maris+dat+thura+libidinis+aris,&source=bl&ots=cr8VzPkiY6&sig=Dqes2BD7IKhQ74OdMjtKxcJxvR8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yTb3U7ucMIbfsATY9oHoDg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Tuta%20libido%20maris%20dat%20thura%20libidinis%20aris%2C&f=false

This source attributes the poem to Hildebert de Lavardin (although it doesn't look like the attribution is very secure):

http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook_text/Les_Melanges_Poetiques_dHildebert_de_Lavardin_1200098660/219

Hildebert:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildebert
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Shenoute » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:16 pm

I had not thought of maris as the Gen. of mas. Maybe this double-entendre is what the author was looking for.

As for Mille rates plenae fortibus absque sene, maybe something like "A thousand ships full of brave warriors, not counting the old man" might make sense...Could "old man" mean "the king" (cf. the verses from the Troilus below)? Or maybe it is singular for plural, in contrast to fortibus, "full of brave warriors, not to mention also old men"?
Albert of Stade's (1187?-1256 or 1264) Troilus has a very similar line when listing the ships brought by each Greek chief :
Dat tres Venereus et quinquaginta carinas
Omnes sunt plene fortibus absque sene
(II, 175-176).

Apart from the Carmina Burana, I've only found the phrase thura libidinis aris appearing in the commentary on the Gospel of Matthew by Albert the Great (1193/1206-1280). It seems the author of the poem drew his inspiration heavily from mid-13th century texts.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby mwh » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:57 pm

absque in medieval latin I think has come to mean simply “without,” equivalent to sine. Cf. the legal phrase damnum absque iniuria. So this should mean “without an old man among them” (as if old men can’t be brave). Evidently he forgets Nestor.

libido maris: male libido, surely? Now he’s safely home, he is free to indulge it (dat thura libidinis aris a coy euphemism, metaphorical).

Ovidian aesthetics don’t apply to medieval verse. Jejune or not, I rather like “Post cursus Helenae currrunt …” myself. You can get into the swing of this sort of thing—as they clearly did.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Qimmik » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:41 pm

"I rather like “Post cursus Helenae currrunt …” myself. You can get into the swing of this sort of thing—as they clearly did."

There's more of this sort of wordplay--every verse has something like it. I glanced at it too quickly, reading it as a serious poem rather than as a jeu d'esprit--my initial reaction was "it's a feeble imitation of Ovid, but it doesn't come close." But while Ovid is clearly lurking in the background, it has its own sort of wit--inexhaustible and deliberately groan-provoking punning--and the tortured lengths it goes to in order to achieve this are part of the fun. It's humorously overdone like Actaeon's dogs (in that case, black humor). Thanks not only for explicating the line in question, but also for making the poem come alive.
Last edited by Qimmik on Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Shenoute » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:01 pm

Thanks mwh.

The poem has found its way into Migne's Patrologia (with quite a disturbing layout).

Migne has included comments by previous editors : "[the poem] must have cost a lot of work to the poet, who thus managed to make the piece more curious than interesting. Although his verses retain several marks of roughness and barbarism, there are others who have their merit" and "hoc tamen carmen peculiari mihi genio scriptum videtur, nec indignum cujus extra ordinem ratio habeatur".

The piece is there attributed to Berno of Reichenau (c. 978-1048).
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Qimmik » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:11 pm

Migne's layout reveals how this works: in each couplet, the two caesuras and the two verses end with rhymes--often with the same syllables!

This couplet works with the medieval Latin substitution of e for ae:

Post cursus Helenae currunt ad arma Mycenae,
Mille rates plenae fortibus absque sene.

The two preceding couplets:

Vadit et accedit, clam tollit, clamque recedit ;
Nauta solo cedit, fit fuga, praedo redit.

Tuta libido maris dat thura libidinis aris,
Civibus ignaris quod parat arma Paris.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby Shenoute » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:23 pm

Yes, but I find it quite obvious and far more readable without this layout :D

This reminds me I own a dissertation (in Latin) on leonine verse from the 1930's which I have never read.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby mwh » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:23 pm

I see the poem has another absque = without in its second couplet:
Est Paris absque pare.[delicious, no?]. quaerit videt audet amare.

Many thanks Shenoute for linking to Migne's edition, with his final lol remark:
"Alia monenda erant; sed otium melius locari poterit."
Ever been tempted to sign off a post with that? I'd bet Qimmik has, if he weren't so much better-natured than me.
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Re: Pergama flere volo

Postby msfonsecajr » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:10 pm

Thanks for all the answers. Shenoute seems to have hit it on the mark.

Shenoute wrote:Here's how I understand it (very) literally :

"The desire safe from the sea gives incenses to the altars of desire,
the citizens not knowing that Paris is preparing armies."




But is not another reading possible? Taking maris as a genitive of object, the verse could thus be put in vernacular:

The safe desire of the sea (i.e. a desire inspired by Neptune) gives incense ( i.e. pays honor) to the altars of the desire (that is, the altars of Neptune).


It`s a little far fetched, I admit. But at at least it shuns the over sentimentalist interpretation that would make it unfit for the Migne Patrologia.

Best regards,
MSF.
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