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Metamorphoses, Book 6, line 184 ff

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Metamorphoses, Book 6, line 184 ff

Postby hlawson38 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:43 pm

Before I could make sense of these lines, I had to read the translation. I think I've got the grammar, but I'd appreciate a critique. Question points are indicated with asterisks.

Context: Niobe, headed for a fall, has been bragging about her wealth, children, beauty, and in general superb, godlike success. She adds:

quaerite nunc, habeat quam* nostra superbia causam,
nescio* quoque audete satam Titanida Coeo
Latoniam praeferre mihi, cui* maxima quondam
exiguam sedem pariturae terra negavit.


So ask now if my pride has no reason
and dare now to prefer the Titan-born Latonia
daughter of some Coeus or other
she whom the whole earth denied space to bring a child birth.

quam: interrogative adjective, quam . . .causam. This and the subjunctive habeat tell us we have an indirect question to deal with.

nescio: how do we know this is meant to belittle Coeus?

cui: antecendent has to be Latonia, but is it context only by which we know this? I kept wanting to make mihi, and thus Niobe the antecedent.

Many thanks!
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Re: Metamorphoses, Book 6, line 184 ff

Postby Qimmik » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:55 pm

quam -- yes, interrogative pronoun and an indirect question. "Ask now what reason my pride has."

nescioquoque -- this could be written as a single word. -que is enclitic, "and". Nescio + interrogative pronoun or adjective means "some or other"/"someone or other"/"something or other". It's belittling -- "the daughter of some Coeus". Coeus is a divine or at least supernatural being. It suggests that Leto/Latonia's father is a being of little consequence.

Lewis and Short nescio Ig:

Nescio quis, nescio quid, nescio quomodo, nescio an, used in an assertion to express uncertainty with regard to some particular contained in it; and usually without influencing the mood of the following verb: nescio quis, I know not who, some one, somebody, a certain person: nescio quid, I know not what, something, some, a certain: prope me hic nescio quis loquitur, Plaut. Pers. 1, 3, 9: nescio quid profecto mihi animus praesagit mali, Ter. Heaut. 2, 2, 7: nisi me forte Paconii nescio cujus querelis moveri putes, Cic. Q. Fr. 1, 1, 6: o pastores nescio quos cupidos litterarum, id. Flacc. 17, 39; in affected ignorance, to denote that a thing is insignificant, small, mean, etc.: fortasse non jejunum hoc nescio quid quod ego gessi, et contemnendum videtur, id. Fam. 15, 4, 14: quia nescio quid in philosophiā dissentiret, a little, id. N. D. 1, 33, 93: nescio quid litterularum, a short letter, id. Att. 15, 4, 1: rumoris nescio quid afflavit, id. ib. 16, 5, 1: causidicum nescio quem, id. de Or. 1, 46, 202: nescio quid e quercu exsculpseram, id. Att. 13, 28, 2: sententiae nescio unde ex abdito erutae, id. Or. 24, 79: nescio quid etiam de Locrorum proelio, id. N. D. 3, 5, 11: mente nescio quā effrenatā atque praecipiti, id. Cael. 15, 35: illud nescio quod non fortuitum, sed divinum videbatur, id. Fam. 7, 5, 2: nescio quid praeclarum, remarkable or extraordinary excellence, id. Arch. 7, 15: fit enim, nescio quomodo, ut, etc., I know not how, id. Off. 1, 41, 146: boni nescio quomodo tardiores sunt, id. Sest. 47, 100: qui, nescio quo modo, conspirant, Nep. Alcib. 11, 1; id. Thras. 1, 3: casu nescio quo, Cic. Fam. 5, 15, 3: alii nescio quo pacto obduruerunt, id. ib. 5, 15, 2; id. Q. Fr. 1, 1, 6, § 18: sed ita fato nescio quo contigisse arbitror, ut, etc., id. Fam. 15, 13, 2; cf.: contra rem suam me nescio quando venisse questus est, id. Phil. 2, 2, 3: nescio an, I know not whether, probably, perhaps: constantiam dico? nescio an melius patientiam possim dicere, id. Lig. 9, 26: sin illam alteram, nescio an amplius mihi negotii contrahatur, id. Cat. 4, 5, 9: ingens eo die res et nescio an maxima illo bello gesta sit, Liv. 23, 16; v. the art. an


cui -- yes, it's context. You have to know the story of Leto. Only the island of Delos was willing to give her a place to give birth to Apollo and Artemis/Diana. The island had been floating before then but became stationary at that time.
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Re: Metamorphoses, Book 6, line 184 ff

Postby mwh » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:19 am

Not relevant to Ovid here, but the really neat thing is that Delos too was daughter of Coeus, so sister received sister.
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Re: Metamorphoses, Book 6, line 184 ff

Postby hlawson38 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:50 am

Thanks qmmik for the helpful reply.
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