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I lost the point of view. What were the clues?

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I lost the point of view. What were the clues?

Postby hlawson38 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:53 pm

Suetonius, Augustus, ch. LXXIX

I lost the nonfiction point of view in this narrative sentence, and had to look at the translation to capture it. What were the clues that I missed?

Context: Suetonius describes personal characteristics of Augustus, with particular attention in this sentence to his calm demeanor.

uultu erat uel in sermone uel tacitus adeo tranquillo serenoque, ut quidam e primoribus Galliarum confessus sit inter suos, eo se inhibitum ac remollitum, quo minus, ut destinarat, in transitu Alpium per simulationem conloquii propius admissus in praecipitium propelleret


translation:

His appearance , whether speaking or silent, radiated such calm serentity that even one of the first men of the Gauls, speaking to his compatriots, said that it had softened his resolve, and that he had given up his plan of pushing the Princeps over the cliff, whom the Gaulish leader had approached under the pretense of a conference, while they were crossing the Alps.

At first I tried to read Augustus as the subject of the verbs, but of course I ran immediately into the ditch. As far as I can see, nothing the the preceding sentence tells us that Suetonius is about to relate the point of view of the Gaulish chief. It seems to me that we have to get point of view from this sentence alone, but I missed the clues.

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Re: I lost the point of view. What were the clues?

Postby Qimmik » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:57 pm

uultu erat uel in sermone uel tacitus adeo tranquillo serenoque, ut quidam e primoribus Galliarum confessus sit inter suos, eo se inhibitum ac remollitum, quo minus, ut destinarat, in transitu Alpium per simulationem conloquii propius admissus in praecipitium propelleret

ut quidam e primoribus Galliarum confessus sit inter suos -- a result clause; the subject of course is quidam e primoribus Galliarum.

What follows is the Gaulish leader's indirect speech: eo se inhibitum ac remollitum [fuisse]. These are infinitives; the subject is accusative se, which must refer back to the speaker, the Gaulish leader. I think this may be the clue you missed.

Then we have another clause: quo minus, ut destinarat, in transitu Alpium per simulationem conloquii propius admissus in praecipitium propelleret. quo minus is used with verbs of "hindering". (The translation makes this parallel to the preceding clause, joining it with "and," but in the Latin it's a result clause.) The subject is understood, and it can be inferred that the subject is the same as that of the preceding clause, again the Gaulish leader, not Augustus.

quominus: Allen & Greenough 558b:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=AG+558&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0001

(It's possible that this clause is treated as embedded in indirect speech, in which case, it would again refer to the speaker, the Gaulish leader, but it could also be simply a report of Suetonius--in either case the verb would be subjunctive. The parenthetical ut destinarat is indicative, which suggests that the entire clause should not be viewed as indirect speech.)

The direct object of propelleret is also understood, not expressed. It must be Augustus.

Does this help?
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Re: I lost the point of view. What were the clues?

Postby hlawson38 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:34 pm

That all helps Quimmik.

Besides the difficulties you mentioned, I was confused about the antecedent of quidam. Somehow I failed to see that it was the subject of "confessus sit". In my reading I was trying to make Augustus the subject of "confessus sit", and that threw me into a multitude of difficulties. I cannot now explain how I overlooked this, although I may have misread "quidam" as "quidem". Your analysis suddenly made me see this.

So I have to add for myself another principle: before throwing up my hands, I should make sure of the antecedents of all the pronouns.

Thank you very much Quimmik for the speedy reply. I was beset with difficulties, and your reply was like the cavalry coming to the rescue, before I was distracted from the problem.
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