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Translation Help: Latin to English

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Translation Help: Latin to English

Postby aldo » Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:50 pm

I found this inscription on a globe made by Johannes Schöner in the early 16th century.

I think that the first line states, “Here in this portion of the world exists a region…”, but before I attempt to further embarrass myself by flaunting my complete lack of Latin language skills, maybe someone could help me with the translation.

I can’t determine if the whole inscription pertains to the construction of the globe or to the description of a large landmass in the region where the inscription is located. The landmass next to the inscription is in the shape of a “C” so it might correlate to the Latin “siuoso” in line 2, or “spiram hanc” in line 7. Or more likely these terms refer to the framework in which the globe was mounted along with the globe itself.

I would appreciate any help I could get, even a brief paraphrasing, although I would very much appreciate a more concise translation.
Hic globus immesum completens partibus orbem

Atque typum teretis sinuoso corpore mundi

Est studio vigili glomeratus certe duorum

Vnitu que impensis: tribuit nam cuncta Ioannes

Seyler ad illius quae, commoda censuit usus

Alter Joannes Schöner multa catus arte

In spiram hanc molem compegerat apte

Est impressis signavit ubique figuris

Quando salutiferi partus numeravimus annos

Mille & quingentos & quatuor addita lustra


Thanks in advance,

Aldo
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Postby aldo » Thu Apr 01, 2004 5:11 pm

Well I gave it a go. I suppose I should look into learning Latin myself as I have found myself confronted by a few other Latin texts as of late.

Best Regards,

Aldo
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Postby whiteoctave » Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:55 pm

They're not the greatest hexameter lines ever put to paper, or globe, and the start is not very friendly. There are some rather dirty tricks to keep the metre, such as the apparent removal of 'n' in 'immesum' and a similarly abridged form of 'compleCtens'. Overall, the inscription appears to refer to the whole globe and its compilation, not one part of its cartography. My translation would go:

This globe, covering the huge world with its regions and the figure of our shapely planet with its winding mass, is compiled by the watchful study of at least two men and by the expenditure of one; for Joannes Seyler payed for everything which he held as beneficial in its use. Another man, Joannes Schoner, clever as he was, composed this task onto a coiled form (=a globe?) with great skill. He marked it everywhere with engraved shapes. Since his proseperity-bearing birth we counted 1520 years (1000+500+ four added five-year periods).

I had to guess punctuation in the Latin, perhaps incorrectly. I am currently puzzled by est on line 7, not knowing where abouts it appears in a sentence, or even in which one!

Hope this helps somewhat,

~dave
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Postby aldo » Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:40 pm

Whiteoctave,

Thanks very, very much. It helps quite a bit.

the inscription appears to refer to the whole globe and its compilation, not one part of its cartography
This makes perfect sense and is the interpretation I was leaning towards.

for Joannes Seyler payed for everything which he held as beneficial in its use
Joannes Seyler did provide funding for many of Schoner's projects and this statement is what had me leaning toward the idea that this inscription was all about the globes overall construction.

Schoner, clever as he was, composed this task onto a coiled form (=a globe?) with great skill
The reference to "a coiled form" may be in reference to the type of gores that were used for making the original globe. Gores are usually printed onto a flat piece of paper in a design which would appear in shape similar to orange peels from an orange sliced into eighths and laid flat side by side [e.g., ()()()()()()()() ] This form is then cut from the paper and pressed, formed and glue onto a sphere.

If Schoner had produced this gore in some sort of coiled shape then perhaps he was indeed "clever".

The portions of this inscription which confused me, and still do to a degree, is his use of "winding mass" to describe the literal world and "coiled form" to possibly describe the globe's gores. Is it possible that these two phrases are similarly referring to the actual world as a "spinning/winding mass" and to the globe as being designed so that it could "coil/spin" about within its framework?
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Postby bingley » Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:09 am

I hesitate to criticise Whiteoctave, but would not salutiferi partus in the penultimate line be "the birth of the Saviour"?
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Postby whiteoctave » Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:41 am

Thankyou for your suggestion Bingley. I am now quite sure you are correct. Owing to the ambiguity of the vowel quantity of the -u- of partus, long as it is automatically since a consonant begins the subsequent word, I assumed it was the genitive with long -u- in agreement with salutifer, which I presumed to be adjectival.
However, having looked at some Christian Latin texts, with which I have had no prior acquaintance, it appears salutifer can be used substantively of the big J.C.
This correction allows the phrase "quando salutiferi partus" to be a nice self-contained phrase giving a temporal context to the ensuing enumeration of years.
Cheers for the point,

~dave
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