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Quid facis

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Quid facis

Postby pmda » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:13 am

See this from Ovid Fasti (as inserted by Orberg into Cap XLI of LLPSI.

Silvia Vestalis caelestia semina partu
ediderat, patruo regna tenente suo.
Is iubet auferri pueros et in amne necari -
'quid facis? ex istis Romulus alter erit!'
Iussa recusantes peragunt lacrimosa ministri,
flent, tamen et geminos in loca sola ferunt.

I'm having trouble with the line:

'quid facis? ex istis Romulus alter erit!' Orberg's notes offer the following help: ['quid facis?' Amulio dicitur]

- so is he saying that this is a quote from Amulius (abl) or something that is said to Amulius (dat)

I have looked at two translations of this and neither has this in quotes and neither ascribes this line to Amulius. One seems to suggest it is the narrator speaking to Amulius.

The first translation has:

What was he doing? One of the two was Romulus.

-this translation is by A. S. Kline and doesn't dramatise the text.

- it seems to be a simple explanation.


Then we have

Rash man ! one of those babes will yet be Romulus.

- the second translation is by James George Fraser which does appear to do this.

So 'Quid facis' is a sort of dramatic interjections which in English could be like coming upon somone doing something terrible and crying out 'What are you doing?'.

I'm inclined to translate it as:

What is it that you do? one of these will be Romulus.

It's the narrator speaking and he's reminding the audience / reader that this is an important, yet terrible act.

I'd be grateful for any guidance.
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Re: Quid facis

Postby Qimmik » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:02 pm

Your translation is correct, though maybe it could be both a little more literal and a little more dramatic.

"[OMG!] What are you doing?!!! One of them will be Romulus!"

Amulio dicitur: "[This is] spoken by Amulius." But really, it's just Ovid attributing this to someone present at the time or interjecting it as the narrator, as if he were present.

Amulius: http://perseus.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.0:2382.lewisandshort
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Re: Quid facis

Postby pmda » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:26 pm

OK so it's a soliloquy ? I was sure it was the narrator. Bear in mind that this is being done on Amulius' orders - so he's asking himself what he's doing - like Macbeth?
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Re: Quid facis

Postby Qimmik » Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:31 pm

Sorry, I made a mistake. Amulio is dative: "it is spoken to Amulio."

"two translations . . . neither has this in quotes" Of course, quotation marks and other punctuation were unknown to Ovid. They are added by modern editors for the ease of readers, and editors don't necessarily follow consistent practices.
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Re: Quid facis

Postby pmda » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:13 pm

Thanks Quimmik
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Re: Quid facis

Postby Qimmik » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:52 pm

Paul, did you notice the interlocking word order in this line?

Iussa recusantes peragunt lacrimosa ministri

Noun1 Adjective2 Verb Adjective1 Noun2

Ovid (like other Roman poets) likes this sort of artifice, with the verb in the middle of two interlocking noun-adjective pairs. If you aim at reading Latin poetry, you will need to get used to dislocations of normal word order like this (hyperbaton).
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Re: Quid facis

Postby pmda » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:23 pm

Quimmik

Actually I wasn't aware that it was a specific pattern. The word order can sometimes seem like the author is just trying to tie you up in knots. But now that I see it I'll look out for it. In fact I got a paper in Trinity College Library in Dublin about the significance of Latin word order in poetry - which I must re-read (I didn't really get it the first time).

It's 'On the importance of Latin Word-Order and Reading Aloud' by Vincent Cleary, reviewed in The Classical Journal, Vol. 79. No 3 (Feb - Mar., 1984), pp. 241-245....I've also a couple of other papers on this that I must take a look at.
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