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Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

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Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

Postby Shenoute » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:41 pm

Hi all,

I'm reading Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, a history of the monastery from its foundation to the year 883 and have some questions about this text.

1) In §5, the monks are in conflict with the local bishop who is trying to take control of the monastery. The monks have a document supporting their claim to independence and entrust this document to Engilrammus, a trusted man, so that he brings it to the king in order to settle the dispute.

Qui (=Engilrammus) etiam in altario Sancti Galli iuravit, se ipsam cartam regi perlaturum, atque ipsis monachis cautissime esse redditurum ; quod, suadente diabolo, aliter quam promisisset effecit.

"He even swore on the altar of St Gall, that he would bring this document to the king and would come back very cautiously to the monks. Pushed by the devil, he acted otherwise than he had promised".

In the edition (MGH), promisisset is followed by this footnote "Per Teutonismum ponitur Plusquamperfectum pro Imperfecto".

This misuse of the subjunctive is not uncommon in the text (cf. a few lines further ad ispum monasterium venit, atque cautissima investigatione perquisivit si alicubi aliquod exemplar ipsius cartae inveniri potuisset) but in this particular case, I don't understand the editor's footnote. The promise took place before the action, so why should it be aliter quam promitteret effecit, implying that the two actions took place at the same time ? I've always been a bit shaky on this matter (but thought I had grasped it now) so I guess this will be a good occasion to clarify it.

2) In §6, Cozbertus, a monk of Saint Gall, has been elected abbot of the monastery. Contrary to the previous abbot he is from the monastery, so the monks think he will protect them against the rapacious local bishop.

Cum igitur Wolfleoz episcopus more antecessorum suorum etiam causas monasterii suae subiceret dicioni, incolae monasterii, quasi in proprio fratre et conservo, consolationem in eo (=Cozbertus) se habere posse confisi sunt ; ille vero non solum mitior ceteris non existens, aliqua in parte illis de quibus venit pepercit, sed etiam, in quantum potuit, more Hieroboam digitum suum dorso antecessorum suorum erga sibi subiectos grossiorem exhibere temptavit, monachosque de quibus exivit, cessante priorum exemplo, affligere non destitit.

"So when Bishop Wolfleoz, following the custom of his predecessors, took over the administration of the monastery, the monks were confident that, as their own brother and companion, they could rely on him (=Cozbertus). But, being the meekest of men, he not only ?spared in some way? those from which he came, but he even tried, following Jeroboam's exemple, to show that towards his subjects his finger was bigger than his predecessors' back (I Kings 12:10) and he did not cease to afflict the monks, from which he came, as much as he could".

I'm having trouble with aliqua in parte illis de quibus venit pepercit because as I read it it seems to contradict the following assertion that Cozbertus himself afflicted the monks. I guess my problem stems from a misunderstanding of parco/peperci, which I routinely translate as "to spare/protect". Could this sentence mean that "he spared (=acted with restraint?) towards those from which he came", i. e. "he did nothing to help" ?

The text can be found here.

(Sorry for the clumsy translations).
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Re: Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

Postby Qimmik » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:00 pm

I have one small comment on your first question: redditurum is transitive -- this is from reddo, not redeo. " . . . he would return it [i.e., the document] very carefully."

"The promise took place before the action, so why should it be aliter quam promitteret effecit, implying that the two actions took place at the same time ?" I think you're right about this. Are you sure the footnote doesn't relate to the later sentence cautissima investigatione perquisivit si alicubi aliquod exemplar ipsius cartae inveniri potuisset? Here, posset would seem better. I can't say the use of the pluperfect here seems particularly Teutonic, but my German isn't good enough to say for sure.

On your second question, I'm as confused as you. I wonder whether a negative isn't missing.

ille vero non solum mitior ceteris non existens, aliqua in parte illis de quibus venit non pepercit,

non solum mitior ceteris non existens -- I think existens is used as a participle of esse, which is lacking in Latin: "not only not being milder than the others, did he not spare those from whose ranks he came [i.e., the other monks], but he also . . . did not cease to beset the monks from whose ranks he had come . . . . "

A non could have dropped out of the text, or could have been omitted, by mistake because non solum is already there.

But I'm not sure how cessante priorum exemplo fits into this. ". . . the example of the previous ones ceasing . . . " He seems to have followed or even gone beyond the example of his predecessors. Do I dare conjecture another missing negative?

causas monasterii suae subiceret dicioni -- could this mean "he took jurisdiction over lawsuits in which the monastery was involved"?
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Re: Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

Postby Shenoute » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:57 pm

Qimmik wrote:I have one small comment on your first question: redditurum is transitive -- this is from reddo, not redeo. " . . . he would return it [i.e., the document] very carefully."

Wow, what a silly mistake...Thanks for pointing it out !

Qimmik wrote:Are you sure the footnote doesn't relate to the later sentence cautissima investigatione perquisivit si alicubi aliquod exemplar ipsius cartae inveniri potuisset?

I checked again and the footnote (n.29) follows promisisset, potuisset is followed by footnote n.30 "Idem Teutonismus". Maybe footnote n.29 was intented to go somewhere else in the text...

Qimmik wrote:non solum mitior ceteris non existens -- I think existens is used as a participle of esse, which is lacking in Latin: "not only not being milder than the others, (...)

Thanks, that makes much more sense than my faulty translation.

Qimmik wrote: A non could have dropped out of the text, or could have been omitted, by mistake because non solum is already there.

Yes maybe. I'll check other editions and translations to see if something comes out...

Qimmik wrote:But I'm not sure how cessante priorum exemplo fits into this. ". . . the example of the previous ones ceasing . . . " He seems to have followed or even gone beyond the example of his predecessors. Do I dare conjecture another missing negative?

Oh, I forgot this clause in my translation. I understand it as being related to the preceding monachosque de quibus exivit, "the monks from whose ranks he came (contrary to the preceding abbots)". Do you think it is possible ?

Qimmik wrote:causas monasterii suae subiceret dicioni -- could this mean "he took jurisdiction over lawsuits in which the monastery was involved"?

Niermeyer devotes one page to causa, listing 18 different (shades of) meanings. "Real estate" or "property" (although no ex. in the plural in Niermeyer) seem to fit in quite well here.

Thank you very much for your help, Quimmik ! Your comments are, as always, very helpful.
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Re: Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

Postby MiguelM » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:40 pm

Shenoute wrote:
Qimmik wrote:causas monasterii suae subiceret dicioni -- could this mean "he took jurisdiction over lawsuits in which the monastery was involved"?

Niermeyer devotes one page to causa, listing 18 different (shades of) meanings. "Real estate" or "property" (although no ex. in the plural in Niermeyer) seem to fit in quite well here.


Medieval Latin causa is the source for the word that replaces 'res' in most Romance languages, 'chose'/'cosa'/'coisa' etc, humbly taking the meaning of 'thing'.
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Re: Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

Postby Victor » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:08 pm

MiguelM wrote:Medieval Latin causa is the source for the word that replaces 'res' in most Romance languages, 'chose'/'cosa'/'coisa' etc, humbly taking the meaning of 'thing'.

And if you look at the etymology of the word "thing" in English, you'll find a close correspondence there.
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Re: Ratpertus' Casus Sancti Galli, §5-6

Postby Shenoute » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:43 pm

Thanks, MiguelM and Victor.
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