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English to Latin #2

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English to Latin #2

Postby petitor » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:55 pm

As usual, all comments and corrections are welcome.

Thanks in advance.

*

Pyrrhus was unwilling to fight until his allies had arrived a few days after. The two armies then joined battle on the banks of the river, and for a long time the issue was in doubt. Finally one wing of the Roman army was victorious, but the other was driven back to their camp by the elephants of Pyrrhus. Although the Romans fought very bravely, they were not able to resist the repeated attacks of the enemy: they took to flight, and on that account have been accused of cowardice: since they had been successful in one part of the field, could they have not won in the other? But Pyrrhus himself, when visiting the field of battle the next day, saw the bodies of the Romans all turned towards the enemy, and said that no one could have fought more bravely than these men.

*

Socii Pyrrhi, qui ante adventum eorum pugnare nolebat, post paucis diebus cum advenerunt, tum demum uterque utroque exercitus proelium in ripis commisit, re perdiu in dubio pendente. postremo, una ex alis Romanis vincente alteraque autem in castra ab elephantis Pyrrhi repulsa, magno cum animo Romani pugnantes tamen nequiebant crebris incursibus hostium resistere: dederunt se in effugium, ideoque ignaviae accusati sunt: quoniam una in parte campi praestarant, num potuere quin superarent in altera? at Pyrrhus ipse postridie campum invisens, universis Romanorum corporibus ad hostes adversis conspectis, dixit tum neminem potuisse fortius quam hos viros pugnare.

*

I do have a specific question regarding syncopated perfect forms, particularly with respect to when, and how often, they should be employed. I've seen them used frequently in poetry and sometimes in prose - though I've since forgotten exactly where (it all "blurs out" after a while) - but rarely in Livy, Cicero, and Tacitus. So, while I personally find them attractive, especially because they're somewhat uncommon, I'm not sure if using them almost exclusively is appropriate; as such, they occur only twice in this exercise (sc. "praestarant" and "potuere"). Are there any conventions or guidelines that govern their usage? Any help on this would be much appreciated.
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Re: English to Latin #2

Postby benissimus » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:02 am

petitor wrote:Pyrrhus was unwilling to fight until his allies had arrived a few days after. The two armies then joined battle on the banks of the river, and for a long time the issue was in doubt. Finally one wing of the Roman army was victorious, but the other was driven back to their camp by the elephants of Pyrrhus. Although the Romans fought very bravely, they were not able to resist the repeated attacks of the enemy: they took to flight, and on that account have been accused of cowardice: since they had been successful in one part of the field, could they have not won in the other? But Pyrrhus himself, when visiting the field of battle the next day, saw the bodies of the Romans all turned towards the enemy, and said that no one could have fought more bravely than these men.

Socii Pyrrhi, qui ante adventum eorum pugnare nolebat, post paucis diebus cum advenerunt, tum demum uterque utroque exercitus proelium in ripis commisit, re perdiu in dubio pendente. postremo, una ex alis Romanis vincente alteraque autem in castra ab elephantis Pyrrhi repulsa, magno cum animo Romani pugnantes tamen nequiebant crebris incursibus hostium resistere: dederunt se in effugium, ideoque ignaviae accusati sunt: quoniam una in parte campi praestarant, num potuere quin superarent in altera? at Pyrrhus ipse postridie campum invisens, universis Romanorum corporibus ad hostes adversis conspectis, dixit tum neminem potuisse fortius quam hos viros pugnare.

With skylax and whiteoctave gone, I'm not sure that we have any compositionists advanced enough to give you the kind of stylistic advice that you need, since I don't think there are any major faults in your Latin. Here are a few points worth mentioning:

1) qui ... nolebat: sort of clumsy with the qui and eorum, I recommend removing eorum and replacing qui with quorum: quorum ante aduentum pugnare nolebat.

2) vincente: no doubt the compactness of an ablative absolute is very alluring here, but using a present participle here would imply not that the wing won, but that it was in the process of winning. To be true to the English, you would have to rephrase this, probably with a temporal clause.

3) ab elephantis Pyrrhi: this is fine, but it might be better stylistically to express agency through Pyrrhus, e.g. a Pyrrho elephantis

I do have a specific question regarding syncopated perfect forms, particularly with respect to when, and how often, they should be employed. I've seen them used frequently in poetry and sometimes in prose - though I've since forgotten exactly where (it all "blurs out" after a while) - but rarely in Livy, Cicero, and Tacitus. So, while I personally find them attractive, especially because they're somewhat uncommon, I'm not sure if using them almost exclusively is appropriate; as such, they occur only twice in this exercise (sc. "praestarant" and "potuere"). Are there any conventions or guidelines that govern their usage? Any help on this would be much appreciated.

I can't tell you their frequencies by author, but I think I've seen syncopation and -ere forms fairly frequently in Cicero (-ere is actually an alternate form, not a syncopation). I agree that you should not use them exclusively. Certain forms seem more prone to contraction, especially those where a short vowel is lost (as in the contracted perfect infinitive) rather than a long vowel (as in the 3rd person plural perfect). nosco and moueo (and eo, if you consider the -v- forms uncontracted) are particularly prone to syncopation, as you probably know.
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Re: English to Latin #2

Postby thesaurus » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:07 pm

May I ask where you are deriving these exercises from, and whether they're for a class? I need to practice my composition more.

A thought on syncopation/alternate forms: from what I know, someone like Cicero was very concerned with the rhythms, metrics, and suavitas of his prose, so I wouldn't be surprised if he chose alternates purely for artistic reasons.

Edit: It appears from your earlier post that you're using Bradley Arnold's. Silly me!
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Re: English to Latin #2

Postby petitor » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:25 am

Apologies for my tardiness; unfortunately I have a very unpredictable work schedule, and I often get unexpectedly pulled away for days, and even months, at a time. It's nice to have a site like textkit to where I can retreat and regain some sanity :)

benissimus wrote:With skylax and whiteoctave gone, I'm not sure that we have any compositionists advanced enough to give you the kind of stylistic advice that you need

Well, thankfully, at least we still have you :D
In truth, I'm looking for any comments from all levels, even comments from beginners who may have questions about grammar and style; any opportunity to learn, and perhaps even teach, a few things. I've got the grammar down, but I still need a couple nudges here and there in terms of style.

benissimus wrote:1) qui ... nolebat: sort of clumsy with the qui and eorum, I recommend removing eorum and replacing qui with quorum: quorum ante aduentum pugnare nolebat.

Yes, much better.

benissimus wrote:2) vincente: no doubt the compactness of an ablative absolute is very alluring here, but using a present participle here would imply not that the wing won, but that it was in the process of winning.

Actually, that was my intention, since, relative to the outcome of the battle, they really didn't win at all, but were eventually routed. Also, I was attracted to the short, quick "rhythm" of the participles. The desired effect was: while they were winning in one, they lost the other, and though they were fighting bravely, they couldn't resist.

benissimus wrote:3) ab elephantis Pyrrhi: this is fine, but it might be better stylistically to express agency through Pyrrhus, e.g. a Pyrrho elephantis

Agreed. I had actually read something (again, memory fails me as to exactly where) regarding the Romans' preference for persons as opposed to objects, and though I vaguely remember it now, for whatever reasons, it had eluded me entirely before. Many thanks for jogging that one :)

benissimus wrote:I can't tell you their frequencies by author, but I think I've seen syncopation and -ere forms fairly frequently in Cicero (-ere is actually an alternate form, not a syncopation). I agree that you should not use them exclusively. Certain forms seem more prone to contraction, especially those where a short vowel is lost (as in the contracted perfect infinitive) rather than a long vowel (as in the 3rd person plural perfect). nosco and moueo (and eo, if you consider the -v- forms uncontracted) are particularly prone to syncopation, as you probably know.

Yes, I stand corrected; I've found many occurrences of both syncopated and alternative forms in Cicero. I've also noticed them frequently used by Sallust, who is the one that most recently brought them to my attention, having read his "Bellum Catalinae" shortly before attempting the exercises. I still have to experiment with them a bit more, but I'll eventually get the hang of it.

benissimus wrote:(-ere is actually an alternate form, not a syncopation)

I admit that, while I understand the concepts well, I often get careless with the terminology. :oops:

Once again, thanks for your help. As trivial as they may seem, these tidbits of advice go a long way for me.
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Re: English to Latin #2

Postby petitor » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:13 am

thesaurus wrote:May I ask where you are deriving these exercises from, and whether they're for a class? I need to practice my composition more.

Unfortunately, I have no time for a class, although I've been searching for one online, with little success. Any suggestions?

thesaurus wrote:It appears from your earlier post that you're using Bradley Arnold's.

I am indeed using, for the most part, Bradley's Arnold, but I occasionally work on exercises from other books, such as "Advanced Level Latin Prose", by A.H. Nash-Williams. This exercise was actually sent to me by a friend (I don't know what book it came from) who was looking for something to compare against his own translation.

However, as challenging as these exercises are, I've started looking outside of textbooks and more into actual novels and short stories. Not that I would go so far as to translate an entire book, like "Harry Potter" or even "Winnie the Pooh", but translating selected passages from such works offers a nice break from the usual themes of war and political intrigue. They also present a different challenge of translating contemporary English into semantically and stylistically accurate classical Latin: I find that most textbook exercises too often closely follow the lessons that precede them, and, hence, are somewhat straightforward to translate, whereas working on text that was never intended to be translated requires a little more imagination. I'm currently looking at a possible candidate which I hope to post here soon (no promises though :wink: )

thesuarus wrote:A thought on syncopation/alternate forms: from what I know, someone like Cicero was very concerned with the rhythms, metrics, and suavitas of his prose, so I wouldn't be surprised if he chose alternates purely for artistic reasons.

I feel the same way; rhythm and meter are foremost on my mind, even more than a faithful and grammatically correct translation. (Although I'm still not sure if I'm even close to hitting the mark :? )
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Re: English to Latin #2

Postby ptolemyauletes » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:35 pm

Hi petitor,
Looking at your composition, I have noticed a few problems.

Pyrrhus was unwilling to fight until his allies had arrived a few days after. The two armies then joined battle on the banks of the river, and for a long time the issue was in doubt. Finally one wing of the Roman army was victorious, but the other was driven back to their camp by the elephants of Pyrrhus. Although the Romans fought very bravely, they were not able to resist the repeated attacks of the enemy: they took to flight, and on that account have been accused of cowardice: since they had been successful in one part of the field, could they have not won in the other? But Pyrrhus himself, when visiting the field of battle the next day, saw the bodies of the Romans all turned towards the enemy, and said that no one could have fought more bravely than these men.

Socii Pyrrhi, qui ante adventum eorum pugnare nolebat, post paucis diebus cum advenerunt, tum demum uterque utroque exercitus proelium in ripis commisit, re perdiu in dubio pendente. postremo, una ex alis Romanis vincente alteraque autem in castra ab elephantis Pyrrhi repulsa, magno cum animo Romani pugnantes tamen nequiebant crebris incursibus hostium resistere: dederunt se in effugium, ideoque ignaviae accusati sunt: quoniam una in parte campi praestarant, num potuere quin superarent in altera? at Pyrrhus ipse postridie campum invisens, universis Romanorum corporibus ad hostes adversis conspectis, dixit tum neminem potuisse fortius quam hos viros pugnare.

First of all, you have placed your first sentence in a 'cum' clause that doesn't seem to be joined to any main clause. If you are trying to link it to the 'tum demum' clause I don't think it works. A little too much subordination, perhaps, as these ideas don't fit naturally together. But you could try moving the cum to the beginninbg of the sentence. Otherwise you are introducing the socii as the subject not only of the 'cum' clause but also of the clause which follows, and they are not the subject of the next clause.

The correction suggested using 'quorum' does not work, as the relative clause fails to link to Pyrrhus if you make the relative pronoun link to the allies. How can he be 'nolebat-ing' if you have not made him the subject of the relative clause? The relative clause needs a subject. In fact, the whole sentence is quite awkward using the allies as the subject, as it then becomes difficult to connect the 'adventum' to the 'socii'. You would certainly need to use a reflexive genitive pronoun to do so. One possible way around it is to put Pyrrhus into the relative clause - cum socii, quorum ante adventum Pyrrhus pugnare nolebat, post diebus paucis advenerunt' - but this makes the sentence needlessly complicated and not quite what it wants to say. Here is my simpler suggestion.

Pyrrhus pugnare nolebat antequam socii sui advenerunt.


another suggestion for 'for a long time the issue was in doubt' is 'proelio diu ancipiti' 'for a long time the battle was in doubt' (literally 'two-headed'), or, even more poetic would be 'Marte diu ancipiti'


Next, your use of ablative absolutes does not really work, because ablative absolutes depend on some main clause that is in some way related to the ablative absolutes. You can have an ablative absolute used as 'although, but in this case there is no connection between the wings' successes and the manner in which the Romans fought. Ablative absolutes describe some condition, detail, or circumstance relating to a main idea. Here, the success and failure of the wings IS the main idea. I would change your ablative absolutes back into regular verbs.

I would place 'magno cum animo' between 'Romani' and 'pugnantes' to make it clear that the 'tamen' is operating in spite of the bravery in fighting. Otherwise it is ambiguous what is happening 'with great courage.'

I would use 'cum' with a subjunctive verb 'praestitissent' instead of 'quoniam', and 'nonne in altera superare poterint?' in the other section. You need a subjunctive verb, because this is an indirect question, and possum takes an infinitive. 'nonne' is the word you want here, as it asks a question that expects the answer yes.

Not sure that your final ablative absolute works as you mention the Romans 'hos viros' in the main clause.

Keep up the great work! Nice to see fellow Latinists on the go.
Hope this is helpful.
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