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Supines question - translating

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Supines question - translating

Postby Slappo » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:46 am

I'm translating Livy's Hannibal and the Second Punic War and the context is describing the suffering endured by Hannibal's army while crossing the alps.

animalia inanimaque omnia rigentia gelu, cetera visu quam dictu foediora, .....

everything living and inanimate rigid from the frost (this part I have), the other things more terrible to seeing than to speaking (this part I don't get)

It seems like the supines visu and dictu are literally translated "terrible to seeing than to speaking" but that doesn't make sense in English. Is it appropriate to translate the supine as passive and say "more terrible to being seen than to being spoken of"

Thanks.

EDIT: I think I just got it. Neither are supines and it says "more terrible in sight than in speech" Please correct me if I'm wrong!
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:28 am

I would just translate them with English infinitives, i.e. "the rest more foul to see than to tell."

One way to understand the supine in -u is as an ablative of specification: "more foul in the seeing than in the telling". That's not very succinct in English, though.
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:30 am

HI Slappo,

i think you right that they are supines. This is a very common use of the supine. The problem is the somewhat uncomfortable english. You just need to be a bit more flexible in your wording and try to be slightly less literal in the translation.

For ease of translation, i'd change the latin wording to:

cetera foediora visu quam dictu.

In translation:
... other things more terrible to see than to say


EDIT: Imber got in just ahead of me. I agree with what he/she said.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Slappo » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:16 am

Gotcha, thanks!

running across problems with the very last sentence to translate for Friday too though...

"Erigentibus in primos agmen clivos apparuerunt imminentes tumulos insidentes montani."

The notes say:
erigentibus...agmen is "to those marching"
imminentes modifies tumulos, object of insidentes montani. (mountaineers)

I have:
To those marching up the first hills the mountaineers appeared threatening the hilltops.

Again it doesn't make sense in English and I'm really not sure what insidentes is doing. Present active plural accusative participle but I don't know how it should be modifying tumulos.
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:33 am

Hi Slappo,

either my latin understanding is failing me, or is not what i would like it to be, or there is an error in the line you have posted. I can't seem to figure out what agmen in doing there. Are you sure this is correctly spelt? (or is it 'spelled'?) Something like 'in agmine' would make more sense to me...

otherwise, the sentence seems to say:
To those scaling the first cliffs appeared the men of the mountains who were occupying the overhanging hills.


mind that imminentes and insidentes can both be either nominative or accusative, and each can grammatically accompany both tumulos and montani.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:43 am

That's a very difficult passage, but there's no error. It appears to be straight from Livy. I would say something along these lines:

"Mountain-men occupying the overhanging hills became visible to the the men raising the battle line into the nearest foothills."

I.e. the advancing army saw a bunch of mountain-dwelling ruffians above them as they ascended the foothills.
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:57 am

Imber Ranae wrote:That's a very difficult passage, but there's no error. It appears to be straight from Livy.


Well, even Livy is capable of error, no?
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:59 am

Kasper wrote:Hi Slappo,

either my latin understanding is failing me, or is not what i would like it to be, or there is an error in the line you have posted. I can't seem to figure out what agmen in doing there. Are you sure this is correctly spelt? (or is it 'spelled'?) Something like 'in agmine' would make more sense to me...

otherwise, the sentence seems to say:
To those scaling the first cliffs appeared the men of the mountains who were occupying the overhanging hills.


mind that imminentes and insidentes can both be either nominative or accusative, and each can grammatically accompany both tumulos and montani.


Agmen is the direct object of erigentibus, as his notes say. Erigere agmen is a common idiom that means more or less "march upwards". Agmen is the technical term for an advancing column of soldiers.

The only way you can know which participle goes with which noun is by knowing that one of them, insidentes "sitting upon/occupying", can take a direct object, while the other, imminentes "overhanging", is intransitive*, and that likewise the main verb apparuerunt is intransitive. A Roman would know all this by instinct upon reading these words, whereas we are at a considerable disadvantage until we've fully committed these kinds of grammatical minutiae to memory (which could take a lifetime). Anyway, by knowing that insidentes is the only verb or verbal in the sentence that can take a direct object, it becomes obvious from the context that insidentes agrees with the subject and that imminentes must agree with the direct object of insidentes, and thus it's the mountaineers who are occupying the overhanging hills. Erigentibus seems primarily to be a dative of respect with the main verb appareo, i.e. "it became evident/visible to those marching". It's possible that it could also, secondarily, be a dative indirect object of imminentes, as it makes sense that the hills occupied by the mountaineers would also overhang the army. Word order seems to indicate that the former is the more obvious and direct grammatical relation, though.


*I think in the special context that immineo means "to threaten" it can uncharacteristically act as a transitive verb, but in such case the direct object is an internal accusative that always refers to an expression of threat or else some sort of action that constitutes a threat. Context rules that out, here. I also think it's mostly a poetic construction, but I'm not absolutely certain of that.
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:14 am

Kasper wrote:
Imber Ranae wrote:That's a very difficult passage, but there's no error. It appears to be straight from Livy.


Well, even Livy is capable of error, no?


He is most certainly capable of error, as are the transcribers of his works. Yet I don't think we need necessarily resort to that conclusion in this case.
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby adrianus » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:19 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:Erigentibus seems primarily to be a dative of respect with the main verb appareo, i.e. "it became evident/visible to those marching". It's possible that it could also, secondarily, be a dative indirect object of imminentes, as it makes sense that the hills occupied by the mountaineers would also overhang the army.

Is is not just an ablative absolute as a temporal clause (A&G, §420, or §419c adverbially without substantive, even): "As (or 'while' or 'just as' or 'when') they were moving the column up onto the immediate/nearest slopes..."?
Nonnè est tantummodò ablativum absolutum ut clausula temporalis?
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:10 pm

(see below)
Last edited by Kasper on Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Kasper » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:10 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:
Agmen is the direct object of erigentibus, as his notes say. Erigere agmen is a common idiom that means more or less "march upwards". Agmen is the technical term for an advancing column of soldiers.



thanks Imber! i was not familiar with this idiom. I'm still learning more and more each day.


He is most certainly capable of error, as are the transcribers of his works. Yet I don't think we need necessarily resort to that conclusion in this case.


hehe no i didn't mean to seem quite so serious when i said that.

Adrianus wrote:Is is not just an ablative absolute as a temporal clause (A&G, §420, or §419c adverbially without substantive, even): "As (or 'while' or 'just as' or 'when') they were moving the column up onto the immediate/nearest slopes..."?


I see your point, but i'm inclined to agree with Imber that its primary function is a dative of respect with apparuerunt.[/quote]
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:56 pm

adrianus wrote:Is is not just an ablative absolute as a temporal clause (A&G, §420, or §419c adverbially without substantive, even): "As (or 'while' or 'just as' or 'when') they were moving the column up onto the immediate/nearest slopes..."?
Nonnè est tantummodò ablativum absolutum ut clausula temporalis?


It could be, as it's technically ambiguous. You are right, however, to reprove me for not mentioning the possibility. Yet I don't see why that should be the only interpretation, let alone the better one. And I do believe the idea is the same either way. Going by immediate context, there's no one else for the mountaineers to appear to than to Hannibal and his army, so even assuming an ablative absolute it would be understood implicitly to whom they're appearing. On the other hand, dative with apparere is quite common, and the temporal relation expressed by the participle is the same whether it's an ablative absolute or a simple dative construction: "While they were moving the column up onto the immediate/nearest slopes, the mountain men became visible..." vs. "The mountain men became visible to them while they were moving the column...[etc.].
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby Essorant » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:19 pm

Sometimes seeing it in English wordorder helps one to see the grammar a bit more clearly:

montani ....... insidentes ... imminentes.. tumulos
Mountainmen.. sitting upon. overhanging . earthheaps

apparuerunt.... erigentibus ...... agmen .... in .... primos.... clivos
appeared... to those directing . the army . into the foremost . hills
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Re: Supines question - translating

Postby adrianus » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:15 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:Yet I don't see why that should be the only interpretation, let alone the better one.
Surely, Imber Ranae. It's another meaning.
Rectè dicis, Imber Ranae. Alia interpretatio est.

"Sitting upon overhanging earthheaps" doesn't sound right in English, Essorant. In this context, "holding the commanding drumlins" sounds better, I think.
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