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Translation help for a Medieval phrase

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Translation help for a Medieval phrase

Postby autophile » Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:00 pm

Salvete, and thanks to all helping me with this and other sentences. I'm learning more and more, which means hopefully I have to bother you guys less and less!

I think I have the first sentence, but I'm including it for context. I have most of the second sentence. I may not have worded the translation quite well, though, and I've highlighted the questionable parts.

Hanc protestationem meam non sine causa toti huic operi nostro praeposui, propterea quod noverim plures esse futuros: qui cum ea, quae scripsimus, intelligere nequeant, ad iniurias conversi, bona & sancta studia nostra malis artibus aut superstitiosis adinventionibus sint concessuri.

His, cum futuri sint, & omnibus haec nostra synthemata sunt lecturi, attente supplicamus, ut si hanc secretam traditionem nostram intellexerint, perpetuo fervent occultam, nec mysteria tam miranda transfundant in publicum.


I have put this, my declaration, in front of this, our complete work, not without reason, because I may learn that there will be more: anyone, when they may not be able to understand what I have written, turning towards injury, might be ready to consign our good & holy study to evil science or superstitious inventions.

To these, seeing that they might exist, and to anyone whatsoever reading this, our synthesis, we beg you to pay attention, so that if they understand this, our secret tradition, they will continually be busy with the secret, and they should not transfer? pour out? the mysteries to be so marvelled at in public.

Valete,

--Rob
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Re: Translation help for a Medieval phrase

Postby adrianus » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:32 am

Salve, autophile. Sic anglicè verto.
This declaration of mine I have placed right at the front of this work of ours [/mine, really] for a reason, on account of the fact that I knew that there would be many who, since they might not be able to understand those things we [/I] have written, resorting to insults, might be likely to attribute our [/my] honest, pious studies to the evil arts or superstitious inventions.

To these people, whoever they may turn out to be [your "seeing that they might exist" is more accurate, I think,—rather "since they are likely to exist" // quod tu ipse scripsisti melius est, ut opinor], and to everyone about to read our [/my] guides, we [/I] ardently pray that, if they understand [/will have understood] this secret account of ours [/mine], they will forever promote the occult [/hidden knowledge], and they will publicize not [its] mysteries but more [its] wonders [/alternatively, not the mysteries but more the wonders will be transferred into the open].
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Translation help for a Medieval phrase

Postby autophile » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:32 pm

Salve, Adriane:

Thank you, your translation certainly gave me some things to remember (especially the "this, our X" vs "this X of ours"). There are a few things which lead me to believe that perhaps my dictionary isn't the best (Lewis and Short). For example:

You have toti meaning right while L+S has all, entire, wholly, entirely, completely....

synthema isn't even in L+S.

attente shows up as attentively, carefully. I couldn't figure out why one would want to pray or beg attentively or carefully, which is why I thought perhaps attente was a vocative. But that doesn't make too much sense either.

L+S has ferveo as boil, rage, glow, be agitated, which has negative connotation to me. promote, on the other hand, is positive. So where did that come from?

A question about ...noverim plures esse futuros. Your translation reads well: ...I knew there would be many, however wouldn't that have sum in the subjunctive and nosco in the perfect indicative?

Thank you for helping me!

Vale,

--Rob
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Re: Translation help for a Medieval phrase

Postby adrianus » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:41 pm

Salve autophile
Optima omnium sunt dictionaria Lewis & Short et Oxford Latin Dictionary.

You must put the author's meaning first, I think, by writing good English.
"I put it in front of the whole work / toti (casu dativo) operi" = "I put it right at the start of the book".
The author made sense in Latin; you must make sense in English.

Ante omnia est quod vult dicere creator, ut puto. Cum bonos in sermones anglicos vertis, sic facis, quià benè scripsit creator latiné.

"synthema" is in L&S (not in OLD) but as "(a token agreed upon), a passport". I think I saw elsewhere, it can mean a degree or qualification certificate. A qualifying document for initiation = "a guide"/"a manual", I say.
"Ferveo", Ainsworth, says, is "to be busily occupied and troubled with", "to be transported by any passion" = aut positivum aut negativum, so "fervent" = "they will get immersed in secret knowledge" = "they will take up the cause of/promote", more freely // libentiùs dictu.

"...proptereà quod noverim plures esse futuros" (A&G, §592.3) "...because I would have known that there would likely be many" That's not how you speak in English, simply.
Also, no way "sum", just an accusative + infinitive phrase suffices.
Sic non loquaris anglicé,—tantùm est. Et nullo modo "sum" addas, quià clausulam accusativam cum infinitivo ibi habes, quae in ipsâ sufficit.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Translation help for a Medieval phrase

Postby autophile » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:18 am

I see -- I was hoping to retain some of the flavor of medieval writing patterns, but in retrospect, that was probably not a good idea since the author was German. I'd probably end up with some weird medieval German-English hybrid.

You are right, synthema was in L+S, but I sort of ignored it because I couldn't figure how passport made any sense at all. Synthema also appears to mean a password used in the Eleusinian Mysteries; the initiates would say the password, the synthema, when they entered the location of the Eleusinian mysteries to indicate that they were ready to be a part of the rites. (vide http://ablemedia.com/ctcweb/glossary/glossarys.html)

Although perhaps the paucity of entries in Latin dictionaries is due to the fact that synthema is apparently Greek for a sign, signal, representation of something, recognition, something that is characteristic of, a meaningful gesture and a sign of agreement or treaty. (vide http://www.ysee.gr/download/TELOSTFH.pdf)

Perhaps Trithemius was being playful and referring to the work as a "passport" to the mysteries of steganography. Or maybe it has some obscure philosophical usage.

In any case, the reason I use L+S over the OLD is that I can't find the OLD online. And L+S is free. And it has a good search feature. :)
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