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Lingua Latina

Postby Einhard » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:53 pm

Salvete,

I wonder if anyone can cast some light on the following sentences from Roma Aeterna with which I'm having some difficulty:

quorum rex Saturnus tanta iustitia fuisse dicitur ut nec serviret quisquam sub illo nec quidquam suum proprium haberet, sed omnia communia omnibus essent

whose king Saturn is said to have been so just that nobdy was a slave under him and no one had his own [property], but all things were common to everyone

mos Romanorum est ut mense Decembri diebus festis qui dicuntur Saturnalia servi in conviviis cum dominis discumbant

there is a custom of the Romans within the month of December on feast days which are called Saturnalia that the slaves may recline with their masters in banquets

I can translate what is meant by the sentence, but don't understand the use of "ut". The only thing I can think of is that it's introducing a result clause, which would fit in with the subjunctive "discumbant", but I didn't think such clause followed "esse".

sola in regia erat filia, nomine Lavinia, iam matura viro

It's the latter part of the line I'm having trouble with here. I'm hazarding that it means something akin to already ripe for a man, indicating that she's ready for marriage.

Sic notus Ulixes?

Thus Ulixes is known to you?

...Cassandra, filia Priami virgo cui res futuras praedicenti nemo umquam credebat, fatum Troiae civibus suis praedixit, nec vero Troes miseri, quibus ille dies supremus futurus erat, ei crediderunt, sed velut festo die templa deorum fronde exornverunt

...Cassandra, the virgin daughter of Priam to/for whose predicting future things nobody believed, predicted the fate of Troy to her citizens, yet the wretched Trojans, for whom that day had been the highest/most great, did not believe her, but they adorned the temples of the Gods with garland as if on a feat day

Thanks again...
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Re: Lingua Latina

Postby Damoetas » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:29 pm

You're not far off the mark with any of these!

...ut nec serviret quisquam sub illo nec quidquam suum proprium haberet

"... no one possessed anything as his own ..." (i.e. quidquam is the object of haberet, and suum proprium is an object complement.

mos Romanorum est ut mense Decembri diebus festis qui dicuntur Saturnalia servi in conviviis cum dominis discumbant

This ut-clause is substantival, or a "noun clause" in the terminology of many grammars. It's in apposition to mos, and explains what the mos was: "that in the month of December ..., slaves recline with their masters in banquets." Note that it's just "recline" and not "may recline." The subjunctive is used just because it's standard for ut-clauses.

iam matura viro

You're right, it means "already ripe/ready for a man (i.e. marriage)."

Sic notus Ulixes?

Yes: "Is this how Ulysses is known to you? (i.e., don't you know better than to trust him?)"

...Cassandra, filia Priami virgo cui res futuras praedicenti nemo umquam credebat, fatum Troiae civibus suis praedixit, nec vero Troes miseri, quibus ille dies supremus futurus erat, ei crediderunt, sed velut festo die templa deorum fronde exornverunt

cui res futuras praedicenti is temporal or circumstantial: "whom no one believed when she predicted the future..."

supremus with dies regularly means "last," and futurus erat means that it is future from the viewpoint of that time in the story: "for whom that day would be their last."
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
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Re: Lingua Latina

Postby Einhard » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:26 pm

Thanks for that Damoetas. Much appreciated as always. It always seems so obvious when somebody points it out to you!!

Damoetas wrote:
...Cassandra, filia Priami virgo cui res futuras praedicenti nemo umquam credebat, fatum Troiae civibus suis praedixit, nec vero Troes miseri, quibus ille dies supremus futurus erat, ei crediderunt, sed velut festo die templa deorum fronde exornverunt

cui res futuras praedicenti is temporal or circumstantial: "whom no one believed when she predicted the future..."

supremus with dies regularly means "last," and futurus erat means that it is future from the viewpoint of that time in the story: "for whom that day would be their last."


I'm still slightly confused about "futurus erat". Am I right that it is the pluperfect ind, used differently than the usual "had done something..."?
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Re: Lingua Latina

Postby Damoetas » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:10 pm

Einhard wrote:It always seems so obvious when somebody points it out to you!!

Aye, that's true, isn't it!!

Einhard wrote:I'm still slightly confused about "futurus erat". Am I right that it is the pluperfect ind, used differently than the usual "had done something..."?

Oh - no, it's not pluperfect; that would be fuerat. This is a "future periphrastic" construction, with the future active participle. This construction has two main uses (which you probably already know, this is just a refresher):

1) When something is destined, or imminent, or intended by the person who is going to do it. Troiam hodie capturi sumus, "Today we are going to take Troy." Cf. Troiam hodie capiemus, "Today we will take Troy," which places less stress on the certain or imminent nature of the event.

2) When it represents an event that was future from the vantage point of someone in the past. Usually this is because the narrator knows what is going to happen, but the people in the story do not. I think this is what you have in that sentence, quibus ille dies supremus futurus erat. It could also contain some of the idea of number 1), in that it was "destined" to be their last. There's not a sharp distinction between the two uses; but I think it's simpler to take it as 2).
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Re: Lingua Latina

Postby thesaurus » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:47 pm

This ut-clause is substantival, or a "noun clause" in the terminology of many grammars. It's in apposition to mos, and explains what the mos was: "that in the month of December ..., slaves recline with their masters in banquets." Note that it's just "recline" and not "may recline." The subjunctive is used just because it's standard for ut-clauses.


Could you give me a grammar reference to learn more of this construction? It made sense when I read it, but I'm fuzzy on the idea of a substantival ut-clause. (These days I seem to spend my time backfilling technical grammatical explanations of constructions I've come to understand).

Potesne mihi dare fontem è quo magis hac de re discere possim? Sententiam intellegi lectam, sed etiam nescio quid clausula "ut-substantiva" definitè adsignificet. Dies dego denuò discens grammaticam quae usque hodie mihi cum ignota sit, legens linguam Latinam mansi.

supremus with dies regularly means "last," and futurus erat means that it is future from the viewpoint of that time in the story: "for whom that day would be their last."


Regarding English translations, is there a substantive difference between "for whom that day would be their last," and "for whom that day was to be the last"?

Ut de Anglicè versionibus aliquid dicam, estne discrimen inter hanc et illam sententias, quas suprà Anglicè scripsi?
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Lingua Latina

Postby Damoetas » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:47 pm

thesaurus wrote:Could you give me a grammar reference to learn more of this construction? It made sense when I read it, but I'm fuzzy on the idea of a substantival ut-clause. (These days I seem to spend my time backfilling technical grammatical explanations of constructions I've come to understand).

I think all the standard grammars will have it. Allen & Greenough introduces substantive clauses in paragraphs 560-2, and discusses the mos est ut construction in 571. They take it as a subset of the "result clause" (also known as "consecutive clause"); I'm not sure if more recent grammars would agree that this is necessary. ("There is a custom, with the result that... "???)

thesaurus wrote:Regarding English translations, is there a substantive difference between "for whom that day would be their last," and "for whom that day was to be the last"?

To me those seem equivalent. Perhaps the second one allows more for the interpretation that it was their "fate" or "destiny." But in English, as in Latin, you can only really disambiguate that by other means: by explicitly saying fatum est ut ..., "it is fated" or whatever. The periphrastic future by itself does not necessarily imply fate, it can just mean intentionality or immediacy - or again, simply narrative perspective.

Compare the following:

Hic dies nobis supremus erit. "This day will be our last."
Cassandra dicebat illum diem eis supremum {fore/futurum esse}. "Cassandra kept saying that that day would be their last."

Whoever is narrating the second sentence is simply using futurum to represent what was erit from the perspective of the people at the time.
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Re: Lingua Latina

Postby Einhard » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:38 pm

Damoetas wrote:
Einhard wrote:It always seems so obvious when somebody points it out to you!!

Aye, that's true, isn't it!!

Einhard wrote:I'm still slightly confused about "futurus erat". Am I right that it is the pluperfect ind, used differently than the usual "had done something..."?

Oh - no, it's not pluperfect; that would be fuerat. This is a "future periphrastic" construction, with the future active participle. This construction has two main uses (which you probably already know, this is just a refresher):


Of course it's not the pluperfect, that was silly of me. Then again, I had meant to ask was it the non-existent pluperfect ind passive, which would have been just as bad!! The future active periphrastic keeps slipping my mind, I think I'll have to tatoo it to the innside of my eyelids!! Thanks again..
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