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Livy

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Livy

Postby Einhard » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:07 pm

Salvete omnes,

I'm having some trouble with a few lines from Livy's History of Rome; if anyone could offer some suggestions I'd be grateful:

Forte quadam divinitus super ripas Tiberis effusus lenibus stagnis nec adiri usquam ad iusti cursum poterat amnis et posse quamvis languida mergi aqua infantes spem ferentibus dabat

By chance the Tiber having divinely overflown its banks into a gentle pool was not at all able to be approached to the course of its regular stream, and it offered hope that by bearing the infants, they were able to be drowned by the water however sluggish

I'm not sure how else to translate this line, but it looks horrible in English.

There's also the line that follows:

Ita velut defuncti regis imperio in proxima adluvie, ubi nunc ficus Ruminalis est (Romularem vocatam ferunt), pueros exponunt.

As if thus having been discharged from the authority of the King close to the floodwater, where now the fig-tree of Ruminalis stands (they bear fruit that was called of Romulus[?]), they exposed the boys.

Thanks in advance..
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Re: Livy

Postby thesaurus » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:44 pm

Forte quadam divinitus super ripas Tiberis effusus lenibus stagnis nec adiri usquam ad iusti cursum poterat amnis et posse quamvis languida mergi aqua infantes spem ferentibus dabat

By chance the Tiber having divinely overflown its banks into a gentle pool was not at all able to be approached to the course of its regular stream, and it offered hope that by bearing the infants, they were able to be drowned by the water however sluggish

I translate:
Sic verto:
"It happened providentially that the Tiber overflowed its banks into gentle pools and [the river] could not be approached from anywhere--one could not approach the course of the river proper--and yet, although the water was sluggish, it gave the bearers of the infants hope that they could be drowned."

"ad justi cursum poterat amnis" appears to be a parenthetical remark explaining "nec adiri usquam", which would explain why it's difficult to translate. "nec . . . et" has the sense of "not . . . and at the same time." I'm not sure "languida aqua" is ablative here; I believe it is the subject that gives them hope that the "infantes mergi posse." infantes is also a repeated object of ferentibus. The bearers dump the babies in the shallow pool because they are cut off from the main river by flooding.

Ita velut defuncti regis imperio in proxima adluvie, ubi nunc ficus Ruminalis est (Romularem vocatam ferunt), pueros exponunt.

As if thus having been discharged from the authority of the King close to the floodwater, where now the fig-tree of Ruminalis stands (they bear fruit that was called of Romulus[?]), they exposed the boys.


"Thus as if they had discharged the king's order, they exposed the boys in the nearest floodplain, where now is the fig tree of Rumina [the goddess of suckling] (they say that it is called Romulan)."

"defuncti regis imperio" is a participle phrase. "Ferunt" is a common impersonal way of saying "they say/report." You might also see "fertur" meaning "is said [to be]," with the subject being in the nominative.

Hmm, I think I've discovered that I don't like reading Livy!
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: Livy

Postby Einhard » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:35 pm

thesaurus wrote:

Hmm, I think I've discovered that I don't like reading Livy!


I think I've discovered that you're not the only one!!

I wouldn't mind except my translation was going well for the first ten or so lines until I reached the bloody Tiber!

I've translated some Pliny and Cicero, and want to move onto something new. Apart from Livy, who would you suggest? I was thinking of Ovid's Metamorphoses next, but I don't want to tackle anything too daunting just yet, and don't really know much about the Classical writers and the difficulty in translating each.
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