This is my first post, and I was wondering if anyone could possibly help me out with my translation of the passage The Tyrant Can Trust No One:
Multos annos tyrannus Syracusanorum fuit Dionysius. Pulcherrimam urbem servitute oppressam tenuit. At a bonis auctoribus cognovimus eum fuisse hominem summae temperaniae in victu et in rebus gerendis acrem et industrium, eundem tamen malum et iniustum. Quare, omnibus viris bene veritatem quaerentibus hunc videri miserrimm neecesse est, nam nemini credere audebat. Itaque propter iniustam cupiditatem dominatus quasi in carcerem ipse se incluserat. Quin etiam, ne tonsori collum committeret, filias suas artem tonsoriam docuit. Ita hae virgines tondebant barbam et capillum patris. Et tamen ab his ipsis, cum iam essent adultae, ferrum removit, eisque imperavit ut carbonibus barbam et capillum sibi adurerent.
For many years, Dionysius was the ruler of Syracuse. He kept the most beautiful city oppressed by slavery. Although from the good authors we learned that he was a keen and industrious man of the greatest temperance in (his) way of life, and in carrying out events, that same man (was) nevertheless evil and unjust. In that way, when all men are rightly seeking the truth, it is necessary to see this most miserable of men, for he intended to trust no one. Therefore, on account of an unjust desire for power, as it were, that man shut himself up in prison. Therefore, let not him bring (his) neck to the barber, he (the barber) taught his barbering craft to his (Dionysuis') daughters so these virgins cut the beard and the hair of (their) father. And nevertheless, from this man himself, seeing that they (the daughters) were already adult, removed the tool, and commanded them so that they might have scorched (his) beard and hair with a glowing coal.
Mostly it just seems rather disjointed, so I feel like I'm making simple mistakes all over the place. If anyone could take a look at this, that would be awesome,
Largely, it's good - you do lose the sense a bit near the end, though.
The corrections I would make:
For "summae temperaniae in victu et in rebus gerendis acrem et industrium", I wouldn't apply acrem et industrum to the whole thing: I'd render it "of the highest temperance in his way of life and keen and industrious in conducting business"
"videri": the passive of video often has a sense of seeming or appearing
"omnibus viris bene veritatem quaerentibus": resist the temptation to take it as an ablative absolute - it works better as a dative of reference with videri, denoting from whose point of view this thing seems to be true.
"nam nemini credere audebat": audeo has the sense of "dare" more than "intend", so "for he dared to trust no-one"
"quasi in carcerem ipse se incluserat": quasi essentially introduces a simile, so he didn't actually lock himself up in prison; he just shut himself away, as if in prison.
"ne tonsori collum committeret": this isn't a negative jussive subjunctive, but a negative purpose clause: it's his reason for teaching the barbering craft.
"filias suas artem tonsoriam docuit": suus - a -um refers to the subject of the sentence in all but a few cases (e.g. with quaeque, analogous to English "to each his own"). Therefore, it can't be the barber teaching Dionysius' daughters (which would be filias eius); it must be the barber teaching the barber's daughters or Dionysius teaching Dionysius' daughters. Three things suggest the correct choice; what makes sense in context, the fact that the barber has only shown up in a negative purpose clause (and so might not even exist), and the fact that in Latin you usually assume that the subject is the same until a new one is expressed, and the only expressed subject is in the very first sentence.
"virgines": read "young girls" rather than taking this as implying anything about their sexual experience.
"(ferrum removit) ab his ipsis": this is ablative plural, so rather than meaning "this man", it must refer to the plural noun (not necessarily male, for the -is ending applies to all genders in the 1st/2nd declension) just expressed...
"cum iam essent adultae": "seeing" is not really the idea here; it's a causal or possibly temporal-causal cum clause, so replace "seeing" with "since" or "when"
"eisque imperavit ut carbonibus barbam et capillum sibi adurerent": you make two errors here. First, read ut...adurerent almost like an imperative; it's what he's ordering them to do (if it helps, think of it as a kind of result clause - he orders them, and they do this). Secondly, remember your sequence of tenses: the main verb is perfect (i.e. historical sequence), so an imperfect subjunctive means that it's going on at the same time or straight after. Ordering that they had done something in the past - which is nonsense, of course - would be adussissent.
I hide in blue text my translation - once you've thought about what I've said, highlight it to see my rendition.For many years, Dionysius was the ruler of Syracuse. He kept the most beautiful city oppressed by slavery. Although from the good authors we have learned that he was of the greatest temperance in (his) way of life, and in keen and industrious carrying out events, that same man (was) nevertheless evil and unjust. For that reason, this man must appear most miserable to all men rightly seeking the truth, for he dared to trust no one. Therefore, on account of an unjust desire for power, that man shut himself up as if in prison. Therefore, so that he should not bring (his) neck to the barber, he taught the barbering craft to his daughters, so these young women cut the beard and the hair of (their) father. And yet, from these very girls, since they were now adults, he removed the steel, and commanded that they should scorch (his) beard and hair with glowing coals.
The thought is: he did some good things, but was a bad man, which meant he couldn't trust anyone; historians must thus see him as wretched. Because he couldn't trust anyone, he took crazy precautions, like avoiding barbers and making his daughters cut his hair; ultimately, he didn't even trust them to have scissors that close to his neck.