Textkit Logo

"De bello Gallico", book VI, chapter 27 error?

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

"De bello Gallico", book VI, chapter 27 error?

Postby jamesbath » Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:19 pm

Would someone tell me if I am correct in seeing a grammatical error in the bolded words of the Latin sentence below. The sentence is taken from Caesar's "De bello Gallico", book VI, chapter 27 (Caes. Gal. 6.27 at Perseus).

Harum est consimilis capris figura et varietas pellium, sed magnitudine paulo antecedunt mutilaeque sunt cornibus et crura sine nodis articulisque habent neque quietis causa procumbunt neque, si quo adflictae casu conciderunt, erigere sese aut sublevare possunt.

Now, since adjectives should agree with their nouns in person, number, and gender, "mutilaeque" is not correct for "cornibus" right? Because cornibus (horns of elk) in the plural is a nueter noun of the ablative or dative case; and the only plural forms of the adjective "mutilae" I can find are feminine nom and voc. So there is a disagreement, in gender as well as case, between "mutilae" and "cornibus". I see no way to make them agree.

Gratias vobis ago.

(PS. For what it's worth, my Loeb Classic translates the bolded text thusly: but they are somewhat larger in size and have blunted horns; and Perseus translates it as: but in size they surpass them a little and are destitute of horns)
jamesbath
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:51 am
Location: Charleston, SC, USA

Re: "De bello Gallico", book VI, chapter 27 error?

Postby Imber Ranae » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:47 pm

Mutilae agrees with the implied subject alces "elk" [plural], which must be supplied from the previous sentence; cornibus is ablative of specification limiting the adjective mutilae, so literally it says: "and they [the elk] are blunted/maimed in [respect to] the horns". The comparison is to goats, so I guess he means that they don't have horns at all, as if they were removed (the adjective mutilus is commonly used of people with severed limbs or other body parts).

Does that make sense?
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
Imber Ranae
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:06 am

Re: "De bello Gallico", book VI, chapter 27 error?

Postby jamesbath » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:Mutilae agrees with the implied subject alces "elk" [plural], which must be supplied from the previous sentence; cornibus is ablative of specification limiting the adjective mutilae, so literally it says: "and they [the elk] are blunted/maimed in [respect to] the horns". The comparison is to goats, so I guess he means that they don't have horns at all, as if they were removed (the adjective mutilus is commonly used of people with severed limbs or other body parts).

Does that make sense?


Yes. That makes great sense. I suppose I might have (if I been more learned) gotten a clue about the "ablative of specification" from the fact that cornibus was placed after sunt instead of before it.
jamesbath
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:51 am
Location: Charleston, SC, USA


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Jandar and 41 guests