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Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

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Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby pmda » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:55 am

In LLPSI Orbert scribit:

Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris, ab hostibus constantur ac non timide pugnatum esset, equitatus noster repente porta dextra erumpens impetum in latus hostium apertum fecit.

'ab hostibus' has confused me as to what this sentence actually means. Also I can't account for the case of 'pugnatum esset' Clearly it's Pluperfect subjunctive passive but why 'pugnatum'? I'm having difficulty identifying both subject AND the object of the first clause (down to 'equitatus'). It would seem to translate: When ['Cum' = after?] many hours in this way [and] with the greatest of strength, calmness and without fear [the enemy - (implied object?)] were fought by our men, our cavalry suddenly charging from the right-hand gate made a gap in the side of the enemy.

I have spent about 2 hours trying to figure this out. I can't account for 'ab hostibus' nor for the case of the pluperfect subjunctive passive 'pugnatum esset' - I mean it's singular - why? Both of the things that are being fought 'Hostes' and 'nostros' are plural??

I don't usually translate Orberg but in some cases when I can't figure out what is going on I have to to try to make sense of it.

Unless the whole clause is an ablative absolute but this still doesn't explain 'pugnatum esset'...?

Can anyone help?
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Re: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby Alatius » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:54 am

The verb is used impersonally: "pugnatur" on its own means "it is being fought" (if you can say that in English?), i.e. "there is a fight going on", "people are fighting".
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Re: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby pmda » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:29 am

OK so that would make it neuter, right?

What about 'ab hostibus'? What is its role in the sentence...?

Gratias tibi ago.
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Re: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby Alatius » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:02 am

Mostly any verb can be used this way: "clamabatur" = "there was shouting going on", "cotidie itur in agros" = "people go to the fields every day".

I suppose both "a nostris" and "ab hostibus" are agent phrases specifying by whom the fighting is done.

Note by the way that this sentence has a chiastic structure:
"Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris,
ab hostibus constanter ac non timide pugnatum esset, ..."

When for many hours it had been fought [i.e. a battle had been carried out] so bravely by our men, [and] by the enemy steadily and not cowardly...
When our men so bravely and the enemy steadily and without fear had fought for many hours...
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Re: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby adrianus » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:40 pm

Alatius wrote:"it is being fought" (if you can say that in English?)

You certainly can: "A battle is being fought right now over there." Not "so bravely", I think, but "thus [or 'so' with following punctuation // momenti est signum sequens], bravely by our ones, by the enemy steadily..."
Dicitur certé. Non "tam" sed "sic" hîc traditur "ita", obiter.
Last edited by adrianus on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby pmda » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:47 pm

it's an unusually convoluted sentence for Orberg..at this stage... I take it he's slowly introducing idioms that more resemble classical Latin ?
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Re: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby Alatius » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:05 pm

adrianus wrote:You certainly can: "A battle is being fought right now over there."

Right, but there you made "battle" the subject. I wondered if you in English can use "It is being fought" as a purely impersonal construction. I highly doubt you can do that with intransitive verbs at least; for example "It is being gone to the fields" does not sound grammatical to me. (It would work in Swedish though.)

adrianus wrote:Not "so bravely", I think, but "thus [or 'so' with following punctuation // momenti est signum sequente], bravely by our ones, by the enemy steadily..."
Dicitur certé. Non "tam" sed "sic" hîc traditur "ita", obiter.

Yes, you are right.
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Re: Cum complures horas ita fortissime a nostris

Postby adrianus » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:36 am

Alatius wrote:
adrianus wrote:I wondered if you in English can use "It is being fought" as a purely impersonal construction. I highly doubt you can do that with intransitive verbs at least; for example "It is being gone to the fields" does not sound grammatical to me. (It would work in Swedish though.)

You're right, Alatius. I misunderstood. "It is being fought" as an impersonal passive (the subject empty) would be an alien construction in English, and "It is being gone" ungrammatical, I, too, would say. "It" in "it is being fought" will always refer to a real subject.

Rectè dicis, Alati. Erravi. Impersonaliter (vacuum subjectum) passivè anglicè id non dicitur nisi aliené, aliud est soloecismus, ut et mihi videtur. "It" pronomen anglicum in constructione dictâ vero subjecto innuere debet.

Corrigendum
I mistakenly wrote "signum sequente" above for "signum sequens"
Perperàm "signum sequente" pro "signum sequens" suprà scribi.
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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