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Latin Composition on Gordian III

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 2:15 pm
by cdm2003
Hi...I am trying to write a few paragraphs on the regnal history of Gordian III in Latin. I thought I would post the first paragraph of what I've done here and see just how atrocious my Latin really is. :) If anyone can offer any advice or suggestions, they would be extremely appreciated. If some of the sentences read strangely, it's because most of the Latin of studied is medieval rather than classical.

Thank you!

Senatus avo Gordiani III patruoque potestatem anno CMXCI ab urbe condita dederunt quoniam senatum populumque romanorum Maximino Thracis qui primus barbarus imperator odissent. Suffragator Maximini vocatus Cappellianus bellum in Gordianos gessit et eos interficeretur. Sedes vacante imperatore est, uterque consules, M. Clodius Pupienus Maximus et D. Caelius Calvinus Balbinus, potestam ceperunt. Ei populo invissimus sunt autem populus romanorum vocavit M. Ant. Gordianum imperatorum dicere. Praetoriani Pupienum Balbinumque interficerent itaque M. Ant. Gordianum solum imperatorum dicere. Puer Gordianus tredecim annos natus est cum is imperator factus est. Postestatem quod Gordianus adulescens senatus retinerunt in CMXCIV a.u.c. tum Gordianum in matrimonium Furiam Sabinam Tranquillinam duxisset. Furia Sabina filia Timesithei, praefecti praetoriani, cui potesta vera Romae fuit. Sed haec questio non mala erat Gordiano senatuive ut familiarissime uti viderentur. Simul bellum in Parthos fortunate gesserunt autem Gordianus templum Iani Gemini aperuit per ultimo historiam Romae.

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:34 pm
by decurion
Nice work--I few suggestions I have:

senatus... dederunt: Unless I'm mistaken, senatus is a collective noun, so its verb ought to be singular, dedit, unless you're going for that anacoluthonic tinge, "The Senate, they gave..."

potestatem: Hate to be nitpicky, but imperium is the proper term for authority as used by the emperor and consuls (I think praetors also). potestas is fine though.

quoniam... odissent: Needs to be cleaned up a little. Make it clear who or what the subject is. If the main verb here is odissent, it ought to be oderant. (quoniam normally takes the indicative). Also, Maximino is dative/abl., while Thracis is genitive (Thrax is an adjective meaning "Thracian" and so ought to agree with its noun, Maximino).

romanorum: To me, Romanum sounds better, as to yield the "Senate and People of Rome." As it is, the "Senate and People of the Romans" does sound clunky. I think Romanorum occurs below again in the same way.

interficeretur: Why a subjunctive passive? "He killed them" would be a plain interfecit.

sedes... est: Reads "The seat is with an empty emperor." A plain ablative absolute would be cleaner, sede imperatoris vacante, or in more direct, concrete Latin: imperatore absente.

uterque consules: Agreement: ought to be utrique consules. Maybe ambo might be prefered here as well, since uterque refers to "both" as in separate compacities. Did Pupienus and Balbinus take power each for themselves, or was it shared?

potestam: potestatem

invissimus: invisimi to agree w/ sunt.

autem: is not a conjunction like et, sed, at, atque... but a postpositive occuring only as the 2nd or 3rd word in the sentence. Use something like sed here.

vocavit... dicere: Are the People proclaiming Gordian emperor? If so, then dicere here is unnecessary, and a bit confusing. imperator is a 3rd declension noun, so the accusative is actually imperatorem.

interficerent: Again, why subjunctive? Simple perfect is clearer: interfecerunt.

itaque: like autem, itaque is only used at the beginning of a sentence, and watch your case on Gordianus. In fact this might be a nice place for a purpose clause: Praetoriani Pupienum Balbinumque interfecerunt ut M. Gordianus solus imperator esset (or) ut M. Gordianus solus regnaret.

potestatem...: What's that quod doing there? And if the subject is Gordian and the senate, an et or -que is advisable. This needs disambiguation.

retinerunt: retinuerunt.

tum: tum is used to mean "then" as in "at that time." For "then" in the consecutive sense ("this, then that") use deinde or one of its many variants (dein, deinceps)

Gordianum: Gordianus

duxisset: duxit. Is there any question that he married her?

praefecti praetoriani: praefecti praetorio. The reason being for the dative case of praetorio here, as in the proper title praefectus praetorio, is because of the so-called 'dative of compound verb.' praefectus is from praeficio, "to put someone in charge of something" which takes accusative of person and dative of thing.

potesta: potestas.

questio: I prefer quaestio, but if you're into medieval stuff then questio is just fine. :) Might I ask the meaning behind this sentence?

autem: same problem as above.

per ultimo... Romae: needs a bit of clarification. How is ultimo being used here?

That's about it. Again, nice work, just needs some polishing.

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:18 pm
by cdm2003
Hi Decurion...

Thank you so much for your corrections, all of which have been incredibly helpful. I've been rewriting and hopefully I'm on the right track. Below is what I've rewritten. I took the first half of my original composition, corrected it, and fleshed out the history a little more. I hope it reads better now:

Senatus avo Gordiani IIIi patroque idem imperium augustorum anno CMXCI ab urbe condita dedit, quoniam senatus populusque romanus Maximinum Thracem, qui primus barbarus imperator erat, facti oderant.

Nunc vitae Gordianorum duorum celeriter factae sunt. Socius Maximini Mauri Capelianus vocatur ad Carthaginem exercitum barbarorum duxit. Gordianis Maximinum imprimis non contentis, Gordiani in Carthaginem ierunt ut civitatem defenderent. Gordianus iunior in pugna honeste interfectus est. Hac re audista, Gordianus senior sibi mortem consciscivit.

Sede imperatoris vacante et Maximino in Italiam invasuro, senatus celerrime novum augustum facere dixit. Unum senator, qui ex Traiani imperatoris erat, duos imperatores denuo creare censuit. Credit opus Romae esse duobos ut alium Romae moneret regnare dum alium Maximinum abiret pugnare. Vocavit duos consultes illius anni, M. Clodium Pupienum Maximum et D. Caelium Calvinum Balbinum, esse augustos, postea quos senatus dixit.

Sed populus romanus non gaudebant quoniam Pupienus Balbinusque eo invisi sunt. Turba convenit ante Capitolium et secundum populum vostrum vindicavit. Quoniam populo fama virtusque Gordianorum nobiles sunt, postulaverunt alium Gordianorum Caesarem fieri. Deinde senatus protulit puerum qui filius sororis Gordiani iunioris erat. Die illo, ante diem tertium kalends Augusti CMXCI ab urbe condita, M. Antoninus Gordianus Caesar factus est cum tredecim annos natus est.

Writing was a little easier with your corrections. Yet, I still found myself guessing on certain idiomatic and particular constructions. I used "Mauri" to mean Africa in the locative. I was not sure if it is in a good position within the sentence. Also, I used "non" in the ablative absolute and could not find any suggestion in my grammar books as to whether it was the proper negation for that construction (as opposed to "ne," etc.). In the third paragraph, I also wasn't sure if it was sufficient to simply use "dixit," as in the senate quickly needed to appoint a new augustus, or "dixit facere," which sounds correct in English but is perhaps a touch redundant in Latin. I didn't know how to refer to a senator decended from Trajan. I didn't think "gens" was the right word, as Trajan is the cognomen, but also wasn't sure whether I could use "genus" or "familia." Also, I said that the senate named the two consuls of the current year, "Vocavit duos consules illius anni," though in the Historia Augusta, which is mostly my source for the history, the language used in this very instance is "ambos ex consulibus."

My only other difficulty came in trying to state that the crowd assembled before the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline and demanded their right to consent to the appointment of an augustus. I know you can say "secundo populo" to suggest having the consent of the people and that "rem nostram vindicare" can mean to demand what is ours. I wasn't sure if I combined them correctly (if they can be combined at all).

Anyway, thanks again for your reply. Your notes were extremely helpful.

All the best,

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:31 am
by decurion
Glad you found my comments useful--it reads better now. If I may impose myself to your guesses in the last paragraph...

cf. Mauri: locatives, to my knowledge, are only used with names of towns, cities, and words like urbs, rus, and domus. "In Africa" is best just expressed simply "in Africa." I suppose if Capelianus was literally amongst the Mauri people you could say "inter Mauros."

non seems perfectly acceptable within an ablative absolute construction (authors like Tacitus, Apuleius can pack an abl. abs. construction with words like you wouldn't believe); that being said, however, you could remove that non by selecting an antonym of contineo.

"The senate quickly needed to appoint a new Augustus" could be best expressed with need as decision: "Senatus celerrime statuit (decrevit/censuit, etc.) ut novum Augustum faceret," or even "It seemed best to the Senate to appoint a new Augustus" "placuit Senatui facere novum Augustum" or something like that. Play around with the semantics of the sentence to yeild the best Latin idiom.

For a "senator descended from Trajan": maybe a genitive/ablative of quality?: senator stirpis Traianae/stirpe Traiana, or mayble even just senator stirpe Traiana natus/ortus. I believe that Traianus, like any other Roman family name is applied like an adjective--so we have things like "lex Claudia" for "The Law of Claudius," for example.

"et secundum populum vostrum vindicavit.": First, vestrum should be suum, but then it leaves the meaning of the phrase kind of vague on first sight. I would try to avoid combing those two senses for the sake of literary style, effecting instead "they demanded, that they might consent by their very right to the appointment of an Augustus", "poscebat [turba] ut iure ipso assentiret Augusto faciendo."