English to Latin

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English to Latin

Post by petitor » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:26 am

I would greatly appreciate any comments, corrections, and even alternate versions for the following translation.

Many thanks.


At midnight the famous general set out from his camp to seize the strong position which he had examined six hours earlier, before the enemy could notice, weary as they were with fighting and marching. And so, when the three cohorts had been led around by a secret route, he was able to draw up his front line under the low rampart itself and give the signal to advance. The terrified enemy had never expected to see armed men in their rear, and fearing that they might be attacked on both sides at once, they threw down their arms: they knew not where to look for help and they would not have had any hope of safety if they had not used all speed and fled each to his own home.


Ille imperator, antequam hostes pugna itinereque fessi eum animadverterent, media nocte e castris profectus est ad castellum abhinc sex horas inspectum capessendum. itaque, tribus cohortibus occulta semita circumductis, cum primores sub ipsum demissum vallum instruendos curasset, signum intulit. numquam perterriti armatos conspectos in sua novissima expectarant hostes, qui cum timuerint ne possent simul utrimque oppugnari, deiecere arma: ignoravere enim quo auxilium peterent et nisi quisque quam citissime suae domui effugisset, desperasset salutem ullam.
ignorantes latinam deo minore nati

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Re: English to Latin

Post by galen697 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:32 pm

This looks very well-written and authentic. Some comments I have:

The word "castellum" implies a constructed fortress- not sure if this is the best word choice for "strong place"

Possibly add a gerund at the "gave the signal to advance"/"signum progrediendi intulit"

Since it's prose, why syncopate "curasset", "desperasset" and "deiecere"?

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Re: English to Latin

Post by ptolemyauletes » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:50 pm

Here are my comments.

The use of 'eum' in the first line is incorrect. Since your general is the subject of the main clause, you need to use 'se', or just leave it out entirely. I agree about 'castellum'. 'locus munitus' or 'locus secundus' or something like that would be better. I also think the use of 'ad' with the gerundive results in a somewhat awkward and lengthy phrase. Perhaps 'ut' + the subjunctive instead?

How important is it to incorporate the 'he was able' in the next line? Perhaps you need to rethink your construction and use 'possum' with a couple of infinitives. Also, as mentioned, 'progrediendi' is a good addition.

The use of 'conspectos' really doesn't work. Expectation implies a future event. They never expected they WOULD see armed men etc. 'conspectos' means 'having been seen men. Perfect Passive Participles are alla bout actions done before the verb they are connected to. You can't expect to see men that you have already seen, if you get me. A better construction would be 'hostes numquam exspectaverant se armatos a tergo suo conspecturos esse.'

'timuerint' should be imperfect subjunctive. You don't need 'possent' in the fear clause. Simply putting 'oppugno' in the imperfect, subjunctive, passive will do.

'suae domui' needs to be in the accusative case, or else John Cleese will chop your balls off!
Your final verb needs to be plural, since it refers to the enemy soldiers, not the 'quisque' of your protasis.

Half asleep doing this... hope it makes sense!
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