Plus Bello Gallico

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FerrariusVerborum
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Plus Bello Gallico

Post by FerrariusVerborum » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:08 am

All:

I recently encountered a rather vexing sentence that I can't seem to smooth out. Welch and Duffield were supposed to be rather literal in their take on the closing chapters of Caesar's Bello Gallico - but this sentence just seems outlandish to me:

"Qua in re militum virtus admodem fuit laudanda; qui vectoriis gravibusque navigiis remigandi laborem non intermiserunt."

The first 'qua' is a connective relative that just refers to Casaer having landed his boats in Britain for a second time, after having tarried in Itius for awhile - in case anyone was wondering about context.

This is the best I can make of the sentence:

"At which thing, in military affairs, the courage was exceedingly approving; which (things), by the boats heavy for carrying, did not stop the labor of rowing."

Problems:

> I can't think of a single way to shoehorn in the 'que' on gravibusque - everything I know about 'vectorius' just doesn't seem to match up in terms of a smooth translation. Is this a double dative or something? Or am I right in assuming that the boats and the heavyness and the for carrying are all ablatives?

> The gerundive 'laudanda' throws me for a loop -- If it's a gerundive at all, I have no idea how to put it in idiomatic english. "The courage was praised"? "The courage was praiseworthy"? Everything that I come up with makes more sense using a different word that isn't a gerundive.

Any help wins my gratitude. Thanks.

-FV

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Post by Matthaeus » Tue Nov 09, 2004 12:32 pm

Salve Ferrarius!

I'm not sure about my translation, but anyway it is slightly different than yours:

"For which reason, the courage of the soldiers was greatly to be praized. The soldiers (qui goes with soldiers, not with things, I guess) did not interrupt the work of rowing both the the transport and the heavy (military?) ships."
I don't know the context, maybe there is a certain consequential connection between the two phrases, like for instance, "their courage was great, because they kept on rowing"...
Hopefully I'm not completely wrong :mrgreen:
Vale,
Matthaeus

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ptran
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Post by ptran » Tue Nov 09, 2004 4:19 pm

I agree with you, Matthaeus. The "vectoriis" and "gravibus" just modify the "navigiis". "They didn't cease the labor of rowing (the rowing) is heavy, transport ships."

The "qua in re" I suspect is just "in which situation..." Looks like a connective relative to me.

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FerrariusVerborum
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Addendum

Post by FerrariusVerborum » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:16 pm

*slaps forehead*
'Militum' is genitive. I can't believe I didn't see that immediately. Thanks Matt.
OK - so the first clause falls into line. Now about the second:

Is it possible that you could take the 'vectoriis gravibusque navigiis' as an ablative absolute?
So that we would have:

In which thing, the courage of the soldiers was to be greatly praised;(soldiers) who - with the boats heavy and for carrying - did not stop the labor of rowing.

Implying that the same group of transport vessels are both heavy and meant for carrying things.
As well, I can understand how 'laudanda' translates into 'to be praised' and I think this is the best way to translate it - what I don't understand is how the phrasing is interpreted as a substantive adjective in it's function as a gerundive.

Is this just because Latin lacks the modal auxiliaries that English would use in saying the same thing?

Thanks.

-FV

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Post by chrisb » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:01 pm

I have 2 different copies of Bello Gallico Book 5, which is where I think your sentence comes from (Chapter 8, section 4). Both agree on the text as:

Qua in re admodum fuit militum virtus laudanda, qui vectoriis gravibusque navigiis non intermisso remigandi labore longarum navium cursum adaequarunt.

I translate this as:

In this operation, the spirit of the soldiers was very much to be praised, who in transports and heavily laden vessels, by never ceasing their labour of rowing, equalled the speed of warships.

Hope this helps,

chrisb

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Re: Plus Bello Gallico

Post by Kasper » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:43 pm

FerrariusVerborum wrote:
"Qua in re militum virtus admodem fuit laudanda; qui vectoriis gravibusque navigiis remigandi laborem non intermiserunt."

The gerundive 'laudanda' throws me for a loop -- If it's a gerundive at all, I have no idea how to put it in idiomatic english. "The courage was praised"? "The courage was praiseworthy"? Everything that I come up with makes more sense using a different word that isn't a gerundive.
Just an idea: wouldn't the gerundive with esse make it like almost like a 'must'? Consider:

Paci a nobis serviendum est.
To the peace by us there-is-a-need-to-pay regard.

or perhaps more applicable:

Pax nobis servanda est.
Peace is to be (must be) preserved by us.

Similarly, "militum virtus fuit laudanda"

the courage of the soldiers was (had) to be praised.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

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Post by Interaxus » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:07 am

Ferrarie, et alii:

1)
Qua in re militum virtus admodem fuit laudanda; qui vectoriis gravibusque navigiis remigandi laborem non intermiserunt.
”Qua in re” refers to something in the immediately preceding sentence in the Duffield book. Which is:
Tum rursus (Then again) aestus commutionem secutus (having followed the change of tide) remis contendit (he strove/tried with oars), ut eam partem insulae caperet (that he might reach that part of the island), qua optimus esset egressus (in which the best landing was).
The fact is, the wind had earlier failed Caesar and the tide had swept him past his chosen landing beach. Now he had to row back again (luckily the tide had once again changed). The "re" in ”qua in re” refers to the business of rowing - in which the effort of the soldiers was greatly to be praised.

2) I too have a problem with the ablatives.

Chrisb quotes:
In this operation, the spirit of the soldiers was very much to be praised, who in transports and heavily laden vessels, by never ceasing their labour of rowing, equalled the speed of warships.
Is this ’vectoriis gravibusque navigiis’ a plain vanilla Ablative of Place?

This seems pretty clear in in the chopped-up Duffiled version. But what shall I make of the following 'interlinear' attempt at literal translation of the original Caesar (from a book I found recently)?

In qua re (In which thing) virtus militum (the excellence of the soldiers) fuit admodum laudanda (was very-much to-be-praised), qui (who), labori remigandi non intermisso (the labour of rowing not being interrupted), adaequaverunt cursum longarum navium (equalled the course of the long ships = ships-of-war), vectoriis que gravibus navigiis (WITH transport and heavy vessels).

Valete
Int

Interaxus
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Post by Interaxus » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:14 am

’vectoriis gravibusque navigiis’
I just found this translation in the Key to Latin Our Living Heritage, Book 2:

"In this task the zeal of our soldiers, who in their heavily-laden transports equalled the speed of the warships, rowing hard without a pause, was most praiseworthy.”

So I’ll settle for ‘IN the ships’.

Here too both adjectives are associated with the same vessel. It seems translators are Democrats or Republicans on that one.

Cheers
Int

Interaxus
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Post by Interaxus » Fri Nov 12, 2004 3:14 am

For what it's worth ...

I just received a copy of "Second Year Latin" by Greenough, d'Ooge and Daniell dating from 1902. It includes the passage under discussion together with the following Notes:

gravibusque = and heavy-laden besides
navigiis = abl. of means

:roll:

"In this task, particularly praiseworthy was the pluck of the soldiers who WITH their heavily-laden transport vessels ... by rowing their butts off ... managed to make the same speed as the warships."

Int

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FerrariusVerborum
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Yes. Yes.

Post by FerrariusVerborum » Sat Nov 13, 2004 9:40 am

Int:

Yeah - I like this one a lot, as the 'with' in the translation doesn't really conflict with my make-shift ablative absolute arrangement. As well - I've been thinking that you could take navigiis and gravibusque as ablatives of military accompaniment, which would also give the same translation. Perhaps this one is a stretch though...

-FV

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