From Apuleius' Metamorphoses

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pmda
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From Apuleius' Metamorphoses

Post by pmda » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:25 am

The following occurs in Apuleius' Metamorphoses

The narrator is describing how he almost choked on cheese pudding...

Ego denique vespera, dum polentae caseatae modico secus offulam grandiorem in convivas aemulus contruncare gestio, mollitie cibi glutinosi faucibus inhaerentis et meacula spiritus distinentis minimo minus interii:..

In my case, eveningtime, while I ventured, after the manner of my dinner companions, to scoff a slightly larger piece of cheese pudding and the soft food clung to my throat with my passages of breathing constricted, I just about did not die.

This is a somewhat idiomatic translation. I'm particularly interested in:

1) modico secus. I'm taking it that this refers to the fact that he was eating a slightly larger piece of cheese pudding in competition with his companions..

2) meacula spiritus distinentis - literally the passages / airways of constricted breath (?)
Last edited by pmda on Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hylander
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Re: From Apuleius' Metamorphoses

Post by Hylander » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:55 pm

modico secus -- I think this means something like "different from/not a moderate amount", though I can't say I'm absolutely certain.

Both inhaerentis and distinentis agree with with cibi (genitive), which depends on mollitie (ablative)

cibi . . . meacula spiritus distinentis -- "the food which distended the passages of breathing"

minimo minus interii -- "I a little bit less than died," "I just about died"

Something like "I just about died from the softness of the glutinous food, which clung to my throat and distended my passages of breathing".

pmda
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Re: From Apuleius' Metamorphoses

Post by pmda » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:42 pm

Many thanks Hylander.

mwh
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Re: From Apuleius' Metamorphoses

Post by mwh » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:33 am

Apuleius is hard! I too was puzzled by modico secus, evidently to be construed with grandiorem. The OLD compares paulo simillimum (again Apuleius!), “as near as makes no difference, not far off,” and takes modico secus to mean ("app[arently]") "somewhat, a bit." (Or could it mean a whole lot bigger? I don't really know how Apuleius uses secus.) Modico will be abl. of “measure of difference.”
Same with minimo minus interii below, “I less <than> died by the least amount possible,” i.e. I came within a nanometer of dying.

Meacula spiritus will be the windpipe.

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