Question about translation in Fabulae Syrae, Capitulum XXVIII

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Smythe
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Question about translation in Fabulae Syrae, Capitulum XXVIII

Post by Smythe » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:28 pm

Howdy,

I am going through Fabulae Syrae and there is a story in there about the origins of cypress trees.

In any case, this boy gets turned into the first cypress tree in this sentence. While I have a general understanding of what it is saying, I don't understand the construction. Your help is appreciated.

Cyparissus tunc arbor factus est alta et rigida, cuius pars summa caelum stēllīs ōrnātum spectāre vidēbātur.

Here's what I get:

Cyparissus was then made a tree, tall and rigid:
of which
the highest part
the sky adorned with stars
beholding/observing
was being seen

I can't figure out how to put those phrases together. Am I missing some sort of infinitive construction?

This is as close as I can get to an English sentence:
Cyparissus was then made a tree, tall and rigid, the highest part of which beholding the sky adorned with stars was being seen.

That's sort of nonsensical.

I also came up with:
..., of which the highest part beholding the sky adorned with stars was seen.

not much better

Thanks again,
smythe

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seneca2008
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Re: Question about translation in Fabulae Syrae, Capitulum XXVIII

Post by seneca2008 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:45 pm

You need to think about vidēbātur a bit more perhaps along the lines of "seemed" plus infinitive (spectare).

video in Lewis & Short gives under 7. the passive meaning as follows:

7. Pass., to be looked upon or regarded in any manner, i. e. to seem, appear to be or do any thing

Having thought about that what is the subject and what the object.

You are nearly there just think a bit more.

Have another go.

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Smythe
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Re: Question about translation in Fabulae Syrae, Capitulum XXVIII

Post by Smythe » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:07 pm

ahh .... using the passive of video to mean "seems". That makes sense. It's used that way in previous stories/chapters and I guess I thought that it didn't make sense here. But it does.

Let's try this on for size:

Cyparissus was then made a tree, tall and rigid, the highest part of which seemed to behold the sky adorned with stars.

Thanks much for your help, Seneca.

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