Propertius 1.1

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TheinenGH
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Propertius 1.1

Post by TheinenGH » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:52 pm

I recently started reading elegies, but even though I found Propertius relatively simple to read, I really got stuck in the following couplet of his first elegy:
At vos, deductae quibus est fallacia Lunae
et labor in magicis sacra piare focis,
I understand the hexameter, but not the pentameter. I could get 'labor' as nominative, and 'in magicis [...] focis' . But I could not get the full meaning of the pentameter, nor the grammar in it.

Aetos
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Re: Propertius 1.1

Post by Aetos » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:30 pm

I'm not going to ruin the Latin for you, so I'll just try to show you what's going on the lines:
fallacia and labor are the subjects of a relative clause (quibus est). fallacia is limited by deductae...Lunae, labor has piare as an infinitive in apposition. piare has as its object sacra, and a prepositional phrase in magicis focis. I think if you look it at like that, you'll figure it out. The next line tells you why he's addressing "vos".

mwh
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Re: Propertius 1.1

Post by mwh » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:46 pm

Aetos got in ahead of me, and I won’t tread on his toes. I’ll just add that Thessalian witches notoriously had the ability to draw down the moon with their magic spells. Propertius draws directly on a poem by Theocritus.

I envy you finding Propertius “relatively simple” to read. Let me assure you he’s not. You’d really do better to start with Ovid’s Amores.

RandyGibbons
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Re: Propertius 1.1

Post by RandyGibbons » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:44 pm

If you want to do some deep research into the subject, try Radcliffe Edmonds' just published Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World.

Aetos
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Re: Propertius 1.1

Post by Aetos » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:17 pm

mwh's contribution introduces an important point: There are often many layers of meaning in a poem. All I showed you was how to read what Propertius wrote, mwh showed you why he used those lines, by giving you some "back story". Quite often, what makes one poet more difficult to read than another has nothing to do with the words as they appear on paper; rather it's the attempt to discover the deeper meaning of those words that can be daunting (but rewarding!). Many, many books have been written on that subject.

Aetos
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Re: Propertius 1.1

Post by Aetos » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:54 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:44 pm
If you want to do some deep research into the subject, try Radcliffe Edmonds' just published Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World.
Hi Randy,
Thanks for the link! Hopefully it'll being coming to a library near me soon!

TheinenGH
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Re: Propertius 1.1

Post by TheinenGH » Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:09 am

Thank you all for the comments, guys
Especially Aetos with the meaning and Mhw with the suggestion about Ovid
:D

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