another Ovid grammar question

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leisulin
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another Ovid grammar question

Post by leisulin »

cum semel emissi tenuerunt aequora venti,
nil illis vetitum est, incommendataque tellus
omnis et omne fretum est; caeli quoque nubila vexant               435
excutiuntque feris rutilos concursibus ignes.
quo magis hos nōvi (nam nōvi et saepe paternā
parva domo vidi), magis hoc reor esse timendos.


My question is about the last two lines there (from book XI of Metamorphoses). This is Alcyone, wife of Ceyx, telling him the dangers of traveling by sea. Then the "quo" at the start of the next to last line I think is an ablative of degree of difference, or is that wrong? My best understanding of the last two lines is "To the degree with which I know more (about) these things (all the hazards she mentioned) (for I know and often saw, when I was little, in my father's home) by this much more I judge these things are to be feared". Or more colloquially: "I know more about this stuff than some people because I saw it firsthand at home when I was little, and I say these things should be feared". But I'm fairly unsure about how the grammar is functioning exactly, esp. the "hoc" in the last line. Would an expert please help me with this? Thanks in advance!
Dave S

mwh
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by mwh »

Yes Dave the hoc, like the quo, is “ablative of measure of difference” (used with a comparative as regularly); they’re correlative. In English we’d simply say “the more I know them the more I reckon they’re to be feared,” but in Latin the relative pronoun has to be expressed, along with the demonstrative that picks it up, making for a neatly balanced and and characteristically Latin form of expression. It’s not “I know more” but “The more I know”—that’s the function of the quo.

Cf. Winnie the Pooh’s “The more it snows (tiddely-pom), the more it goes ….” Now we know how to translate that into Latin. :)

leisulin
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by leisulin »

Does the comparative word (magis here) have to be repeated in the second half or can it be omitted (and thus have to be understood and supplied to translate the second half)? Maybe it would make it too obscure to omit it.......?

I find those correlatives, like this one, and tantum......quantum's hard to turn into English. I don't think I fully understand them.

Thanks as always for your help, Michael! I really appreciate it!

Dave S

mwh
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by mwh »

Yes well as I indicated English doesn’t use correlatives as much as Latin, and tends to collapse them. A clunkier and more prosaic equivalent of quo … hoc here would be quanto … tanto: “By how much more it snows, by so much more it goes ….” The accompanying comparative, here magis in both halves, can naturally take different form, e.g. "The longer we hold out, the braver we’ll be shown to be": quanto diutius …, tanto fortiores …. It all makes sense if you think about it.

leisulin
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by leisulin »

Understood!
Thanks again!

mwh
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by mwh »

More apposite still, Simonides ap. Cic. de natura deorum (1.60):
roges me quid aut quale sit deus, auctore utar Simonide, de quo cum quaesivisset hoc idem tyrannus Hiero, deliberandi sibi unum diem postulavit; cum idem ex eo postridie quaereret, biduum petivit; cum saepius duplicaret numerum dierum admiransque Hiero requireret cur ita faceret, 'Quia quanto diutius considero,' inquit 'tanto mihi res videtur obscurior.'

leisulin
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by leisulin »

mwh wrote: Thu Mar 03, 2022 7:50 pm 'Quia quanto diutius considero,' inquit 'tanto mihi res videtur obscurior.'
"The longer I contemplate it, the more obscure the matter seems to me."

Quō magis me adiuvas, Michael, minus hōc mihi haec videntur obscuriōra.

(Or can I even say it that way? Am I saying nonsense? "...the less these things seem more obscure to me"?
Maybe I can't say that. But I could always change it to: "Quō magis me adiuvas, Michael, magis hōc mihi haec videntur clariōra".)

mwh
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by mwh »

Well that’s gratifying. But you only need the one comparative in the second half, and minus gives you that. So better e.g. Quanto magis me adiuvas, tanto minus obscura haec mihi videntur.
- But we are now in the wrong forum, unless you care to versify it!

leisulin
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Re: another Ovid grammar question

Post by leisulin »

I may have snuck in an edit that you didn't see while you were writing your last comment. I was thinking I could probably fix it in the same way you did, by just un-comparativizing "obscuriora".

I'm not up to versifying it so........I'll say no more.

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