Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by showcase, Feb 13, 2005.
What does Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres mean?
All the Gaul is divided in three parts.
These are the opening words of Julius Caesar's "Gallic Wars, Book 1".
The standard BrE translation of the passage is "The whole of Gaul is divided into three parts".
Well, I was wondering if the right traduction wouldn't rather be...
The whole of Gaul was divided into 3 parts.
I think in theory it could be translated that way, but in context it seems to make more sense as "is divided" since Caesar is simply describing Gaul rather than narrating any events.
It's called in French "un parfait résultatif".
I am not sure I understand Why you want to do that? Wouldn't The whole of Gaul was divided into 3 parts rather be Gallia erat omnis divisa in partes tres?
As far as I know, Gallia erat ... divisa would be the same as Gaul had been divided.
I thought word order mattered for once here: passive pluperfect would be divisa erat. In the above sentence, I would understand divisa as an adjective. But maybe I am wrong.
I don't think word order distinguishes between the two. For example, from later on in Caesar:
Ea res est Helvetiis per indicium enuntiata.
The design was revealed to the Helvetii by informers.
But just so I can make sure I'm clear on this, because English be + past participle is also ambiguous, we have the following equivalences, right? (I included the hopefully correct German because I believe it distinguishes everything).
is divided = est divisus = ist geteilet
was divided = est divisus = ist geteilet worden
was divided = erat divisus = war geteilet
had been divided = erat divisus = war geteilet worden
And come to think of it, there's also the following, right?
is (being) divided = dividitur = wird geteilet
was (being) divided = dividebatur = ward geteilet
Accepted. This is certainly a passive perfect.
The difference is than only context. In the sentence Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres it is the state of being divided which matters and not the act of dividing. Therefore divisa is an adjective.
I bet Caesar hadn't got a clue whether it was an adjective, a participle or anything else!
You bet he had thorough training in rhetoric which certainly included grammar und lots of it.
I suppose you are all quoting this correctly, but my recollection of this line is "Gallia in tres partes divisa est". Have I been wrong all these years? It has to mean "Gaul is divided into three parts" because when Caesar wrote it, it was.
As Kevin Beach says in post #3, the thread title is the opening of the first book of Caesar's Gallic War. Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.
The version you remember is a more conventional Latin word order, but the flexibility of Latin has allowed Caesar to put place the relative ("of which ....) immediately after its antecedent: three parts."The whole of Gaul is divided into three parts, of which the Belgae inhabit one, another, the Aquitani, and the third, those who are called 'Celts' in their own tongue, 'Gauls' in ours."
The discussion above agrees with you that it must be "is divided." They also agree that accurate translation must involve knowledge of the historical context: syntax alone would allow it to be translated as "was divided/ has been divided" as well as "is divided".
It means that the perfect can express the result, in the present, of an action or an event of the past.
Gaul was divided and is still divided now (when Caesar wrote it).
The present incolunt shows that it is so here.
I hope my English is clear enough
Separate names with a comma.