Gauius hic, quem dico, Consanus, cum....

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Buonaparte, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Buonaparte Senior Member

    England and English
    Forum,

    Here is a rather lengthy passage I'm trying to translate:

    Gauius hic, quem dico, Consanus, cum in illo numero ciuium Romanorum ab isto in uincla coniectus esset et nescio qua ratione clam e lautumiis profugisset Messanamque uenisset, qui tam prope iam Italiam et moenia Reginorum ciuium Romanorum, uideret, et ex illo metu mortis ac tenebris quasi luce libertatis et odore aliquo legum recreatus reuixisset, loqui Messanae et queri coepit se ciuem Romanum in uincla coniectum, sibi recta iter esse Romam, Verri se praesto aduenienti futurum.

    I have come up with the following:

    This Gauis, [of] whom I speak, [was] from Consa, although in that number of Roman citizens [who] had been thrown into chains by that man, and I do not know by which method he had secretly escaped from the stone quarries and come to Messana, but since he had now almost seen Italy and the walls of Rhegium, citizens of Rome, and out of that fear of death and in the dark he had come back to life as if by the light of liberty and the smell of some renewed law, he began to speak and complain [that] he a Roman citizen had been thrown into chains, [that] he be taken directly to Rome, [that] while arriving was about to face Verres.

    Would some kind soul look over my tentative translation and comment? I've used the accusative/infinitive construction for the last couple of clauses, but am unsure whether this is a correct reading of the Latin.

    Square brackets indicate where I've attempted to use English to produce a 'smoother' translation, and shouldn't be taken literally.

    Many thanks, Buonaparte
     
  2. Anne345 Senior Member

    France
    Gauius hic, quem dico, Consanus,
    cum in illo numero ciuium Romanorum ab isto in uincla coniectus esset :
    cum causal, not concessive : since he had been...

    et nescio qua ratione clam e lautumiis profugisset Messanamque uenisset
    lautŭmĭae : a prison cut out of the rock : At Syracuse: carcer Syracusis vocantur latomiae, Varr. L. L. 5, so you can use Latomies

    qui tam prope iam Italiam et moenia Reginorum ciuium Romanorum, uideret,
    prope = near
    Reginorum : inhabitants of Rhegion
    In Latin, the relative clause with a subjunctive verb may be a relative clause of purpose, a relative clause of characteristic, or a relative clause of result.
    Here it is a purpose clause : He came from Syracuse to Messan in ordre to see...

    et ex illo metu mortis ac tenebris quasi luce libertatis et odore aliquo legum recreatus reuixisset,
    ac (ex) tenebris
    recreatus : perf part pass masc nom sg, : he was renewed by the light...

    loqui Messanae et queri coepit se ciuem Romanum in uincla coniectum, sibi recta iter esse Romam, Verri se praesto aduenienti futurum.
    Messanae ? locative of Messana
    I do'nt understand "he be taken", is it "he was going" ?
    aduenienti : dative, as Verri...
     
  3. wonderment Senior Member

    English
    Hi Buonaparte: On the whole, your translation is quite good. Let me add some comments to Anne's many helpful corrections:

    • I think it’s fine to translate lautumiis as stone-quarries (but know that they were used as prisons).
    • nescio qua ratione = by some means (it’s idiomatic: nescio quis = somebody, nescio quid = something)
    • I would take the qui clause as relative clause of result: “being so close now, he could see...”
    • You’re right to translate the last 3 clauses as indirect statements. The 2nd clause has a “dative of possession” construction. In the 3rd clause, se refers to subject accusative “he”, praesto esse + dative = meet with, advenienti modifies Verri (dative)
    I made the following translation very very literal to help you see more clearly (I hope) the grammar and syntax:

    Gavius hic quem dico, Consanus,
    This Gaius, of whom I’m speaking, a native of Consa,

    cum in illo numero civium Romanorum ab isto in vincla coniectus esset
    since he, among that number of Roman citizens, had been thrown into chains by that man
    et nescio qua ratione clam e lautumiis profugisset Messanamque venisset,
    and by some means had secretly escaped from the stone quarries and had come to Messana,
    qui tam prope iam Italiam et moenia Reginorum, civium Romanorum, videret
    being so close now, he could see Italy and the walls of the Rhegians, Roman citizens
    et ex illo metu mortis ac tenebris quasi luce libertatis et odore aliquo legum recreatus revixisset,
    and from that fear of death and darkness, he had come back to life, refreshed, as it were, by the light of liberty and some sweet scent of the laws
    loqui Messanae et queri coepit
    he began to talk at Messana and to complain

    se civem Romanum in vincla coniectum,
    that he, a Roman citizen, had been thrown into chains
    sibi recta iter esse Romam,
    that he had a journey straight for Rome
    Verri se praesto advenienti futurum.
    that he would meet Verres on his arrival.​
     
  4. Buonaparte Senior Member

    England and English
    Thanks very much for these responses, they're really helpful. Buonaparte
     
  5. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I was having trouble with the same passage so I found this translation very helpful but I'm not sure about the very end. One of the meanings of "praesto" is "waiting for" so I think the most likely interpretation is probably "that he would travel directly to Rome where he would be waiting for Verres to arrive (literally the "arriving Verres"). Is that possible? Is "praesto + dative" a known idiom meaning "to wait for someone"?
     
  6. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Not really. Where did you see that praesto could mean "waiting for"? "Waiting on", yes, that is "standing ready in someone's presence to serve them". But in this case the perspective is hostile: "that he would be present to confront the arriving Verres".

    Unfortunately, his travel plans were cancelled…
     
  7. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I got "waiting for" from note 311 of the Wheelock's Latin Reader: praesto: adv., on hand, ready, waiting for.
    No mention of "waiting on". Anyway, I fail to see your point. The intention is obviously hostile since Verres sent Gavius to the quarries as a prisoner. I didn't suppose Gavius wanted to reward Verres by serving him a nice little candle-light dinner. Since the hostility of Gavius is so obvious, I don't see any difference between "where he would be waiting for Verres to arrive" and "that would be present to confront the arriving Verres", except that the latter is not very idiomatic English and you just threw in the word "confront" with no real linguistic counterpart in the original. I'm not saying that the idea of "confront" is incorrect but it's superfluous in context and it doesn't correspond to anything in the text.
    Anyway, you seem to agree with me on my main point, which is that the translation I'm criticizing in post 5 (that he would meet Verres on his arrival) is dubious. First of all, "his" is ambiguous but since the preceding phrase is "that he (Gavius) would go directly to Rome and meet Verres on his arrival" the natural assumption is that "his arrival" refers to the arrival of Gavius, not of Verres. Even if one assumes that "his arrival" refers to the arrival of Verres (which is obviously the intended meaning), it still seems strange to "meet him on his arrival", since they're not likely to arrange any kind of meeting, although the idea is not incompatible with the notion of waiting for his arrival or "be present to confront him" if you prefer.
    If you look at the interpretation I'm criticizing in post 5 "that he would meet Verres on his arrival"
     
  8. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    I have no problem with this translation. Maybe "that he would be there to meet Verres on his arrival" would be better. It doesn't have to imply an arranged meeting.

    The central meaning of praesto alicui esse is to be in the presence of someone, face to face. That meaning is captured in all of the translations suggested so far in this thread, except for yours.
     
  9. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I don't see any point in discussing the matter with somebody who refuses to see that "where he would be waiting for Verres to arrive" implies to be in the presence of someone.
     

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