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quo genere levi spectaculi numquam teneor

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by William Stein, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    The whole sentence is:

    Eo tempore erant circenses ludi, quo genere levi spectaculi numquam teneor.

    At that time there were games in the circus,... I can see "quo genere" is in the ablative" and "teneor" in the passive, but I still don't understand "the trival type of spectacle by which I am never ???
     
  2. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Teneo means "take" or "keep" in many contexts. Here it means the writer is emotionally taken. How about engrossed or captivated?
     
  3. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    That sounds good, thanks. Come to think of it you can say "I was never much taken by that kind of thing" in English. "Taken by" sounds like some kind of mental rape, but I guess that's the idea, like "possessed" :)
     
  4. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    While I am not a native speaker of either Latin or English, I feel teneo is not the strongest word that Romans would choose for expressing fascination. Also, I find your paraphrasing for teneor or "taken by" is too lurid. [Just checked a few articles on the 'Net to find that I am not the only one with this impression.]

    A good example of the casual meaning of teneo comes from the streets of Pompeii:
    Lanternari, tene scalam (Lantern bearers, hold the ladder).

    This is a graffito supposedly by one of professional sign painters who worked against a wall on the ladder. He would surely wanted his assistants (who also held lanterns as they worked at night) to hold tight to the ladder. Teneo as illustrated above may be understood keep something in a certain position or status using force (to a varying degree but not so destructive as rape).
     
  5. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Sorry, I didn't realize you weren't a native English speaker. I was just making a side note on the etymology: "taken by" is really quite mild in modern usage, it's just that etymologically it may have had the sexual meaning. Queen Elizabeth could say "I was quite taken by that play" and nobody would be shocked or think about sexual connotations.
    Those meanings you mentioned are equivalent to the standard translation "to hold" (please hold the ladder for me), but unfortunately "hold" doesn't work at all in this sentence.
     

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