an unknown few

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Senior Member
As Procopius tells us, ‘those who had attempted to do this escaped detection; and no investigation of the act was made, as was natural in a time of great confusion, since it did not become known to the commanders, nor did it reach the ears of the multitude, except of a very few’.5 Times had changed since Alaric’s day. Then some of the most powerful men in the city had flirted with paganism. Now it was only an unknown few, who were lucky to escape punishment.

This is from a book 'Rome: A History of Seven Sacking.

Can I paraphrase the last sentence 'Now it was only an unknown few, who were lucky to escape punishment' into: 'At that time, a few people who were lucky to escape punishment were unknown'?

Any comments would be appreciated.
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Aiyu, I think your paraphrase loses sight of the intended meaning.

    Now there were only a few people (who flirted with paganism) and nobody knew who they were, so they were lucky and escaped punishment.
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