De rebus Hispaniae: un fragmento.

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Caleín, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Caleín

    Caleín Senior Member

    español (España)

    Tengo un texto latino, medieval eso sí, y una traducción, pero no estoy de acuerdo. ¿Me podéis echar una mano? ¿Qué opináis del diferente sentido?

    "Iter Sancti Iacobi quod propter insultus Arabum per Alauam et Asturiarum deuia frequentabant, ab Anagaro [Nájera] per Biruescam [Briviesca] et Amaiam [Amaya] immutauit et per confinia Carrionis donec ad Legionem et Astoricam veniatur".

    Traducción dada: "...y debido a los frecuentes ataques de los árabes en Álava y los desfiladeros de Asturias, desvió el camino de Santiago desde Nájera, hasta llegar a León y Astorga a través de Briviesca, Amaya y las cercanías de Carrión".

    Mi opción: "El camino a Santiago, el cual a causa de las agresiones de los árabes, frecuentaban por el desvío de Álava y Asturias, [lo] cambió a Nájera por Briviesca y Amaya y por los confines de Carrión mientras venían a León y Astorga".

    Gracias. Un saludo.
  2. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Greetings to the OP in turn.

    I can just about read Spanish, but most certainly not write it, so please excuse this response in English.

    To my mind the Latin means this:

    "Because, on account of the Arabs' raids around Alava and Asturia, they were visiting remote districts, he changed the [intended/planned/obvious?] route to Santiago from Najera via Briviesca and Amaia, and came through the territory of Carrio as far as Léon and Astorica".

    The punctuation of the Latin text certainly leaves something to be desired in terms of clarity, however, and someone with a better knowledge of the context and the geography may well have a better solution.
  3. Caleín

    Caleín Senior Member

    español (España)
    Thank for your answer, Scholiast. I don't mind you write in English.

    The first part of the quote is a bit vague, true, mainly due to the punctutation.

    I don't agree with the idea that the raids were in Álava and Asturias, so I put it between commas, as you see. That's my 'theory'. For me is difficult to see that the king moved the Saint James's way to the South in order to avoid problems with muslims in areas that are, in fact, in the north of that new way; mainly because the muslims came from the center and the south of our peninsula.
    The line Álava-Asturias is further north than the way Nájera-Briviesca-Amaya-Carrión-León-Astorga.

    However, I take into account that you admit, more or less, the idea of the text given, which I have taken from a specific book about the translation.

    Thank you again. Regads.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  4. relativamente Senior Member

    catalan and spanish
    Ciertamente por el conocimiento de la historia sabemos que Asturias fue el lugar que nunca estuvo bajo el dominio árabe, y allí en Covadonga se inició la reconquista de la península bajo el caudillaje de Don Pelayo. En mi infancia se nos enseñaba esto en la escuela primaria. Por lo tanto sería la zona más segura para los primeros peregrinos y posteriormente se cambió la ruta al ser más seguras otras zonas más al sur.
    El texto latino se presta a malos entendidos pero en este caso sólo cabe una interpretación.
  5. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    quod propter insultus Arabum per Alauam et Asturiarum deuia frequentabant, is a separate clause ----note the verb in the plural, whose only possible subject is devia.

    Iter is the object of immutavit---the subject is not expressed in the extract, but would probably be obvious if we had the preceding sentences.

    Veniatur is impersonal and describes how people went.


    Since the detours via Alava and Asturias were overcrowded because of the Arab assaults, X changed the pilgrimage route go from Nájera via Briviesca and Amaya, and people proceeded through the borderlands of Carrio to Leon and Astorica.

    Does that make sense geographically?
  6. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    According to L&S, the medieval word insultus means 'a scoffing, reviling, insult'.
    Presumably this describes the reactions experienced by the pilgrims passing through Muslim localities on their journey.

    I take the subject of frequentabant to be the pilgrims, presumably mentioned earlier in the text.
    Since frequentabant is transitive ('they were frequenting'), devia ('remote places') has to be the object.

    The Iter Sancti Iacobi is known in English as the Way of St. James.
    From this map it would appear that the change was made somewhere on the routes leading from Madrid to León and Astorga respectively.

    Based on the above and what seems to me a natural reading of the Latin, I would suggest:

    Because the pilgrims, on acccount of the insults of the Arabs, were making remote detours through Alava and Asturias, he re-directed the Way of St. James from Nájera by way of Briviesca and Amaya and through the territory of Carrión as far as León and Astorga.

    If 'he' is the King, this suggests various reflections: that the route was officially designated by royal authority, not just a matter of custom; that pilgrims relied on the royal route for security and assistance along the way; that communities not on the named route might not feel equally obliged to help pilgrims; that the originally designated route had become partially settled by Muslim communities; and that the pilgrims, being forced into hills or forests to escape Muslim hostility, were deprived of the food and shelter they would normally expect.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  7. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    I think you are right about the quod-clause---it makes sense, but you seem to ignore veniatur.

    There seem to be two versions of the route after it was re-routed away from the coast of the Bay of Biscay. They are currently known as the "old" and the "hidden" route respectively, and town on the competing routes are assiduously attracting tourists to their version nowadays. The route starts at the French border---Madrid was still Mohammedan territory in this period.

    According to the various wikis on the subject, the king who changed the route was Sancho III el Mayor, rey de Pamplona.
  8. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    As regards the geography, I had not realised that all the place names were in the far north or that vigorous Muslim communities had existed in that region.

    As regards the text, I did not ignore veniatur. It is not a main verb here, but part of the clause donec ad Legionem et Astoricam veniatur, meaning 'until León and Astorga should be reached'. I simply translated that clause, including veniatur, by the more natural English expression 'as far as León and Astorga'.
    The text has departed from traditional Latin word order by bringing immutavit forward from its expected place at the end of the sentence. The reason for this was apparently to ensure that the expression per confinia Carrionis donec ad Legionem et Astoricam veniatur would be read as a unit.

    However, I translated Asturiarum as if it were Asturiam. The Latin name for the region in Roman times was Asturia (singular). The modern English name is Asturia (singular). The modern Spanish name Asturias appears to be plural. Asturiarum, if the text is correct, is the genitive plural of Asturia. Hence it seems to mean 'of the Asturias (where 'Asturias' is the English plural of Asturia)'.

    On reflection, if Asturiarum is correct, it should mean that the medieval Latin name was Asturiae (plural): which accordingly should today be rendered in English simply as Asturia. On this basis, Asturiarum devia must go together, meaning 'remote parts of Asturia' since there is no other way to explain the genitive.

    Given that, the clause as a whole has to be revised, because Asturiarum devia can now only be part of the phrase per Alauam et Asturiarum devia. This means that devia cannot be the object of frequentabant. The only possible object in that case is quod, which can no longer mean 'because' but must be the relative pronoun 'which', referring to iter. If that is so, we have to read the sense of the clause as iter Sancti Iacobi quod per Alauam et Asturiarum devia frequentabant: 'the Way of St. James which they were frequenting through Alava and remote parts of Asturia'. This reading is not valid in classical Latin prose, which on the one hand does not allow a prepositional phrase to qualify directly a noun, still less a pronoun, and on the other hand would not naturally take per Alauam et Asturiarum devia as modifying the verb frequentabant.

    Conclusion: either (a) the medieval Latin name for the region is Asturia (singular) and Asturiarum is a subsequent copyist's error for Asturiam (caused very possibly (a) by diplography of the letter m, (b) by the assumption that devia must go with it and (c) by the belief that Asturia ought to be plural), in which case the rendering of this clause is as given in post 6 (quod meaning 'because'); or (b) the medieval Latin name for the region is Asturiae (plural) and the text is poor Latin, in which case the sentence should be rendered as follows (quod meaning 'which'):

    The Way of St. James, which the pilgrims, on account of the insults of the Arabs, were habitually following through Alava and remote parts of Asturia, was redirected by him from Nájera by way of Briviesca and Amaya and through the territory of Carrión as far as León and Astorga.

    What a carry-on. The overall sense remains unchanged. I incline towards version (a).
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  9. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    Here's the reality that your translation has to reflect:

    Originally, the pilgrimage route from the French border used the easy walking route along the shore of the Bay of Biscay.

    Because of raids by Muslim pirates (insultus Arabum: this does not mean someone shouting "you dirty Christian, you"), the pilgrims started to use routes through the hill country away from the shore. (Remember that a pilgrim was a walking moneybag. He had to carry cash to pay for a great many overnights and meals, as well as the donation he intended to leave in Compostella. Pilgrims traveled in convoys to protect themselves against highwaymen, but a convoy of pilgrims was a walking goldmine to a Muslim pirate ship.)

    The king Sancho III el Mayor created a standard route that survived as long as the pilgrimage lasted. He eliminated some alternate routes.

    In modern times, towns along the standard route use that fact as part of their tourism marketing materials. Other towns in the area scour early medieval documents like this to find ammunition so that they can use the pilgrimage in their marketing materials also.
  10. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    A translation can only reflect the meaning of the text.
    If the text is inaccurate or badly expressed, it is not for the translator to correct it.
    His role is to reproduce it faithfully in the target language, warts and all.

    We have not been told who wrote the text, or when or why. I have not been able to find a copy.
    From the web it seems there are several works, of different periods, called De Rebus Hispaniae.
    Evidently the pilgrimage carried on continuously from the 9th century at least.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012

Share This Page