Et qui semel ob utilitatem aliorum

< Previous | Next >

KsSp

Senior Member
Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
Hello.
Here is another piece from Origen.
'Et qui semel ob utilitatem aliorum ad liberorum opera descenderit et se voluerit huic ministerio mancipare, obsecret Deum, ut talis ei filius ingrediatur saeculum, super cuius nativitate lactior sit.'
It seems to mean something like the following:
'And when a person decides to beget children for the benefit of other people and devotes himself eagerly to it, he must pray to God and ask that every his son entering this world could be like John and that his birth would bring joy'.
The context: Origen is talking about the birth of John the Baptist.
It does make sense, but since Latin grammar is still very confusing, could you please comment on the meaning of the sentence?
Thank you.
 
  • KsSp

    Senior Member
    Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
    Hello
    Better experts than myself will hopefully comment. But meanwhile please let me know:
    ...super cuius nativitate lactior sit : isn't it by chance super cuius nativitatem laetior sit?
    Buona sera, bearded! In our version, it is really 'laetior', so you were right - thank you! But still it is 'nativitate', without 'm' at the end of the word.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    OK, as a matter of fact the preposition 'super' can also be constructed with ablative (nativitate): my fault.
    I would say that your overall translation is correct, just some minor changes would be necessary in my view:
    ...he should ask God that such a son would be born to him, in whose birth he might rejoice.
    ( No mention of John in the Latin text you quoted). 'Obsecret' is an adhortative subjunctive, hence my ''he should''. 'Laetior' literally means ''happier/rather happy'': I have omitted this comparative in translation. Your ''every his son..'' seems to be an excessively free translation to me),
    but please wait for opinions from real experts!
     
    Last edited:

    KsSp

    Senior Member
    Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
    OK, as a matter of fact the preposition 'super' can also be constructed with ablative (nativitate): my fault.
    I would say that your overall translation is correct, just some minor changes would be necessary in my view:
    ...he should ask God that such a son would be born to him, in whose birth he might rejoice.
    ( No mention of John in the Latin text you quoted). 'Obsecret' is an adhortative subjunctive, hence my ''he should''. 'Laetior' literally means ''happier/rather happy'': I have omitted this comparative in translation. Your ''every his son..'' seems to be an excessively free translation to me),
    but please wait for opinions from real experts!
    Thank you, bearded!
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    saluete, KsPs, bearded et al.

    There are several Latin prepositions which may take either accusative or ablative, of which (as bearded in # 5 has remarked), super is one. In the best classical Latin the chief difference is whether the entity described is in motion (accusative) or stationary (ablative). So (for example) sub arbore = 'Under the tree [lay an apple]', whereas in a military contect, sub moenia = 'up to the walls [from underneath]' refers to the advance of besieging troops attacking a town or encampment. (in and inter function similarly, and there are others).

    I have a suspicion that by Jerome's time the distinction may have 'melted' a little, even among educated users of Latin. I seem to remember, but cannot quite remember where, that there is a passage of Quintilian (who knew his Latin grammar and syntax inside out) that makes reference to this (minor) ambiguity.

    And for a full understanding of this passage, I would welcome a little more context please.

    Σ
     

    KsSp

    Senior Member
    Russian (Moscow dialect) - Russia
    Hello, Scholiast and bearded!
    Here is some more context: Origen is talking about the birth of John the Baptist and provides the example of Jacob, who was the father of twelve sons who were great, as an example of a saint all the deeds of whom were worth praising. And so he [Origen] says that just as Jacob's sons made him rejoice, so did John's birth made everyone rejoice.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top