illam inter deos Romuli receptionem putatam magis significat esse quam factam

Enrico Davide Torò

New Member
Italian
Hi everybody,

Many thanks for checking in. I'm Enrico, a PhD student in philosophy with a passion for classics. I'm trying to translate a Latin passage from Augustine's De civitate dei, III, 15, in which he quotes from Cicero's De re publica, II, 17. I can't get my head around this. The original Latin is the following:

" Satis et Cicero illam inter deos Romuli receptionem putatam magis significat esse quam factam, quando et laudans eum in libris de re publica Scipionisque sermone: [it follows the citation from Cicero's De re publica, II, 17]"​

Now, I would translate like this:

"Cicero himself made it sufficiently clear that the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction rather than a fact. Even while playing a tribute to him in the Books of the De re publica, he says by the tongue of Scipio: [it follows the citation from Cicero's De re publica, II, 17]."​

Now, these are my problems:

1) I now for certain from the context that the fact that 'the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction' and Cicero's 'playing a tribute' to Romulus are opposites in sense. Hence, the 'even while'

2) Moreover, I am quite sure that the citation from Cicero's De re publica, II, 17 that follows does contain the claim that 'the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction.'

3) But I'm not sure about this: When Augustine refers to the 'libris de re publica' is he referring to the citation from Cicero's De re publica, II, 17, that he's about to quote? Or is it referring to another passage of Cicero's De re publica?

4) Moreover is the 'Scipionis sermone' referred to the Books of the De re publica? Or else?

Many thanks for any help you might provide,

Best,

Enrico
 
  • Scholiast

    Senior Member
    saluete omnes, praesertim Enrico Taure—qui in Forum Latinum bene mehercle uenisti.

    (1) I think your 'even while' is more or less OK—but note that (especially by Augustine's time) laudare can mean no more than 'to mention', or 'to cite'.
    (2) :tick:
    (3) I have been unable to check either passage or their contexts (I am without direct access to my own books at the moment), but yes, prima facie I suppose this is a direct reference to the passage Augustine quotes.
    (4) The meaning of the question is opaque to me, but in the dialogue de Re Publica, Scipio (Africanus) is a participant if that is any help.

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    Enrico Davide Torò

    New Member
    Italian
    saluete omnes, praesertim Enrico Taure—qui in Forum Latinum bene mehercle uenisti.

    (1) I think your 'even while' is more or less OK—but note that (especially by Augustine's time) laudare can mean no more than 'to mention', or 'to cite'.
    (2) :tick:
    (3) I have been unable to check either passage or their contexts (I am without direct access to my own books at the moment), but yes, prima facie I suppose this is a direct reference to the passage Augustine quotes.
    (4) The meaning of the question is opaque to me, but in the dialogue de Re Publica, Scipio (Africanus) is a participant if that is any help.

    Σ

    Dear Scholiast,

    Many thanks for your reply and for having taken the time to go over this with me. I really appreciate it. I collected some of the main translations of this passage in literature, and I thought I would post them here as reference:

    Zema et Walsh’s translation (Catholic University of America Press)
    Cicero himself made it sufficiently clear that the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction rather than a fact. Even while playing a tribute to him in the De re publica, he says by the tongue of Scipio…​
    Marcus Dods’s translation (Modern Library)
    Cicero, too, shows plainly enough that the apotheosis of Romulus was imaginary rather than real, when, even while he is praising him in one of Scipio’s remarks in the De Republica, he says…​
    Dyson’s Translation (Cambridge)
    Cicero also shows plainly enough that Romulus’ reception into the company of the gods was more believed in that real. Evn while praising him in his book De republica, he says, in the person of Scipio…​
    Henry Bettenson’s translation (Penguin)
    Cicero clearly gives us to understand that the reception of Romulus among the gods is a supposition rather than a fact, when in his work On the Commonwealth he puts a eulogy of Romulus into the mouth of Scipio, in the course of which he says…​
    Luigi Alici’s Italian translation (Bompiani)
    Lo stesso Cicerone fa sufficientemente capire che la deificazione di Romolo è più una credenza che una realtà, quando lo fa elogiare da Scipione con queste parole…​
    [eng. tras. ‘Cicero himself makes sufficiently clear that Romulus’ deification was more a belief than reality, when he makes Scipio praising him with these words]​

    As for my question (3), let me clarify: if, as we have ascertained, according to Augustine, Cicero claims that 'the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction'; and that Augustine is going to make that case by quoting Cicero, De re publica, II, 17 (which does contain the claim that 'the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction'); and if Cicero's claim that 'the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction' (in De re publica, II, 17) amounts to saying that Cicero did not praise Romulus; how could the reference to 'in libris de re publica Scipionisque sermone' refer to the quote from De re publica, II, 17 that Augustine is about to quote?

    Does not this mean that in De re publica, II, 17 (which Augustine quotes) Cicero makes the claim that 'the reception of Romulus among the gods is a fiction' and that elsewhere in De re publica Cicero is praising Romulus? Isn't what Augustine intends here the following: 'Although Cicero laudat (somewhere else) in De re public Romulus, he makes clear (in De re public, II, 17) that his reception among the gods was a fiction (that is, it is not to be praised) in the following quotation [i.e. De re publica, II, 17]...'


    Many thanks for any additional help you might feel like giving to this cause!

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Best,

    Enrico
     
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    Starless74

    Senior Member
    I have found this translation from an 1822 edition, which seems to make perfect sense.
    I don't know if it's of any help (I guess I am completely missing the OP's point).

    «Now Cicero himself intimates that this reception of Romulus into heaven was rather imaginary than really performed and when he praises him in his books De Re publica in the words of Scipio he says:
    He arrived at such a degree of excellence and virtue that not being to be found immediately after the sun's eclipse he was supposed to have been admitted into the number of the gods and no mortal could have attained such an opinion without extraordinary reputation for virtue.
    But in the above sentence when he says that he disappeared suddenly and no marks of him could any where be found we must certainly attribute it to the violence the tempest or to the secrecy with which his Round means to perpetrate the murder».
     
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    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings once more

    Τranslators who have entered contributions, or been mentioned, on this Thread may wish to be reminded that laudare may mean simply 'to cite', or 'to quote'. There is classical, as well as mediaeval or late Latin, testimony for this, as adduced here, under 'II'. Sadly, both L&S and OLD are inadequate on this usage.

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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    The meaning Scholiast cites seems to be a figment of the earlier lexicographical tradition; in the examples with auctōrem, laudāre simply has the weakened meaning "to commend as" (inter alia a remedy), and by extension "to call on" (Jovem testem "God as witness"), but not "quote"; certainly aliquem laudāre with no relation to writings cannot mean that. OLD gives the correct meanings and makes no mention of the "quote, cite" of the earlier lexicographic tradition.

    I must confess I can't find heads or tails in the OP's reasoning. When Cicero denies the reality of the myth of Romulus' apotheosis (struck by lightning and then disappeared), he's simply being a rational human being making a statement on the reality of things, the possible and the impossible. When he's praising Romulus, he's presumably doing precisely the same thing, but in relation to the parts of the mythos that he takes to be true. How are the two connected? How on Earth can calling out a fictional myth be interpreted as saying "he's not to be praised"? That is as reasonable as taking "you have something on your blouse" as a death threat. All Augustine is saying is "even Cicero, who praises Romulus, doesn't believe in that story" - talk about pots and kettles! :D

    Maybe I'm seriously misinterpreting the question?
     
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    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    saluete de nouo, amici!

    The meaning Scholiast cites seems to be a figment of the earlier lexicographical tradition
    I must confess to some mystification about this. Of course laudare was one of the first Latin verbs I remember learning (at the age of about 9, I suppose—my school's motto, incorporated into the heraldic arms we used to wear on our blazers' breast-pockets, was lauda finem). And I remember too as a student coming across, and being at first mildly startled by, this usage while reading the Latin praefatio in one of my Oxford Classical Texts, before figuring out what in the context it meant. Moroever Logeion, as cited (!) in my earlier post, refers to this sense of the word in Plautus and some passages of Cicero.

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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Moroever Logeion, as cited (!) in my earlier post, refers to this sense of the word in Plautus and some passages of Cicero.
    Logeion itself is only a dictionary interface - one can switch the dictionary using the tabs above the text which say LewisShort etc. The precise dictionary that has this definition on Logeion is L&S and its later Elementary version, which is the prime exponent of said lexicographic tradition, being an edited translation of Freund's German dictionary, itself rooted in Forcellini; Gaffiot being more or less the French version of the same thing a few moments half a century laterrrr (no YouTube links allowed :)).

    Surpisingly enough, even the otherwise modern LaNe (Latijn-Nederlands, also on Logeion) has "citeren, aanvoeren, noemen". Yet I don't see where this meaning is to be suspected over "to speak highly of; to commend" - there's no reference to any words or writings. Even the further semantic drift of "to call on" has only one quotation in OLD, the one that I cited from Plautus; another has Gellius call this meaning archaic/obsolete and rephrase it with nōmināre appellāreque, which is totally in line with my interpretation.

    My guess at the culprit is the semantic ambiguity of either the English cite or its equivalent in another language: it does in fact mean "to summon officially or authoritatively to appear in court", which is that archaic meaning of laudāre.
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    @Sobakus
    Thank you for the clarification. I think we may have to agree to differ!😀
    Σ
    I'm awfully sorry about my insistence, but what is the exact passage about whose interpretation we seem to be disagreeing? If all we can find of this meaning is mentions in old dictionaries, then we would be in full agreement that it exists only in those dictionaries :) In DLMBS too, there's only one suitable quotation, and it's filed under "to name", with no hint at the existence of the meanings in question.

    Notice how in the same passage he (John of Salisbury) rephrases it with falsus citaretur auctor, which doesn't mean "to cite, quote, to adduce another's words", but "to name as the author", further semantically bleached from "to mention by name, to call as a trustworthy witness" (perhaps simply misinterpreted, since he's clearly modelling it on the classical usage). Forcellini employs the same word in its rephrasing of laudare: '¶ 2. Est etiam appellare, citare, nominare, citare' [sic twice also in print] in describing its legal sense. This then was misinterpreted by English translations as the present English meaning of "cite, quote", really a standard practice in the field by now.
     
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    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    saluete amici, praesertim Sobakus!

    In support of my view, stated earlier in this Thread, that laudare may mean 'cite' or 'refer to' in the sense of appeal to (more or less) academic authority, I present two extracts from the (massive, naturally) entry in TLL s.v. laudo:

    de notione: PAVL. FEST . p. 118 -are apud antiquos ponebatur pro nominare. GELL. 2, 6, 16 -are significat prisca lingua nominare appellareque; sic in actionibus civilibus auctor -ari dicitur, quod est nominatus (nominari MACR. Sat. 6, 7, 16 qui verba Oellii repetit). NON. p. 335, 10 -are est verbis ecferre (affertur VERG. georg. 2, 412) . . . , -are etiam significat nominare (affertur PLAVT. Capt. 426). GLOSS. V29, 41 -are nominare vel referre (111, 39). SCHOL. Iuv. 3,42 -are: adulari...legitur inde a LIV. ANDR. (? V. p. 1046, 23), NAEV., PLAVTO, ENN., CAECIL., CATONE, TER.


    B fere i. q. nominare, appellare (cf. p. 1045, 40 et testimonia grammaticorum supra allata; aliter p. 1042, 76 et Cic. Font. 2 Ov. am. 3, 10, 23 QVINT. inst. 3, 7, 2): 1 t e s t e m: PLAVT. Capt. 426 Iovem supremum t. -o (testatur Non., do codd. Plauti), Hegio, me infidelem non futurum Philocrati. 2 a u c t o r e m : Cic. Flacc. 93 illo absente auctore -to tantum te crimen probaturum putasti. de orat. 3, 68 auctores certissimos -are possum. 3, 187 quod eo saepius testificor, ut auctoribus -andis ineptiarum crimen effugiam. Brut. 44 te audiente, quem rerum Romanarum a. -are possum religiosissimum. rep. 1, 16 quem . . . a. de illo Socrate locupletiorem Platone -are possumus? GELL. 3, 16, 6) sententiae . . . Aristotelem a. -at.

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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Yes, this is also the meaning I've been describing: 'to mention X by name as Y, to call/commend X as a trustworthy witness/authority/Y'. aliquem auctōrem/testem laudāre does have this contextual meaning, and in fact these seem to be idioms; aliquem sermōne laudāre, however, cannot, because as far as I can see, it depends at the very least on the object complement 'as someone' being expressed: here instead it means "to praise someone in a speech".

    It seems the origin of the misunderstanding here is indeed English: from your words I surmised that the meaning you wished to express with 'to quote, to cite' was 'to adduce another's words'; otherwise, I don't see a reason to single out this meaning or be surprised at it, as it's a simple combination of the basic meaning of laudāre 'to commend' and an object complement 'as someone', albeit semantically diluted somewhat in becoming idiomatic. Yet another reason I think this meaning is impossible in the OP's example is because it was archaic legalese already by the 2nd century AD, and after that seems to pop up only in the jurists.
     
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    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Remember that the OLD rigorously excludes meanings that arose after about 200AD. L&S is less systematic in that regard.
     
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