Nova totius terrarum sive novi orbis tabula

jeffc418

Senior Member
English
Ave amici, I recently found a puzzle of an old map with several Latin texts on it (makes me very excited!). One of them is "nova totius terrorum, sive nova orbis tabula", which I would translate as:

A new map of the all the lands, on the other hard a new map of the world.

But I'm assuming the noun "map" in the first clause. How would you go about this? THANKS!!!
 
  • J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    Ave amici, I recently found a puzzle of an old map with several Latin texts on it (makes me very excited!). One of them is "nova totius terrarum, sive nova orbis tabula", which I would translate as:

    A new map of the all the lands, on the other hard a new map of the world.

    But I'm assuming the noun "map" in the first clause. How would you go about this? THANKS!!!

    I think you've got it :thumbsup: Avoiding repeating some words makes the phrase disconcerting and this is possible because Latin uses noun cases. If all words are expressed, it sounds clumsy :
    " Nova totius (orbis )terrarum (tabula ) , sive nova orbis tabula"

    However this phrase is puzzling me , as the meaning of both clauses is very similar.
     

    Joca

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Ave amici, I recently found a puzzle of an old map with several Latin texts on it (makes me very excited!). One of them is "nova totius terrorum, sive nova orbis tabula", which I would translate as:

    A new map of the all the lands, on the other hard a new map of the world.

    But I'm assuming the noun "map" in the first clause. How would you go about this? THANKS!!!

    You're right, but I'd rather translate "sive" as "or" or "or in other words."
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think you've got it :thumbsup: Avoiding repeating some words makes the phrase disconcerting and this is possible because Latin uses noun cases. If all words are expressed, it sounds clumsy :
    " Nova totius (orbis )terrarum (tabula ) , sive nova orbis tabula"

    However this phrase is puzzling me , as the meaning of both clauses is very similar.
    I think totius is being used as a substantive here. Thus:

    "A new (map) of all of the lands, or a new map of the world."

    I do not know whether that would be typical of classical Latin or not, though I doubt it somewhat. It seems that it could be the result of translation out of English or perhaps some other language that uses a similar construction.
     

    jeffc418

    Senior Member
    English
    Thanks all for the great responses! Looking at it closes, it actually reads:

    Nova totius terrarom, sive novi orbis tabula.

    The "o" is terrarom actually looks like it has wings on it, probably making it a predecessor to the word "terrarum". And interesting enough, the second "r" in "terrarum" is actually written in a superscript-esque print.

    So now as for a translation:

    Not only a new map of all the lands, but also a new map of the world.

    A new map of all the lands, or a new map of the world.

    A black-and-white picture of the map: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/bsb00003028/images/bsb00003028_00001.jpg
     
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    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The "o" is terrarom actually looks like it has wings on it, probably making it a predecessor to the word "terrarum". And interesting enough, the second "r" in "terrarum" is actually written in a superscript-esque print.

    So now as for a translation:

    Not only a new map of all the lands, but also a new map of the world.

    A new map of all the lands, or a new map of the world.
    I am not familiar that that winged "O"--honestly, I don't even know whether it's meant to be an "O" or a "U." Either would be correct. The Early Latin genitive plural of terra was terrōm, which developed into terrāsom, which, through rhotacism, became terrārom, which then became the familiar classical terrārum.

    As for your translation, I would not feel comfortable using "not only...but also" for sive. Sive suggests that the thing being described differs only in the words used to refer to it. Example:

    "Mars, or Ares, was the god of war."

    Clearly, the two names are simply alternative ways of referring to the same deity. You wouldn't say:

    "Not only Mars, but also Ares, was the god of war."

    Latin had a different way of indicating "not only...but also."

    I now believe that we should read your text as:

    "A new map of all (of) the lands, or of the new world." (Note that novi modifies orbis not tabula.)

    EDIT--The justification for my translation:

    The text Jeff has given provides, I believe, a clear example of "framing," a very common technique in Latin composition. It entails placing the modifier first in a sentence, clause, or phrase, and the modified noun last. In this case, we have descriptive genitives separated by sive within the frame nova...tabula. To me, this indicates that the two genitive phrases totius terrarum and novi orbis are presented as two different, but equally valid ways of describing the same nova tabula.
     
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    jeffc418

    Senior Member
    English
    Oooh very, very interesting. So this is practically a double frame, or a frame within a frame? Totius terrarum would be a frame of its own if it included the noun, but the full frame is novi orbis tabula, which makes it almost one-and-a-half, therefore giving you the reason to believe that they are presented as two of the same ways to describe the nova tabula? Wonderful! Okay so then maybe the "or" operator in the translation needs to be less emphasized.

    Maybe some of our fancy English punctuation can be our friend here.

    Making it a fragment: A new map of all the lands; a new map of the world.

    A new map of the world, of all the lands.

    I would say our "sive" can actually act as that semicolon, considering it's trying to make a comparison. I'm curious as to its construction considering in the original Latin, the "land" reference came first, but the noun wasn't introduced until the latter half. It makes me wonder if the "land" or "world" should come first in the translation. Thanks a million!
     

    J.F. de TROYES

    Senior Member
    francais-France
    I think totius is being used as a substantive here. Thus:

    "A new (map) of all of the lands, or a new map of the world."

    I do not know whether that would be typical of classical Latin or not, though I doubt it somewhat. It seems that it could be the result of translation out of English or perhaps some other language that uses a similar construction.

    You are perfectly right. I did'nt know totum can be used as a substantive, but after looking up the dictionary, I see this is usual even in classical Latin. I was not satisfied with this far-fetched analysis.
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Making it a fragment: A new map of all the lands; a new map of the world.

    A new map of the world, of all the lands.

    I would say our "sive" can actually act as that semicolon, considering it's trying to make a comparison. I'm curious as to its construction considering in the original Latin, the "land" reference came first, but the noun wasn't introduced until the latter half. It makes me wonder if the "land" or "world" should come first in the translation. Thanks a million!
    I wouldn't say that sive makes comparisons, but rather that it introduces alternatives.

    I would not be in favor of the use of the semicolon in translation here.

    I don't have any problem with omitting "or" in the translation. We would still recognize that "of the new world" and "of all of the lands" are two different ways of referring to the same map. However, it should read:

    "A new map of all (of) the lands, of the new world."

    I understand your concerns about whether "land" or "world" should come first in translation. In this case, as in many, I would prefer to stick to the original Latin order as much as possible. In general, I try to change only what I am forced to alter to make the translation conform to the rules of English syntax.
     

    Enlil

    New Member
    American English
    I've seen pictures of a map with this legend, and it's been incorrectly cited here. The word before orbis is novi, not nova.

    What everyone is forgetting is that terrarum orbis (circle or orb of lands) is a very common Latin idiom for "world". If you have these two words in a sentence, the most likely reason is that the author had this phrase in mind.

    Since the only reason for construing totius as a substantive is to explain the peculiar phrase totius terrarum, recognizing terrarum orbis as a single entity removes this need. Now you have two masculine singular genitive adjectives, totius and novi, and a masculine singular genitive noun phrase, terrarum orbis.

    According to this interpretation (which I believe is correct), the translation is:

    A new map of the whole, or rather of the new, world.

    (And, by the way, if you think this translation is belied by the word order, try reading the Aeneid sometime. The order here is child's play by comparison with some of Virgil's more fanciful flights. :))
     

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Hadn't seen this thread before, but Enlil is undoubtedly correct. I also read it as nova totius terrarum [orbis] sive novi [terrarum] orbis tabula. The interlocking word order and ellipsis is entirely natural to Latin prose, to say nothing of poetry.

    The collocation totius terrarum orbis is very common in maps of this period: there's just no good reason to suppose totius is a substantive and then attribute it to a clumsy translation.
     
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    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Given the commonness of the collocation, both in Classical and Medieval times, I retract my earlier statement and also agree with Enlil.

    The collocation totius terrarum orbis is very common in maps of this period: there's just no good reason to suppose totius is a substantive and then attribute it to a clumsy translation.
    Although, as I said above, I agree completely with Enlil's argument, I feel that you have misrepresented my earlier position a bit. I want to make it clear that I never said anything about a "clumsy" translation. I would never have the audacity to use such a word in speaking of a Medieval composition, even if, as is sometimes the case, the Latin were modeled on the native language of the author. In other words, I believed my argument to be a possible explanation of the reading I found most likely at the time, and absolutely did not intend to be dismissive of the author's knowledge or ability. I make all of my posts with the knowledge that I may be wrong, and hope always that in those cases I will be corrected.

    By the way, the reasons I read the sentence as I did were, in order of importance:

    1) Ignorance of the collocation terrarum orbis
    2) The placement of the comma
    3) The fact that the Latin was Medieval and thus perhaps did not conform completely to Classical standards
     

    Enlil

    New Member
    American English
    2) The placement of the comma
    Just for the record, the comma is a red herring; it doesn't exist in the original, which reads:

    NOVA TOTIUS TERRARÖM SIVE NOVI ORBIS TABULA, auct: G. BLaeu
    where the 2nd "R" in "TERRARÖM" is superscripted, and "Ö" is my attempt at representing the strange winged O that was mentioned earlier. It really does look like the engraver originally spelled the word "TERAROM" and then went back later to fix it by adding a second "R" and changing the "O" to a "U".
     

    Costantin

    New Member
    brasilian portuguese
    You can break it into two sentences:

    Nova totius terrarum tabula.
    Novi orbis tabula.

    I read that as: "New map of the world, or map of the new world"

    I find it a very bealtiful and powerful statement, as "New world" does not mean the american continent (at all), but a new way of seing the world, of representing it. It's a celebration of human knowledge.
     

    Gianfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I agree with Costantin.
    It wouldn't make sense to say "map of all lands, that is map of the New World [America]", since "all lands" includes America.
    I read it like this:
    New map of the whole world, that is of the world as we know it now.
    The cartographer lived in the 17th Century.
    G.

    EDIT:
    Of course, I'm not sure a Latin author would have used that kind of phrasing...
     
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    alfakiren

    New Member
    Swedish
    I just want to say thanks to all of you guys!!!
    I grew up with a lithograph of this map in color that hung over the couch at home, and have always wondered what it says on it.
    Now it hangs over my own couch in my own home.
    Trying to translate it myself with a dictionary and a grammer book (don't know any latin aside from famous quotes) was way to hard.
    So I started to give up, until i found this site.
    Thank you once again!!
     

    ryadne

    New Member
    english
    I just want to say thanks to all of you guys!!!
    I grew up with a lithograph of this map in color that hung over the couch at home, and have always wondered what it says on it.
    Now it hangs over my own couch in my own home.
    Trying to translate it myself with a dictionary and a grammer book (don't know any latin aside from famous quotes) was way to hard.
    So I started to give up, until i found this site.
    Thank you once again!!
    Please note that 'totius' is a singular genitive form, not the nominative. It refers to 'orbis'. Just as nova modifies tabula. So we are talking about ' totius orbis terrarum ' ~ the whole world. It is new ~ 'novi'.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    As others have pointed out, the correct title is really (a) "Nova totius terrarum sive novi orbis tabula" and not (b) "Nova totius terrarum sive nova orbis tabula".

    As a quick check, I did an internet image search on each of those exact phrases. Search (a) produced a large number of images of the relevant map. Search (b) produced three irrelevant images.

    How then should we understand this phrase Nova totius terrarum sive novi orbis tabula?

    It is a somewhat elliptical expression, which stands for: Nova totius terrarum [orbis], sive novi orbis, tabula

    This means: A new map of the whole world, or of the new world.
     

    Snodv

    Senior Member
    English - Mid-Southern US
    Ave amici, I recently found a puzzle of an old map with several Latin texts on it (makes me very excited!). One of them is "nova totius terrorum, sive nova orbis tabula", which I would translate as:

    A new map of the all the lands, on the other hard a new map of the world.

    But I'm assuming the noun "map" in the first clause. How would you go about this? THANKS!!!
    I have an old map with the same legend on my office wall. Sometimes Latin has an unusual (to us) word order. In this case it seems we must go from the outside in. You don't have to supply map, it's there: Nova...tabula. Totius orbis terrarum: of the entire circle of lands = of the whole world. The weird part to me is the sive novi [orbis, etc.]. I take this to mean that it's a map of the whole world, or maybe (lit. or if) the new world. I don't get that because it's clearly a map of the whole world including the new world.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    "nova totius terrorum, sive nova orbis tabula", which I would translate as....
    Some points are crucial in my opinion:

    1. terrorum is clearly a spelling mistake: it should be 'terrarum'' (= of the lands)
    2. translation of ''sive''. The word was common in Latin and meant ''or in other words/that is to say'' (I remember e.g. Spinoza 's famous motto: Deus sive natura (God, that is to say nature)
    3. with ''nova'' the legend makes sense, with ''novi'' it doesn't. I presume that ''novi'' is a (spelling?) mistake, and I would rule out any reference to the ''new world''.

    Nova totius terrarum sive nova orbis tabula = A new map of the totality of lands, i.e. a new map of the world.

    The interpretation ''of all the lands, i.e. of the new world'' (with novi) would be clearly contradictory.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    I don't get that because it's clearly a map of the whole world including the new world.
    Hello. As said above. Not New World as in America, but '[our] new world', ˚new globe, after those exploration centuries.

    About that 'genitive', you can think of a 'dash' ˚New all-lands map / ˚new-globe map; the 'play' in repeating new, working for globe.

    On this new map
    The Whole World
    —Our New World
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    After some time in Google my conclusions are as follows:
    • The original name of this map, published in 1630, is Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula - where it's the tabula "map" that is nova "new", while orbis "globe" is still thankfully the same old one.
    • Many similar maps were later published, such as the 1689 one under the name Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula Auctore F. De Wit - everything still as expected.
    • Among them is the present map, appearing in 1665 (WorldCat), indeed entitled Nova Totius Terrarum Sive Novi Orbis Tabula - where suddenly it's the orbis "globe" that is now novi "new", and not the map. Now, America had been discovered for a century and a half by this time, but even if this had been published immediately upon discovering it, it would make absolutely no sense whatsoever because America is a new landmass on the same old globe. The international term "New World" is based on Amerigo Vespucci's Mundus Novus (the word mundus was classically the equivalent of Greek κόσμος, but here probably mirrors the usage of Italian mondo).
      • In addition, it's impossible to tell what sive actually coordinates: are the two members totius terrarum "the whole of the lands" + novi orbis "the new globe"? Is totius terrarum [orbis] "of the whole [globe] of lands" coordinated with novi [orbis] "of the new [globe]"? Or maybe it's totius terrarum sive novi orbis "of the whole globe of lands, i.e. of the new"? None of these makes much sense, and totum terrarum "the whole of the world" is too colloquially abrupt to ever be used in a (post-)Renaissance map title, which is the reason the other maps use set phrase totus terrarum orbis "the whole globe of lands, the Earth". As it stands, the syntax of this set phrase has been violated by novi and it's impossible to make sense of it.
    • Appending novus to generic names of publications (novus thesaurus, nova tabula, novum philosophiae syntagma) was a deeply-established practice, and it's still not entirely dead with specific names (eg. Brill's New Pauly).
    So in frankness, I think the name is gibberish, and novi is a mistake for nova, intended to refer to tabula.
     
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    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Not New World as in America
    In Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, notice on pages 23, 152, 158, ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴀᴇ sɪᴠᴇ ɴᴏᴠɪ ᴏʀʙɪs ɴᴏᴠᴀ ᴅᴇsᴄʀɪᴘᴛɪᴏ, ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴀᴇ sɪᴠᴇ ɴᴏᴠɪ ᴏʀʙɪs ᴘᴀʀs, ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴀᴇ ᴠᴇʟ ɴᴏᴠɪ ᴏʀʙɪs ᴘᴀʀs. In the one issued by the Blaeu family, ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴁ nova Tabula, ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴁ ᴘᴀʀs. The authors would be aware of that gen. sive gen. & the use of novi orbis. I don't see the intention for a second nova; cf. other works with nova +gen +n.

    About Wandle's ellipsis in #18, for ex. An image of an ever so loved, nay, a new woman, where an -a in IT/ES allows the participle to work on its own; a function here passed onto -um (so orbis, woman are not repeated). As the author thinks of other coordinated genitives (ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴀᴇ sɪᴠᴇ ɴᴏᴠɪ ᴏʀʙɪs; ʀᴇɢᴇsᴛᴏʀᴜᴍ sɪᴠᴇ ᴇᴘɪsᴛᴏʟᴀʀᴜᴍ) & both titles reference previous works.
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Yes, I see that. Was it a conscious replacement of mundi with orbis because the authors believed mundus could only refer to the entire universe (which in their time was just the solar system)? I was actually wrong in translating orbis as "globe" - it can mean anything round, but prototypically a circle, so it's "the circle of lands" - cf. the fact that most of these maps are round (as in circular). If the authors were thinking of a map with two circles of lands, one old and one new, then the term novus orbis becomes usable.

    The map in question does contain two, but it appears to call them together "the entire circle of lands or the new circle". This makes little sense under the interpretation I just gave; the only appropriate interpretation seems to be that the old conception of the world that excludes America is being referred as vetus orbis regardless of the presentation, and the new America-enabled conception of the world is called novus orbis, reflecting a geographic paradigm shift - only novus orbis is recognised to represent the "entire world".

    But even this leaves one with the syntactic problem I described in my previous post - dropping a member of an idiomatic phrase while coordinating it with a literal one is a literary device called zeugma which is totally inappropriate where clarity is the goal: "she opened the door and her heart". Here this is only made worse by the agglomeration of Genitives so you can't decide what's being coordinated. Similarly yet differently, your An image of an ever so loved, nay, a new woman is syntactically unambiguous, but far from it semantically - 'nay' is expected to introduce an intensification of 'ever so loved', but 'new' is not an intensification of it, so the meaning of this is entirely obscure. It plays with the reader by defying expectation and is again a literary device.

    All in all while I now see that there did exist a more or less appropriate use of novus orbis, I still think the phrase in question is both semantically and syntactiaclly puzzling. It can be made much more comprehensible by moving terrarum next to orbis - the syntax is totus [terrarum orbis], not [totus terrarum] orbis, but ultimately the latter simply had to be repeated.
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Through a bit of luck I stumbled across this passage of Pliny the Elder the other day (Nat. 6.1.6) which describes the two Bospori (the Istanbul and the Kerch straits):

    alitum quippe cantus canumque latratus inuicem audiuntur uocis etiam humanae commercia inter duos orbes manente conloquio nisi cum id ipsum auferunt uenti ('for the singing of birds and the barking of dogs can be heard from either side, and even human voices, so that the two landmasses still talk to each other unless the words are carried away by the wind').

    The word therefore seems to have been used to metaphorically conceive of any large body of land as being circumscribed by its coastline, even though in the case of the Kerch strait the body of water that lies between them was referred to as the Maeotic lake (but the Sea of Azov in both Russian and English). Here the word 'landmass' seems appropriate, but some of the uses also include the inhabitants or even their cultures, and so need to be translated as 'such and such lands' or 'world', for example (Nat. 28.123.1), talking about animals and about to discuss different kinds of milk:

    hactenus de externis nunc praeuertemur ad nostrum orbem ('This concludes our discussion of foreign lands. Let's now turn to our own'). The previous discussion included such exotic animals as crocodiles, hippopotamuses and lynxes, so here presumably Italy and the islands is meant, could be Greece as well.

    All in all it seems that the map-makers were right to correct mundus novus to novus orbis since the former designates an ordered ('κόσμος, mundus') totality of things, a universe.
     
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