Servís Heredis Legari, non Potet

Hello, I'm translating a Spanish novel in which there is mention about the university thesis of a 19th century Cuban poet, titled Servís Heredis Legari, non Potet. It seems that the first part means "The Legacy of Slavery" or "The Slave Legacy" but I didn't understand the "non potet" part. Do you have any idea?
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    Hello
    - ''non potest'' means may not/cannot
    -
    it should be servis, not servìs
    -
    it should be hereditas, not heredis (I think)

    Servis hereditas legari non potest
    The sentence means in my interpretation: Inheritance may not be bequeathed to slaves = slaves are not allowed to inherit.

    Should 'heredis' really be correct, then a different interpretation would be possible:
    Servis heredis legari non potest
    It is not allowed to leave legacies/bequests to the heir's slaves.
     
    Last edited:

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Per google books, there were decisions in Roman law about the question of whether one can give a legacy to the slave of his heir, so servis heredis is at least a possibility..

    In the book I linked to, there are index entries "servo suo legari non potest sine libertate" followed by "... idem est in servo heredis".

    Is the "Cuban poet" Jose-Maria de Heredia, by any chance?
     
    Last edited:
    Per google books, there were decisions in Roman law about the question of whether one can give a legacy to the slave of his heir, so servis heredis is at least a possibility..

    In the book I linked to, there are index entries "servo suo legari non potest sine libertate" followed by "... idem est in servo heredis".

    Is the "Cuban poet" Jose-Maria de Heredia, by any chance?

    Exactly! I am translating La Novela de mi Vida, a novel on the life of Heredia by Leonardo Padura Fuentes, from Spanish to Turkish, and the author didn't explain the meaning of the Latin title of the thesis. But it perfectly fits the narrative. Thank you very much.
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    I asked about the poet because I wondered if there was some wordplay with heredis and Heredia.

    The Roman law commentators all say "You can't give an inheritance to your slave or to your heir's slave or to anybody else's slave, unless you arrange to free him first. And he has to be freed before you die, else it's unenforceable." Maybe that is relevant to your novel.
     
    Last edited:
    I asked about the poet because I wondered if there was some wordplay with heredis and Heredia.

    The Roman law commentators all say "You can't give him an inheritance unless you free him first." Maybe that is relevant to your novel.

    No, there is no wordplay. There is only mention that the subject is discussed in the Roman Law and how the slavery still exists in a supposedly modern and civilized world, as if it's a burden carried over from the pre-Christian times. Heredia (in the novel) says that, with his thesis, he wanted to show how the slaves are stripped of even the most basic human rights.
     
    Top