the first sons of prominent houses customarily inherited the secular titles of their families

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by nagoyano, May 21, 2013.

  1. nagoyano Senior Member

    I am writing about history in Italian.
    In the 16th-century Italy, the first sons of prominent houses customarily inherited the secular titles of their families.
    The second sons usually pursued the ecclesiastical careers.
    This was the custom of this era.
    My questions are:
    (1) The subjects (the first sons and the second sons) should be in the plural form in English,
    because it was a custom among various prominent houses.
    What about in Italian?
    If we should choose the plural forms, what are the proper forms, primogeniti or primigeniti? Secondogeniti or secondigeniti?
    (2) What should be the proper tense, passato remoto or passato imperfetto?
    Since it was a custom of the era, I think that passato imperfetto is adequate.
    For example, "Per abitudine, i primigeniti ereditavano i titoli secolari delle loro famiglie".
    In practice, each act of inheritance took place at a moment.
    In this respect, I may have to consider the possibility of passato remoto.
    Like, "Per abitudine, i primogeniti ereditarono i titoli secolari delle loro famiglie".
    I think the former (passato imperfetto) is better than the latter (passato remoto).
    What do you think of them?

    I ask for your kind advice. Ciao!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2013
  2. Mary49

    Mary49 Senior Member

    the correct plural forms are "primogeniti" and "secondogeniti". Imperfetto is ok : "ereditavano".
  3. L'Enrico Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Also, a custom is something more than a habit.
    Tradizionalmente..., Per tradizione..., Era tradizione che...

  4. nagoyano Senior Member

    Dear Mary 49 and L'Enrico,

    Thank you for your kind instruction.
    Yours are more than helpful.
    I think that I have learnt important principles,
    which are applicable to similar cases.
    I am deeply grateful to you.

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