we would not have dared

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by William Stein, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English

    This about a sentence in Chapter 34 of Wheelock:
    "If those four soliders had followed us, we would not have dared to put the weapons on our ship."

    I found a usually reliable answer key that translates it as follows:
    Si illi quattuor milites nos secuti essent, arma in nave ponere non ausi sumus.

    I have several questions I was hoping you could help me with:

    1) Shouldn't it be "non ausi essemus? I can see that the "apodosis" might not be considered "contrary to fact" if they really did put the arms on the ship, but still the indicative seems strange.
    2) Should it be "in nave" (abl.) or "in navem" (acc.)? I'm asking because German and Russian verbs of movement with "to" usually take the accusative where as the dative or "locative" (=ablative of location) is reserved for doing something "in" a certain place. "Put the weapons on(to) the ship" seems like the first type.
    3) Does anybody know what these English-to-Latin translations are called in English? In French, they're called "theme" and Latin-to-English translations are called "version" (which are usually much easier, of course, unless you happen to be a native Latin speaker :)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  2. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    If it were reliable, its author would know that the plural of miles is milites.

    ad 1)
    It must of course be non ausi essemus.

    ad 2)
    arma in nave ponere
    does not mean
    to put the weapons on our ship.

    arma ponere means to lay down one's arms, to put one's weapons down (to discontinue combat readiness) unless combined with accusative of movement and direction.
    Hence, the correct translation of
    we would not have dared to put the weapons on our ship is arma in navem nostram ponere non ausi essemus. on is bad English, onto is good English, by the way.

    our should indeed be represented (in navem nostram) unless it's redundant owing to context.

    ad 3)
    I think the French call a translation into any foreign language theme, and from any foreign language version. This usage is not limited to Latin. I don't think English makes this distinction.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  3. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Thanks, dubitans.

    "Miletes" was my typo but the rest is an exact transcription, for better or for worse. The answer key really is usually reliable but I can't say the same for my Latin spelling or typing, unfortunately.

    2) I was just guessing about verbs of motion + accusative based on my knowledge of other languages, but Wheelock never gives that rule anywhere (at least not up to Chapter 35, which is far as I have got so far in his classical boot camp). In all fairness to Wheelock, I just found the rule in Chapter 37.

    3) Yes, that's true about "theme" and "version" applying to any language in French. I was just using Latin as the example closest to your classical hearts. There must be an equivalent in English, though.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  4. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    Propono ut quaeras in foro Anglico.
  5. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    Maybe it was a trick question because I just spent ten minutes Googling and couldn't find any equivalent in English.
  6. relativamente Senior Member

    catalan and spanish
    I have found in a dictionary examples of classical Latin authours using the verb pono with the preposition "in" both with accusative and also with ablative.The verb pono cannot be considered as a verb of motion, and in Latin motion verbs are not so different from other verbs.
    Can be used in passive form also.
  7. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    That's what I meant to say. With ablative it means we wouldn't have dared to put down our weapons on the ship/(depending on context) once we were on the ship (in nave).

    At no point did I say ponere was a verb of motion. What I did say was that besides ablative of location as shown above, it may be combined with accusative of direction, e.g. for "putting something onto a ship" ​(in navem).
  8. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    I don't think the question is whether a particular Latin verb is in the categories of verbs of motion but whether the idea of directional motion (toward something) is expressed in a given context (which usually corresponds to a verb + "to/into/onto" English). For example, the first lines of Metamorphoses:

    In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas

    My spirit compels me to tell of forms changed into new bodies

    "Change" certainly cannot be considered a verb of motion but "change into" takes the accusative (in nova corpora) rather than the ablative of location.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  9. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Can you give any examples of Russian expressions with "doing something in a certain place" with a noun in dative?
  10. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    It's "locative" in Russian, dative in German. I don't have Cyrillic characters and this isn't a Russian forum (although I admit it's my fault for bringing it up), but "I was born in America" (Ja rodilsja v Amerike) or "I am walking in the forest" (Ja gulaju po lesu), , for example.
    Same examples of dative (of location) in German: Ich bin in den Vereinigten Staaten geboren" or "Ich gehe im Wald spazieren"
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  11. relativamente Senior Member

    catalan and spanish
    I think this distinction with the proposition "in"at least, exist also in Latin
    example Ego in Hispania natus sum, versus ego in Hispaniam eo, ego ad civitatem eo
    But it is not used the case of nouns to distinguish the dinamic situation (I put the book on the table) versus static ones (the book is on the table), at least not to the extend that this happens in other languages with noun declensions
  12. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    To clarify in response to Ben Jamin (# 9): Russian, along with several other Balto-Slavonic tongues, has a locative case. These PIE locatives came to be subsumed in Greek and Latin by the genitive/dative/ablative, but traces remain, e.g. Lat. domi, Gk. οἴκοι.

  13. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    It's funny you should mention that because I just read that 10 minutes ago in Chapter 37 of Wheelock:
    For place where with these particular words (domus, humus and rus and with the actual names of cities, towns and small islands), a special case was used in Latin, the "'locative". The locative is identical to the genitive for the singular of first and second declension nouns; elsewhere, the locative is usually identical to the ablative."

    By the way, what does he mean by the "actual" name of cities?

    I think I figured it out. He means that "nicknames" of cities don't take the locative. By the way, I searched "city of seven hills" + "civitas" to find out the Latin equivalent, and everybody says "Civitas septicollis", except for some pompous evangelist who says:

    “Of that wicked and pestilent see and chair of Rome, which is indeed the very whore of Babylon that St John describeth in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, sitting upon a seven-headed beast, which St John himself interpreteth to be seven hills, and the children in the grammar-school do know that Rome is called civitas septem montium, the city of seven hills.

    That would the city of seven mountains, wouldn't it?
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013

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