From Fabulae Syrae (LLPSI series), Ch. XXVIII

By Iustinus, in 'Latin to English Translation', Dec 25, 2015.

  1. Iustinus Member

    From 3. Nausicaa

    Ceteris puellis "Celeriter currite" clamabat "huc, huc pilam iacite!" Imperabat Nausicaa ut ad se pilam mitterent ancillae, quam deinde ipsa, manus extendens, captam ad ancillas versus iaciebat.

    To the other girls "You (all) run faster," she yelled, "here, you (all) throw the ball here!" Nausicaa was commanding that the maids send the ball towards her, which then itself, by extending hands, (having been) captured towards the maids (having been) turned was throwing.

    My questions:

    1) The use of ancillae. Usually impero is used with the dative ("I give orders to someone"), but the dative ancillae would be in the singular, whereas in the preceding sentence, Nausicaa is addressing the plural. Is ancillae then nominative? This strikes me as unusual in the predicate of this sentence (actually independent clause, which could stand alone as a simple sentence), since there is no linking verb. Is it because of the ut clause? Is the subject of an ut clause put in the nominative?

    2) The direct object. Quam is in the feminine accusative singular, so I'm assuming it's referring to pilam (especially since it was "captured by extending hands"), but then shouldn't iacio be in the passive ("[the ball] was being thrown")? But of course a ball can't "turn towards the maids," so maybe this is referring to Nausicaa, but then again, she wasn't "captured by extending hands"...

    Perhaps it switches from plural to singular. She yells to all of the maids, but is actually commanding only one (after all, only one can throw the ball at any given time). So it would be...

    "Nausicaa was giving orders to a maid to send the ball towards her, who then herself, by extending hands, captured (the ball) [and] towards the maids turned was throwing."

    Still awkward... I grasp the meaning, that they're playing catch (throwing the ball back and forth). Assuming this latter translation is correct, I'm still confused by captam, since it's a perfect passive participle ("having been captured," not "having captured [the ball]"). Any illumination would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance, and a happy winter solstice* to all!

    [*on the Julian calendar]
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Yes, of course the subject of an ut clause is put in the nominative. Ancillae is the subject of mitterent. The verb of the main clause imperabat has no indirect object here.
    Quam is the direct object of iaciebat, and captam is agreeing with quam.

    Ipsa is Nausicaa, not the ball.

    Celeriter isn't a comparative.

    I'll give you here first a word-for-word translation that you can understand the grammar, and then translation in normal English (hopefully normal English, because the normalness of any English coming from me cannot be guaranteed. :p).

    Ceteris puellis "Celeriter currite" clamabat "huc, huc pilam iacite!" Imperabat Nausicaa ut ad se pilam mitterent ancillae, quam deinde ipsa, manus extendens, captam ad ancillas versus iaciebat.

    "Run (currite) fast (celeriter)!" she shouted (clamabat) to the other girls (ceteris puellis), "Throw (iacite) the ball (pilam) here, here (huc, huc!)." Nausicaa (Nausicaa) commanded (imperabat) that (ut) the maids (ancillae) should send (mitterent) the ball (pilam) to her (ad se), which (quam) then (deinde) she herself (ipsa), stretching out (extendens) [her] hands (manus), threw (iaciebat), having been caught (captam), towards (ad... versus) the maids (ancillas).

    "Run, fast", she shouted to the other girls, "Throw the ball here, here!" Nausicaa commanded the maids to send the ball to her; then, stretching out her hands, she caught it and herself threw it towards the maids.
    Iustinus likes this.
  3. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    The imperfects in the above passage (clamabat, imperabat, iaciebat) sound very odd indeed. Has the book not introduced the perfect tense yet? o_O

    In any case, Iustinus, you should generally translate the Latin imperfect tense into English simple past, not past continuous: "She shouted", not "she was shouting", which sounds weird in English in most circumstances.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    They don't sound odd; they just suggest that all those actions were done repeatedly.
  5. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    Even throwing the ball? That seems odd.
  6. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    Hmm, I guess she could repeat the whole sequence of events over and over, okay.
  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    You throw the ball several times in a game, don't you? ;)
  8. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    I find it strange, too.
    Was your English translation meant to suggest repeated action? It doesn't to me.
  9. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Two different types of repeated action could be meant here:

    1: All these things were repeated several times within one single game.
    2: They used to play this game often.

    2 could be expressed in English with things like "would" or "used to", but I don't really see any way to express 1. Not knowing the context (and so not knowing which was meant), I chose the most "neutral" translation.
  10. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    The English phrasing doesn't suggest repeated action either during a single game or across several. 'Used to' would certainly feel out of place, but I don't think 'would' necessarily suggests that the action occurred over several games any more than the Latin imperfect does.

    "Run, fast", she would shout to the other girls, "Throw the ball here, here!" Nausicaa kept commanding the maids to send the ball to her; then, stretching out her hands, she would catch it and throw it herself towards the maids.

    This, and the original Latin, sound weird to me because the actions described are rather vivid and specific, especially with the direct discourse, so it doesn't sound like the sort of thing that would be described as happening multiple times. I know it's not impossible, but it would be nice to see the context to be sure.
  11. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    I don't know; the Latin doesn't at all sound weird to me, and at any rate, to compare with a language that has a perfect/imperfect distinction, I can tell with certainty that it wouldn't sound weird in French. I suppose it all feels like it's a description of how the game was going on. I see how, maybe, her shouting the exact words "run etc." to the maids can feel more likely to you to have occured only once during the game than several times (though it's perfectly possible that she shouted similar things several times, and the author is just not being 100% precise, as it can naturally happen), but the ball-sending back and forth at any rate is bound to happen numerous times in a game.
  12. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    I'm wondering if this may not be one of those cases where English doesn't necessarily naturally make a difference, and the simple past would be used whatever the case. Now that was my initial feeling, but from what you're saying, maybe I was wrong.

    I get that my initial translation, when seen out of context, would rather be interpreted by default as referring to actions that all happened only once; but could they really not be interpreted as repeated actions if there was a context to suggest so?
  13. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    Yes -- that's exactly how it struck me. Glad I'm not the only one.
  14. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    I'm having a hard time imagining such a context, but perhaps it's just a failure of imagination on my part.
  15. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    I think part of the issue I had with the sentence was that the first two imperfects (clamabat and imperabat) seemed, if anything, to be most likely to refer to actions that went on continuously for a short period of time (like "she kept shouting" and "she kept ordering" (i.e. until they threw the ball to her)); but throwing a ball isn't the sort of action one can keep doing continuously like this, so I found this one rather jarring.
  16. Iustinus Member

    Pacis puella, thanks for breaking that down for me. I know it probably doesn't seem that complicated, but it still tripped me up. My new job has left me almost no study time, so I feel rusty, and stuff I really ought to know by now (like the nominative subject in ut clauses) nevertheless gets by me. I appreciate the in-depth response. Most helpful!
  17. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    You're welcome. The subject of a finite (i.e. conjugated) verb is always in the nominative.
  18. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    Hmm, actually I have another question about this. Obviously it makes more sense that she should stretch out her hands to catch the ball, rather than to throw it; I'm just wondering what the justification is for getting this out of the Latin, rather than something like "Nausicaa commanded the maids to send the ball to her; which, once caught, she herself, stretching out her hands, threw it towards the maids." Since captam is a past participle, doesn't it automatically come before extendens, not after?
  19. Iustinus Member

    As for the tense issue, it's a myth opening with "Olim..." so "Once upon a time, they were doing such-and-such." Seems to me this would explain why imperfect was chosen.
  20. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    It's possible too. I don't know.
    Not necessarily.

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