Latin Reading Club (15) - The Crusaders (part 2)

By Cato, in 'Reading Latin', Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Chicago, IL
    In last week's passage, the crusader armies besieging Antioch redeployed their troops after some of the leaders were bribed by the inhabitants. Giving up the orchards they had held was a critical mistake; the Muslim armies quickly reclaimed them and placed forces between the Crusaders and the river, the nearest water source. Running out of food, the leadership decides to abandon the siege and return to Jerusalem.

    Sic igitur reges et principes, quantos a saeculis non legimus convenisse, confusione induti et reverentia, peccatis nostris exigentibus, infecto negotio, redire compulsi, eadem via qua venerant, in regnum sunt reversi. Qui deinceps--non solum quandiu in Oriente moram egerunt--nostrorum principum vias omnes suspectas habebant. Et eorum merito, tanquam malitiosa nimis declinabant consilia, circa regni negotia tepidos se exhibentes; verum, postquam ad eorum regiones eis datum est reverti, susceptarum perpetuo memores injuriarum, eorumdem principum abominati sunt malitiam. Nec se solos, verum etiam et alios, qui non interfuerant, circa amorem regni efficiebant remissiores. Ita ut jam de caetero, neque tot, neque ferventes adeo, hujus peregrinationis viam arriperent, et advenientes etiam nolentes eorum illaqueari fraudibus, domum citius redire etiam hodie contendant.

    quantos...convenisse these two words are acc. w. inf. after legimus. More than just the total number, quantos also refers to the calibre of these leaders.
    reverentia - Careful; this is not "reverence", but "shyness, shame".
    negotio - "the mission"
    deinceps - "thereafter"; translate as the first word in the sentence.
    quandiu = quamdiu; there is a similar spelling change later with tanquam
    moram egerunt = morati sunt; this use of ago is somewhat common in Medieval Latin.
    tanquam malitiosa nimis - William is really piling on the adverbs here to emphasize how malitiosa the consilia could be.
    circa - "concerning"; almost equivalent to de; this is also the meaning in the later phrase circa amorem.
    regni - This regnum is the Crusader "Kingdom of Jerusalem". Set up after the 1st crusade, it was responsible for war strategy in the region; think of them like the recent Iraq "provisional Authority" set up by the US after the 2nd Gulf War.
    se exhibentes - "presenting themselves"
    eis datum est reverti = reverti sunt/essent; another impersonal construction.
    Ita ut jam de caetero, neque tot, neque ferventes adeo... = "though once it was otherwise, now neither as many nor as fervent..." Ferventes is the subject of arriperent. At least that's the best I can make of it...
    eorum - take with fraudibus; refers to the leaders of the regni
    illaqueari - "to be ensnared"
    etiam hodie - William was writing some thirty years after these events.

    This text is not at Perseus (found it in the Patrologia Latina database at the University of Chicago; starts at bottom of p. 679A).

    English translation from Fordham's "Internet Medieval Source Book" (last paragraph).

    Habete Ludum
  2. The Disc Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    One word, just one.....................Wow! :applause:
  3. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Chicago, IL
    There were two main reasons I posted these passages from William of Tyre. First, he is a skilled prose writer; note for example how he used the phrase peccatis nostris exigentibus - "(with) our sins coming forth" in both the passage on the bribes and the description of the retreating reges et principes, a deliberate echo. I also think in the second selection the description of these kings and prices is dripping with a sad irony; such a lofty "piling on" of descriptive phrases is usually reserved only for triumphal marches, not a shameful retreat.

    The second is because current events in the Middle East should have us re-examining the history of the region, particularly the West's role there. It would be a mistake to read too much into the past, but to read nothing at all is an equal sin. It is difficult for me to conceal my feelings on the current war--let's just say I am not a supporter--but current events being what they are, William's history is at least somewhat topical.

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