Quartum, Nilo patre, quem Aegyptii nefas habent nominare,

By El Syd, in 'Latin to English Translation', Dec 4, 2018.

  1. El Syd New Member

    Apologies for my lack of Latin. I am a translator from German and need to check my author's German translation of the following Latin, which he gives in a footnote.
    It is supposedly 16th century European, by Annibale Rosselli, but closely follows Cicero's De Natura Deorum Book 3: XXII

    Rosselli's text, which concerns the multiple identities of Hermes Trismegistus:

    Quinque fuisse Mercurios, antiquitas docet. Primo quidem coelo patre, die matre natum. Secundo vero Valentis, et Pheronidis filium. Tertium Iove tertio natum, et Maia. Quartum, Nilo patre, quem Aegyptii nefas habent nominare, qui dicitur Argum interfecisse, et ob eam causam Aegypto praefuisse, legesque atque literas Aegyptiis tradidisse.“

    My key concern here is whether the Egyptians thought it wrong to name the Nile, or to name his son. However, a full literal translation would be much appreciated.

    My current version of the German, (which is influenced by Francis Brooks 1896 translation of Cicero
    De Natura Deorum Book 3:XXII
    https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/cicero-on-the-nature-of-the-gods) is:

    Ancient sources tell us there have been five Hermes. The first was born of Caelus (heaven) as father and Dies (day) as mother. The second was the son of Valens and Pheronide. The third was the offspring of the third Jupiter and Maia. The fourth, whose name the Egyptians think it wrong to utter, was the son of father Nile, and is said to have killed Argus and to have therefore fled to Egypt and given laws and learning to the Egyptians

    Thank you Latinists!
  2. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    I think it would refer to it being wrong to name that Hermes, not the Nile.

    BTW, in the original Cicero, the Mercury quem Aegyptii nefas habent nominare is different from the Mercury qui dicitur Argum interfecisse:
    quartus Nilo patre, quem Aegyptii nefas habent nominare; quintus, quem colunt Pheneatae, qui Argum dicitur interemisse ob eamque causam in Aegyptum profugisse atque Aegyptiis leges et litteras tradidisse: hunc Aegyptii Theyt appellant eodemque nomine anni primus mensis apud eos vocatur.
  3. El Syd New Member

    Thank you Dantius; I think as you imply, there is a problem here, as Rosselli starts by saying there are quinque and then gets as far as quartum.

    Could you, or anyone else, please supply a literal translation of the Rosselli? My translation is from the German and should not mislead you into thinking I can actually read Latin! Despite/because of my school teachers' best/worst efforts.

    Thanks again.
  4. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Your translation looks correct.

    litteras could mean that he gave learning, or writing to them.
  5. El Syd New Member

    - Thank you.

Share This Page


Our Latin forum is a community for discussion of all topics relating to Latin language, ancient and medieval world.

Latin Boards on this Forum:

English to Latin, Latin to English translation, general Latin language, Latin grammar, Latine loquere, ancient and medieval world links.