Rex eris dum bene regis, quod nisi feceris

By Marcus the Bald, in 'Latin to English Translation', Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Marcus the Bald New Member

    Hi all,

    I am having trouble with translating a passage from a medieval English work and was wondering whether someone would be able to point me in the right direction. (Date is incorrect in title.)

    Rex eris dum bene regis, quod nisi feceris, nec nomen regis nomen in te constabit, et nomen regis perdes, quod absit.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    Last edited by Marcus the Bald, Jun 27, 2018
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris

    I assume one of the nomen's around regis shouldn't be there, whether the typo is yours or your source's.

    Here's a translation:

    "You will be king as long as you rule well; if you do not, the name of king will not last in you, and you will lose the name of king — may this not happen."
  3. Marcus the Bald New Member

    Thank you very much, Pacifica. That's very kind of you. If you don't mind my asking: how did get so good at Latin? Did you study formally, or are you self-taught? I'd very much like to get better, and have been using the Lingua Latina series, but my progress is slow.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    I learned the basics with a correspondence course and then continued studying on my own through reading — well, not quite on my own, as I benefited from the advice of more experienced people whom I met on this very forum.

    In my opinion, the best way to go is first to acquire a relatively good grasp of the basics through systematic study (either taking a course or studying through a textbook on your own). After that, perhaps you'll think you've gotten good enough, but you most likely won't have. You'll be able to manage somewhat, but you won't be quite confortable reading and/or using Latin yet. Basically, once you've got a relatively good grasp of the basics, what you need to do to get really good at it is mostly to read a lot of original Latin.
  5. Marcus the Bald New Member

    And am I correct in thinking that 'in possessione aut dominii ipsius castri extitereunt' is translated as 'have been in possession of the castle, or have subjected it to lordship'? The genitive 'dominii' seems strange here.
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Can you post some context, e.g. the surrounding sentences?
  7. Marcus the Bald New Member

    Thank you for that advice, Pacifica! It's greatly appreciated. Perhaps, then, I should attempt to finish both volumes of Lingua Latina then try my hand at some original texts. I can only try, I suppose!

    Certainly. The whole sentence is as follows:

    Ab antiquissimis retro temporibus, Reges Franciae directum dominium Galliae habuerunt, et in possessione aut dominii ipsius castri extiterunt successivis temporibus.

    It seems to be saying that the kings of France possessed lordship of France and its castles. I just don't understand why "dominii" is there.
  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    It could theoretically be saying that they were "of the lordship", i.e. characterized by the lordship, having lordship, but it feels a bit strained. I Googled the sentence to see if I could find any variant readings (e.g. one that read domini or dominio rather than dominii or one that had a few more words) but I got no hits (not even with the sentence as it is in your version). What source are you working from? Do you have only one?
  9. Marcus the Bald New Member

    Thanks for this, Pacifica. I'm working from my hand-written notes of a archival document. It doesn't seem to be available online. It appears to have been written by royal clerks in the high middle ages. It just seems that "extiterunt", given its present perfect tense, has to translate as something like "have subjected [it] to". But, as you say, it feels strained, and doesn't connect well with lordship in the genitive. Is it possible they intended to write "dominio" and just got it wrong?
  10. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    No, extiterunt means "have been".
    It is possible, or domini, or else some words are missing.

    Here's a provisional translation, which conveys the general meaning of the sentence albeit there's some uncertainty about the dominii thing:

    All the way back from the most ancient times, the kings of France have possessed rightful lordship over Gaul and have been in possesion or lords of the stronghold through successive times.
  11. Marcus the Bald New Member

    Thank you very much, Pacifica. You've been very generous and most helpful.
  12. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Actually, could you post a chunk of the surrounding text? Like, say, a paragraph or two, so I can know what exactly is being talked about?

    I'm having doubts about something else, now. I naturally interpreted castri as the singular genitive of castrum, but I know there's a rarer medieval masculine variant caster, which, if used here, could mean that castri was masculine plural nominative and that it, rather than reges, was the subject of extiterunt. That's why I'd like to read more of the text to see which interpretation fits the context.
  13. Marcus the Bald New Member

    Yes, no problem. It will take me a little time, but I will get to it.

    Just to be clear: does extiterunt only mean "have been" and nothing else? I just thought with its relationship to exsisto that it would have something to do with exist or appear or emerge. Sorry for my ignorance.

    On an unrelated note: I see that you're from Belgium. I'm a big fan of your country, and will be cheering for them tonight in the World Cup.
    Pacifica likes this.
  14. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    It can mean appear, emerge, prove to be, be, exist... You have to make your pick according to what makes sense or works best in a given context.
    Lol. Thanks.
  15. Westcott Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I think the word should be dominicum, meaning demesne (medieval Latin). Likewise I think that the second instance should be dominico rather than dominii. Presumably there is a distinction between having land in possession or in demesne.

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