tantum non adsint tigres, neque si prosiliat curru. firmare baculo labentes gressus expediat.

By Ross Caldwell, in 'Latin to English Translation', Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Is my translation of the following sentence with "non... neque" correct?

    Pampinea fronde redimitus comam octavo Bachus accedat loco, tantum non adsint tigres, neque si prosiliat curru. firmare baculo labentes gressus expediat.

    "His locks garlanded with vine leaves, let Bacchus approach to the eighth place; only, let the tigers draw not near, or, if he should jump from the chariot, only let him be ready to steady slipping feet with the walking-stick."

    ---------------
    Lewis and Short –
    "[Tantum II, 2. Particular phrases. a.] Tantum non, analogous to the Greek μόνον οὐκ, to point out an action as *only not*, i.e. *very nearly*, completed, *almost*, *all but*, *very nearly*

    "But in many cases non belongs to the verb, and not to tantum:
    Tantum non cunctandum neque cessandum esse – *only there must be no delay* Livy 35,18,8"


  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Octavo accedat loco means something more like "let him come in eighth position", i.e. he's the eighth god that the author is mentioning/writing about.

    You've failed to convey the negative idea of neque, which means "nor" or "and not".

    Non adsint could perhaps be rendered more exactly as "don't let the tigers be there" or "let the tigers be away".
  3. Yes, there are 16, and Bacchus is the eighth. I am missing the subtlety of your contrast with our translation, though, unless it is the dramatic sense. To us this seems justified by the author's style, such as in the opening for Neptune - "Profunda maris linque et oceani freta efferque undis caput Neptune tuis perque Tirenum equor age paulis per currus." Leave the springs of the sea and the straits of Oceanus, raise your head upon your waves, and urge the chariot over theTyrrhenean sea for a brief while, O Neptune!

    I am confused by the double negative of "non... neque", then.

    I.e. "Don't let the tigers be there, nor, if he should jump from the chariot, let him be ready to steady slipping feet with the walking stick."

    This seems to mean that the author wants Bacchus to fall - "nor let him be ready to steady slipping feet with the walking stick."

    Our rough original was "As long as the tigers do not draw near, nor, if he rushes on (from ?) the chariot, he be (?) ready with the walking-stick to steady his feet when they slip."

    Okay. There is no sense of "drawing near" with adsum.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Your translation didn't seem to me to convey the idea clearly. Maybe it's just me.
    I'm not sure what the link between this passage and the translation of the octavo loco phrase is. But anyway, your choices are ultimately yours, of course, even if I make suggestions.
    That's what it's saying.
    Last edited by Pacifica, Mar 22, 2019
  5. Yes, and thank you very much. I just want my choices to be grammatically, syntactically, and semantically, correct! I trust your judgment is exponentially better than mine, so if you say it is not clear, I pay attention.

    The opening of Neptune is just to illustrate how Marziano creates a dramatic picture. I thought a more dynamic translation was appropriate to introduce Bacchus, as well.

    Marziano sometimes gives reasons for his placement of the god in question, for instance Mercury is 9 (of 16), because he is the mediator of the gods, and 9 is the fairly middle placement.

    Indeed it is. It just seems counterintuitive to me, which makes me think I'm not understanding something. But the literal meaning must come first, and perhaps later I will discover the justification for it.
    Last edited by Ross Caldwell, Mar 22, 2019
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I'm not sure what the point is, either. Maybe the author is writing as if he were afraid of Bacchus, wishing that Bacchus would be unable (too drunk?) to even walk, and therefore unable to do much harm as well?

    That's the only explanation I can think of right now, but I really don't know.

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