Confutatis maledictis

gabiteodoru

New Member
This appears in the old requiem mass. The complete stanza is
Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.
Wikipedia gives two translations (literal and poetical):

Once the cursed have been rebuked,
sentenced to acrid flames:
Call thou me with the blessed.
While the wicked are confounded,
doomed to flames of woe unbounded
call me with thy saints surrounded.
Now, I myself don't know much latin, but after playing a bit with Google Translate, I noticed that perhaps the order of the two words (confutatis maledictis) doesn't matter?

So my question is this: What OTHER ways (if any) could "confutatis maledictis" be translated? Could it also be translated as "the ones that remained silent have been cursed?"

Thanks!
 

Imprecator

Civis Illustris
I'd render this as, "once the evil men have been rebuked, condemned to the fierce flames, call me with the blessed."

Latin word order merely shifts the emphasis, with no grammatical impact, and consequently reversing the order of confutatis maledictis would have no effect on the meaning. There aren't any ambiguities here unless you were to add an extra "u" to confutatis, in which case the passage would take on an amusing meaning :)
 

Decimus Canus

Civis Illustris
gabiteodoru dixit:
So my question is this: What OTHER ways (if any) could "confutatis maledictis" be translated? Could it also be translated as "the ones that remained silent have been cursed?"
This construction is an ablative absolute. These are usually phrased quite freely in translation as they sound awkward and artificial in English though they work very well of course in Latin. Confutatis is a form of the verb confutare meaning to repress, to diminish, to impede, to destroy, to put to silence or, in post-classical Latin, to convict. When I say it's a form of the verb it's actually the ablative plural of the perfect participle passive and it literally means "with those having been repressed" (or "diminished", or "impeded" and so on).

So confutatis maledictis could be translated literally as "with the ones having been cursed having been put to silence" (but not simply "that remained silent"). You can see how awkward a literal translation is in English and it should be apparent why it is rephrased and why perfectly good English translations can differ quite widely in detail. The first of the two translations you quoted is accurate, the second, by William Irons, is much freer for obvious poetical reasons.
 

deudeditus

Civis Illustris
Imprecator dixit:
There aren't any ambiguities here unless you were to add an extra "u" to confutatis, in which case the passage would take on an amusing meaning :)
haha win
 

gabiteodoru

New Member
Decimus Canus dixit:
So confutatis maledictis could be translated literally as "with the ones having been cursed having been put to silence"
So does that mean you could also translate cofutatis maledictis as "with the ones having been put to silence having been cursed"? (from your message it seems to me that maledictis confutatis would be translated to that, but if word order doesn't affect meaning, as Imprecator mentioned, then confutatis maledictis should be translatable to both phrases ... ?)
 

Decimus Canus

Civis Illustris
Yes, grammatically you could translate it either way; the context is the reason it has to be one way round rather than the other. We are damned as a result of our actions, and the consequences follow from being damned. From our knowledge of Christian theology it only makes sense one way round in English where the word order carries more significance.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
There's no need to resort to the context of Christian theology, really. Although maledictus,-a,-um is technically the perfect participle of the verb maledico, it is also frequently used as simple adjective (or substantive adjective) without any verbal force whatsoever. The same is not true for confutatus,-a.-um.
 
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