discussaque moenia flammis

Serenus

legātus armisonus
From @Ybytyruna 's signature:

Primus in orbe deos fecit timor: ardua caelo
Fulmina quum caderent, diſcuſſaque moenia flammis,
Atque ictus flagraret Athos
Is discussaque moenia flammis here omitting a sint, or is it one of those Late Latin accusative absolutives? Maybe it could be understood to be either way?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I would take it as nominative as the subject of an implied flagrarent.

Sint would be ungrammatical, BTW.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Or I suppose it could be a subject of caderent.
 

Serenus

legātus armisonus
I would take it as nominative as the subject of an implied flagrarent.
I thought against that possibility because of style (flagrarent flammis sounds too redundant), but this is not a strong argument against it.

Sint would be ungrammatical, BTW.
I was thinking about it as three clauses under quum, as if ardua caelō fulmina was three fronted words, so that discussa sint (with moenia as the subject) would coordinate with caderent and flagrāret. Something like, literally in English:

"First, fear made the gods in the world, when ardua thunderbolts fell from the sky, and the walls were shattered in flames, and struck Athos burned."

(I suspect arduus could be understood in various ways here... more on that later maybe.)
Or I suppose it could be a subject of caderent.
That's not something I had considered... Do you mean to say that fulmina and moenia could be sharing the verb caderent? I'm not sure how to understand what you mean.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I was thinking about it as three clauses under quum, as if ardua caelō fulmina was three fronted words, so that discussa sint (with moenia as the subject) would coordinate with caderent and flagrāret.
It would be ungrammatical because the tense of sint doesn't match the rest. It breaks the sequence of tenses.
Do you mean to say that fulmina and moenia could be sharing the verb caderent?
Yes.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
is it one of those Late Latin accusative absolutives?
By the way, the -que wouldn't work if the phrase were an absolute.
It would be ungrammatical because the tense of sint doesn't match the rest. It breaks the sequence of tenses.
To be more exact: a subjunctive cum clause depending on a past-tense verb must take the secondary sequence (i.e. imperfect subjunctive for a simultaneous event and pluperfect subjunctive for a previous event). The perfect subjunctive belongs to the primary sequence, and doesn't fit after a past-tense main verb.
 

Serenus

legātus armisonus
It would be ungrammatical because the tense of sint doesn't match the rest. It breaks the sequence of tenses.
Ah, I see. Perfect subjunctive discussa sint versus two imperfect subjunctives, yes.

By the way, the -que wouldn't work if the phrase were an absolute.
Oh! I imagine you say that because there's an atque afterwards anyway...

I think your interpretation with a shared caderent is great.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Ah, I see. Perfect subjunctive discussa sint versus two imperfect subjunctives, yes.
Yes, but even if discussa sint were the only phrase after cum, it wouldn't work after the past-tense main verb fecit (see the clarification in my last post).
I imagine you say that because there's an atque afterwards anyway...
Yes. The discussaque phrase can't be linked to the following one by atque and be part of it at the same time. It would be like saying "and with walls shattered in flames and the struck Athos was burning": it doesn't cohere.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Oh! I imagine you say that because there's an atque afterwards anyway...
I don't understand what you mean there.

Yes. The discussaque phrase can't be linked to the following one by atque and be part of it at the same time. It would be like saying "and with walls shattered in flames and the struck Athos was burning": it doesn't cohere.
Oh, now I get it.

I think your interpretation with a shared caderent is great.
I like that one, too ... in that case, I would take flammae to be "lightning", though, rather than flames.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I like that one, too ... in that case, I would take flammae to be "lightning", though, rather than flames.
I would take it as flames caused by lightning. ;)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The discussaque phrase can't be linked to the following one by atque and be part of it at the same time. It would be like saying "and with walls shattered in flames and the struck Athos was burning": it doesn't cohere.
Well, in that case it's rather the atque that doesn't work; and the -que doesn't work (for similar reasons) if you take the discussaque phrase with what precedes.

In either case, there would be one too many "and".
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
There's also an obvious alternative if you want this to be an absolute that doesn't require an accusative ... although I guess that counts as a very weak argument.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
There's also an obvious alternative if you want this to be an absolute that doesn't require an accusative ...
I don't get what you mean.

Anyway, while Petronius puts unclassical constructions in the mouths of some of his characters, the poetry bits are usually classical, so an accusative absolute would be unlikely even if there weren't the -que/atque issue.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Ah, you're talking about rewriting the line rather than interpeting it, lol.
 

Agrippa

Civis Illustris
From @Ybytyruna 's signature:
Is discussaque moenia flammis here omitting a sint, ...
I agree to this explanation except for sint: It’s, as I see it, a poetical ellipsis not of sint but of essent (sequence of tenses):

discussaque <essent> moenia flammis

(i. e. and walls were dashed to pieces by flames [result of lightning-stroke])

People saw the consequences of lightning-strokes: discussa essent moenia / ictus flagraret Athos.
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
An implied essent did come to my mind, and it would be grammatically correct, but , beside the fact that the ellipsis feels a bit harsh, it seems a little weird to have a pluperfect here after the imperfect caderent. Still not impossible, I suppose.
 

Agrippa

Civis Illustris
... the ellipsis feels a bit harsh, it seems a little weird to have a pluperfect here after the imperfect caderent..
I don’t think so, because it’s one of the main principles of ancient poets to counteract the expectation of the reader by using exceptional and often surprising means of expression in order to attract attention.
 

Ybytyruna

New Member
I agree to this explanation except for sint: It’s, as I see it, a poetical ellipsis not of sint but of essent (sequence of tenses):

discussaque <essent> moenia flammis

(i. e. and walls were dashed to pieces by flames [result of lightning-stroke])

People saw the consequences of lightning-strokes: discussa essent moenia / ictus flagraret Athos.
[LAT]
Conſentio tecum. Immo, ſemper hoc modo intellexi. Mea quidem ſententia, "diſcuſſa [eſſent]" addit vim quandam... fulmina cadunt (natura fiebat, fit et fiet), Athos flagrat, ſed perget illic, quia eſt mons; idem tamen dici non poteſt de mœnibus, quæ diſcuſſa ſunt flammis.

[ENG]
I agree with you. This is the exact way I understand it. In my opinion, "diſcuſſa [eſſent]" adds a certain intensity to the poem... thunderbolts fall (by nature it happened, happens and will happen), Athos is in flames, but it will be still there after all, since it's a mountain; the same thing, however, can't be said about the walls, which have been (were?¹) destroyed by the flames.


¹ Melius Latine loquor quam Anglice, ergo ignoſcatis mihi, quæſo, menda mea.
 

Agrippa

Civis Illustris
Agrippa Ybytyrunae sal.
Equidem non modo gaudeo quod in eadem mecum es sententia, sed etiam quod lingua usus es Latina. Cum verba "Primus in orbe deos fecit timor..." legerem, recordatus sum de Lucretio qui Epicurum secutus superstitionem funditus tollendam esse censebat (cf. 1, 62-101). Lucretii de rerum natura libros sex et tibi notos esse puto.
Cura ut valeas.
 
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