qui causas orare solent - need help with a sentence from Petronius

kmp

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I'm having difficulty with this sentence from Petronius.

The context is a poem about how dreams reflect the dreamer's daily life - the warrior dreams of battles and so on.

qui causas orare solent, legesque forumque
et pavisdi cernunt inclusim chorte tribunal.


I'm not sure about that word chorte. I take it is a variant form of cohorte (or even just a typo).

Anyway, I get something like this:

Those who usually plead lawsuits, trembling, see the laws and the forum and the tribunal enclosed by the crowd.

Is this anywhere near correct?
 

Pacifica

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qui causas orare solent, legesque forumque
et pavidi cernunt inclusum chorte tribunal.

I'm not sure about that word chorte. I take it is a variant form of cohorte (or even just a typo).
It's a variant. (The full form cohorte wouldn't fit the meter.)
Those who usually plead lawsuits, trembling, see the laws and the forum and the tribunal enclosed by the crowd.

Is this anywhere near correct?
Yes, but I'm not entirely sure about the translation of chorte. It could mean something like armed guards.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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inclusim > inclusum
Your translation is missing the "and" and implies an if-then relationship between two separate clauses whereas it's just a single description. lēgēsque forumque pertains to ōrāre solent, not to cernunt. chōrs is here figurative for a threatening crowd under a single leadership, without implying being armed or anything, certainly not military-type.
 
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Pacifica

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Anbrutal Russicus

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It isn't.
Yeah, it's the same problem - it's joining the wrong thing.
I don't see how.
'Those who plead lawsuits see the laws.'
Nope, they are objects of cernunt. This is what makes sense. You're probably being misled by the poetic word order.
I don't think so: 1) lēgēs cernere alongside forum cernere is a total clash, while lēgēs ōrāre and forum ōrāre are perfectly comprehensible and only a bit of a zeugma; 2) the double -que obviously coordinates lēgēs + forum because it's immediately followed by et - under your interpretation this would be an unparsable agglomeration of conjunctions; 3) et can appear in the second instead of the first position poetically, but only as long as the syntax is clear - therefore it almost always appears in the second position in the line, and injambment (what you're arguing for) is excluded; 4) in the same vein, in our case the end-of-line caesura clarifies the syntax. The syntax is: qui causas legesque forumque orare solent with the last two members right-dislocated after the caesura according to the usual convention.
 
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Pacifica

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This is impossible:
No. It's the only natural interpretation.
'Those who plead lawsuits see the laws.'
I see. But that is the meaning.
This is impossible: 1) lēgēs cernere doesn't make sense
It does, poetically. Cernunt here is more or less equivalent to somniant. They "see" laws in their dreams.
the double -que obviously coordinates lēgēs + forum
Of course. But the et clause is then joined to that as well. Legesque forumque (cernunt), et pavidi cernunt... tribunal.
this would be an unparsable agglomeration of conjunctions
There's nothing unparsable or particularly unusual about having one pair of words joined by -que and then this pair of words being in turn joined to another phrase by et.
3) et can appear in the second instead of the first position poetically, but only as long as the syntax is clear -
Et isn't even in second position here.
The syntax is: qui causas legesque forumque orare solent with the last two members right-dislocated after the caesura according to the usual convention.
Nope, sorry; the meaning is "those who are accustomed to pleading cases see (= dream about) laws and the forum and they see (still in their dreams), trembling, the tribunal...".

That is just how it naturally reads, and I maintain that you are getting confused because of the poetic word order, perhaps because you somewhat lack experience in reading Latin poetry (not saying you have no experience at all, but perhaps you aren't quite a "fluent" reader in the genre).

Perhaps we can go and check some translations, to see how other translators took it. I doubt that will bring any surprise for me, but it might for you.
 
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Anbrutal Russicus

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It does, poetically. Cernunt here is more or less equivalent to somniant. They "see" laws in their dreams.
...
Nope, sorry; the meaning is "those who are accustomed to pleading cases see (= dream about) laws and the forum and they see (still in their dreams), trembling, the tribunal...".
Yes, looking at the whole thing and the context it's obvious that this is the meaning. Looking at just the two lines and Forcellini lēgēs cernere didn't make much sense: the judicial meaning is "to settle on a decision, decide in favour of something" and is thus used with whole clauses - with a concrete noun it seemed to mean "to separate laws". But of course the context here is dreaming where one can "see laws".
Et isn't even in second position here.
It is in the second position of the clause: lēgēsque forumque et tribūnal cernunt, but what is out of position here is the verb, which one would expect to be missing from the second clause, not the first. I was thinking of et being dislocated, as in pavidī et cernunt = et pavidī cernunt.
 

Pacifica

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Anbrutal Russicus

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Not so unusual either way.
I mean that lēgēsque forumque et tribūnal cernunt is the standard single-clause syntax, lēgēsque forumque cernunt et tribūnal is the same with totally normal right-dislocation ("as well as"), but lēgēsque forumque cernunt et cernunt tribūnal is now two separate clauses with ellipsis of the verb from the first clause + verb topicalisation/fronting, is very markedly poetic and would be considered ungrammatical in non-poetic speech or writing. The closest normal equivalent is lēgēsque forumque cernunt, cernunt et tribūnal (notice the position of et the adverb, which excludes reading it as a conjunction).
 

Pacifica

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is very markedly poetic
Indeed, it is. It's not unusual in poetry, but it would be in prose.
and would be considered ungrammatical in non-poetic speech or writing.
I don't know if it would be considered downright ungrammatical, but it would be unusual at least.

It admittedly made the sentence a bit tricky, especially if you didn't know the context—if you'd missed these words in the OP, as I take it you had at first:
The context is a poem about how dreams reflect the dreamer's daily life - the warrior dreams of battles and so on.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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I don't know if it would be considered downright ungrammatical, but it would be unusual at least.

It admittedly made the sentence a bit tricky, especially if you didn't know the context—if you'd missed these words in the OP, as I take it you had at first:
I think the point is that even if I didn't miss the words (I can't tell), reading an explicit description of the context is different from actually reading the context itself. The poem establishes a pattern of "he who does X sees Y", so as soon as one reaches the first predicate (ōrāre solent), a verb for seeing is already filled in by default and all one needs is to know its object, which is immediately given: lēgēsque forumque. In that sense all that follows is an appendix and even cernunt is basically ornamental.

If such context isn't established, the sentence is made quite incomprehensible regardless of one's linguistic competence: if not ungrammatical, then certainly unpragmatical.
 

kmp

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My Latin is poor so I can't make any educated comments about the grammar, but perhaps I can add a few things that can clarify the context.

Firstly, i asked to have my translation checked because I, too, was worried about that que... que... et.

But the text I was working form is from Medieval Latin Lyrics by Helen Waddell and it has a comma after solent - so I thought that leges and forum could not go with orare solent.

I was also concerned by that inclusum chorte tribunal. I wasn't sure of the meaning and I even thought that cohorte might have its other meaning of a yard or enclosure.

The translations I've read are not literal and so not very helpful:

The lawyer sees the judge, the crowded court (Helen Wadell)

the barrister pleads again in nightmare,
sees the twelve tables, the court, the guarded bench. (J P Sullivan)


However, I think Sullivan's suggestion of the Twelve Tables is very good - as they were indeed displayed in the forum and so could be seen awake as well as in dreams.

For those interested, here's the complete poem. It's Petronius fragment XXX.

I think this is a really wonderful poem so I wanted to be sure I understood it correctly.

Somnia, quae mentes ludunt volitantibus umbris,
non delubra deum nec ab aethere numina mittunt,
sed sibi quisque facit. nam cum prostrata sopore
urget membra quies et mens sine pondere ludit,
quidquid luce fuit tenebris agit. oppida bello
qui quatit et flammis miserandas eruit urbes,
tela videt versasque acies et funera regum
atque exundantes profuso sanguine campos.
qui causas orare solent, legesque forumque
et pavidi cernunt inclusum chorte tribunal.
condit avarus opes defossumque invenit aurum.
venator saltus canibus quatit. eripit undis
aut premit eversam periturus navita puppem.
scribit amatori meretrix, dat adultera munus:
et canis in somnis leporis vestigia lustrat.
in noctis spatium miserorum vulnera durant.



One final point: taking up the suggestion from J P Sullivan of "the guarded bench", would "the tribunal ringed by guards" be an acceptable poetic English translation of inclusum chorte tribunal?

Thanks for all your help.
 
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kmp

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Just to clarify - the Twelve Tables had the laws written on them (in bronze) and were displayed for all to see in the forum. So the dreamer can actually see the laws written down in front of him at the forum. This fits beautifully with legesque forumque cernunt
 

kmp

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Oops - sorry for the typo -

It's Somnia of course (not omnia) in the first line. I must learn to proofread!
 

Bestiola

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and you can take out that comma after ludunt :)
Done :p

Btw, dunno if it matters to you, but there also exists another variant, with "pavidO" and then combined with "corde" instead of chorte.

Qui causas orare solent, legesque forumque,
Et pavido cernunt inclusum corde tribunal.

 

kmp

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That's interesting. Thanks. They see with trembling heart the laws, the forum, and the enclosed/blocked/confined tribunal. Doesn't seem as good to me, though.
 

kmp

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Bestiola - can you also change flammas to flammis in the poem. Thanks. Apologies for my shoddy typing.
 
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