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

Anbrutal Russicus

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So about the armed guards, I didn't think it was possible because armed troops were prohibited in Rome, but what chōrs is referring to here must surely be cohors urbāna, the Roman paramilitary police force (though boyscouts by American standards) established by Augustus as the gang to end all gangs. The corde-emendation seems wrong.

Lēgēs referring to the Twelve Tablets is actually a very elegant solution to the problem of joining it with cernere "to make out, catch sight of", a physical action which would sound very awkward with some abstract laws as the object. However - and I didn't end up explicitly saying it - it still (or is it again?) seems to me that cernere belongs to tribūnal alone, while the elided verb in the previous clause is the videt from the preceeding coordinated sentence. This is simply because the supposed ellipsis of the left verb would violate the rightwards linearity of language: I like apples and I like oranges => I like apples and I like oranges ☑ but I like apples and I like oranges ❎. I think the syntax here is as in the English translation: 'Those who destroy cities see wars and bloodshed, while those who plead cases see the forum with its Twelve Tables, and tremble at the sight of the Bench surrounded by guards.'
 

Pacifica

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This is simply because the supposed ellipsis of the left verb would violate the rightwards linearity of language:
Such infringement of linearity happens in Latin, and especially often in poetry.

I suppose it's slightly ambiguous whether vident or cernunt is implied with legesque forumque, but personally I think it's more likely cernunt. Either way the sense is essentially the same. I've looked at the whole poem now and each part has its own verb(s); if vident were implied here this would make it the only part where a verb from an earlier part was implied, and it seems unnecessary to assume this since there's the synonymous cernunt in that part itself, which can easily apply to all its objects.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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Such infringement of linearity happens in Latin, and especially often in poetry.
This is not my experience - that is to say, I don't believe the things that normally happen in Latin poetry are infringements of linearity, and for this reason they don't generally bother me (let's forget about medieval Latin poetry for a minute xD). There's a lot of syntactic movement which is formally explicable and perfectly intelligible. We're looking at reverse ellipsis here which is what I think violates basic principles of linearity. You can move a constituent but you cannot imply a repetition of something that follows, you cannot expect the reader to recall what you're only about to say. I should have really said 'unidirectionality of time' and not 'linearity of language'.

Here's another argument against this parsing: pavidī cernunt tribūnal - it's obvious why someone would tremble before a public display of judiciary might, but pavidī cernunt lēgēsque forumque? This is incoherent because laws and public squares aren't terrifying for neurotypical people :changeshape:
 
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Pacifica

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I mean, the specific pattern under discussion here, "object / (implied verb) / conjunction / verb / object"—which I guess is what you call "reverse ellipsis"—isn't exceptional in Latin poetry.
 

Pacifica

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And even in prose, you definitely can "imply a word that follows". That happens literally all the time. It's just that there, the pattern would more usually be "object / (implied verb) / conjunction / object / verb".

Of course the reader can't "remember" the word that hasn't been said yet. They'll just be waiting for it.
 

Pacifica

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Here's another argument against this parsing: pavidī cernunt tribūnal - it's understandable why would tremble at that, but pavidī cernunt lēgēsque forumque? This is incoherent because laws and public squares aren't terrifying for most people.
I think you're right that pavidi belongs only to the second part. But that doesn't stop cernunt from belonging to both.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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I mean, the specific pattern under discussion here, "object / (implied verb) / conjunction / verb / object"—which I guess is what you call "reverse ellipsis"—isn't exceptional in Latin poetry.
Then I would appreciate some further explamples of this, if it's not too much trouble.
 

Pacifica

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Here's one that comes to mind:



te vidit insons Cerberus aureo
cornu decorum leniter atterens
caudam et recedentis trilingui
ore pedes tetigitque crura.


In a more prosaic order, that would be recedentis pedes cruraque trilingi ore tetigit.

 

Anbrutal Russicus

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Thank you, but this I had no trouble with when reading the poem for the first time. At first sight I'd say it's an adventurous elaboration on the same movement involving a non-clitic et: pedēs tetigit et crūra. The latter looks outright ordinary, the same phenomenon as that which I referred to earlier as "totally normal right-dislocation". What is unusual here is that that the movement involves the clitic -que which paradoxically stays in its place even as it normally forms one phonological word with the noun being moved. I have an intuition though that here it's the verb that's actually being dislocated - to the left - because of the different intonation involved: there's no intonational break usually involved with with right-dislocation and appearing before et.

So again, I have no trouble with movement of an object across et inside the clause - what I'm having trouble with here is two separate clauses with two separate objects, with the verb being elided from the first clause. And notice the secondary predicate pavidī serving as the subject complement of one clause but not the other (as you also agree), which definitely excludes the possibility of this being just one clause.
 
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Agrippa

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... pavidi belongs only to the second part. But that doesn't stop cernunt from belonging to both.
In eadem tecum sum sententia. Quid mirum, si nunc spero etiam pertinacem sententiae suae defensorem adduci posse ut se victum esse fateatur? Ad exitum venit quaestio.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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senex Agrippa triumphum ōlim parāverat
et rem dūcēbat hīs verbīs ad exitum:
"ut ego istum vīcī pertinācem, quantum praestitī
doctrīnā et intellēctū et magnīs vīribus;
quam longiōre ego fēlīx gaudeō gradū!"
dē infante haec dīxit quī ambulāre coeperat.
amīcē faciēs proelia agēns aliō locō.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

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Btw, dunno if it matters to you, but there also exists another variant, with "pavidO" and then combined with "corde" instead of chorte.
When I just read this -- for the first time -- that's what I wanted it to be. Though lectio difficilior potior would suggest the text is right.

As for the other question, Pacifica's interpretation seems more natural.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

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At this point I think the secondary predicate pavidī is the key to why the proposed interpretation seems impossible. It forms one meaning with the verb to give pavidī cernunt "trembling they see > they tremble at the sight". Therefore we can approximate the syntax of the Latin construction in question as follows: 'he happily saw Ann as well as John'. Clearly it's impossible to understand this sentence as meaning "he was happy to see Ann, and he also saw John" - the entire logical predicate must be the same for both clauses to even consider the possibility that this is what has been elided. Such an interpretation is even less possible when we're actually holding the correct verb in mind from the previous sentence, while the line break indicates a corresponding intonational break indicating the end of the previous clause and the unity of the entire line.

It may appear that the difference is down to the use of an adverb in English (happily) while the Latin has a secondary predicate (pavidī) - indeed, 'to Ann and, trembling, to John he lent a hand' does look like the man first lent a hand to Ann, and then, trembling, helped John as well. But this is because 'trembling' in English is extraclausal while it's integrated into the clause in Latin: laetus succurrit = "he happily helped", not "[because he was] happy, he helped" or "he offered help [at a moment when he was] happy", nor "happily, he did help". This is precisely the reason why Latin adjectival subject complements are translated into English using adverbs, which are integrated into the clause and thus form a single meaning that cannot be separated. In other words laetus succurrit = "he was happy to help"; pavidī cernunt = "they tremble at the sight".
 
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