Toga perversa

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Ita lucrum faciam et ita bene moriar ut populus per exitum meum iuret, nisi te toga ubique perversa fuero persecutus.

I will make so much money and I will die so well that people will swear by my end, unless I follow you everywhere with a reversed toga/having reversed my toga.

Any idea what toga perversa means? Something similar to the French expression "retourner sa veste", maybe? Sorry, I don't know whether there's an English equivalent to that expression, but literally it's "to reverse one's jacket" and it means more or less "to change party/side/suddenly agree with someone or something you didn't agree with before"... So here on the whole it would mean: unless I change my mind and become your friend. Or maybe "follow you everywhere" is figurative as well and then it would mean "if I start behaving like you in every regards"? For context, he's saying that to a guy he's been insulting.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Apparently magistrates would wear their togas backward when pronouncing a capital sentence. So toga perversa persequor meant "to persecute to the death".
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
So actually he's saying it isn't in his interest to persecute him to the death, that if he does he won't make money and die well? Weird.
 

LVXORD

Civis Illustris
So actually he's saying it isn't in his interest to persecute him to the death, that if he does he won't make money and die well? Weird.
Well it is the Satyricon, at satire is notorious for being tricky to understand for some people. Due to satire's sometimes confusing and disjointed nature, in Australia (at least at my school), it is only done in Grade 10 and above (unless you're in one of the extension classes).
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
If a toga was just a bedsheet, how could anyone tell? Did it have a different color on the inside? :)
 

Acsacal

Civis Illustris
Translation of Philippe Remacle's site :
  • Puissé-je gagner tant d'argent et faire une si belle fin que le peuple bénisse ma mémoire, aussi vrai que je te poursuivrai partout jusqu'à ce que je t'aie fait pendre par le tribunal.
Translation of Éditions des Belles-Lettres
  • Aussi vrai que je ferai de si belles affaires et que j'aurai une si belle mort que lesgens jureront sur mon enterrement, je te courrai après partout pour te faire pendre !
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Translation of Philippe Remacle's site :
  • Puissé-je gagner tant d'argent et faire une si belle fin que le peuple bénisse ma mémoire, aussi vrai que je te poursuivrai partout jusqu'à ce que je t'aie fait pendre par le tribunal.
Translation of Éditions des Belles-Lettres
  • Aussi vrai que je ferai de si belles affaires et que j'aurai une si belle mort que lesgens jureront sur mon enterrement, je te courrai après partout pour te faire pendre !
"Aussi vrai que" is a weird way of translating nisi... I'm a bit confused.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
So actually he's saying it isn't in his interest to persecute him to the death, that if he does he won't make money and die well? Weird.
I'm not sure, actually. If so, there's surely some sort of irony involved, but I can't quite make sense of it.
If a toga was just a bedsheet, how could anyone tell? Did it have a different color on the inside? :)
Dunno. My guess is that it had something to do with the way it was folded.
"Aussi vrai que" is a weird way of translating nisi... I'm a bit confused.
I suppose this translation would make sense if it were ut instead of nisi, making it a solemn assertion or mock oath as opposed to a conditional. Then faciam and moriar would be subjunctives rather than future indicatives: "So may I become filthy rich and die under such favorable circumstances that the common folk will swear by my end, as [long as/on condition that] I persecute you to the bitter end every chance I get."
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yeah, really, I can't see how nisi can convey the idea in the translation either. Nisi = unless/except if... I guess you must be right saying it's some kind of irony. I see no other solution, but I'm still trying to grasp the logic behind that irony...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Definition 3 of nisi: (in strong asseverations, etc.) If it is not true that. I imagine something like: "I will make so much money etc, if it is not true that I will persecute you to the death", the first part being where the irony is: he actually means "it is not true that I will make so much money etc, if it is not true that I will persecute you to the death" (his ita lucrum faciam etc is a little as we would say "how nice!" while actually meaning "how not nice!") and his actual message is that he is convinced that he will persecute him as much as he's convinced that he will make money etc. Hence: Aussi vrai que je ferai de si belles affaires et que j'aurai une si belle mort que les gens jureront sur mon enterrement, je te courrai après partout pour te faire pendre !

I don't know if I've been clear in my explanations, but I think it's clear in my head now!
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Definition 3 of nisi: (in strong asseverations, etc.) If it is not true that. I imagine something like: "I will make so much money etc, if it is not true that I will persecute you to the death", the first part being where the irony is: he actually means "it is not true that I will make so much money etc, if it is not true that I will persecute you to the death" (his ita lucrum faciam etc is a little as we would say "how nice!" while actually meaning "how not nice!") and his actual message is that he is convinced that he will persecute him as much as he's convinced that he will make money etc. Hence: Aussi vrai que je ferai de si belles affaires et que j'aurai une si belle mort que les gens jureront sur mon enterrement, je te courrai après partout pour te faire pendre !

I don't know if I've been clear in my explanations, but I think it's clear in my head now!
So he's being portrayed as a dope who comically says the opposite of what he intended, in your view?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
How I will make money and how I will have a good death if it is not true that I will persecute you to the death!

Well, yes, in the first part he ironically says the contrary of what he means.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
It's plausible. I suspect he was meant to be portrayed as flubbing the riddle that he put forth as a challenge earlier in his rant as well. I've seen a number of differing interpretations given for it by scholars, taking it at face value, none of which were especially convincing.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It's plausible. I suspect he was meant to be portrayed as flubbing the riddle that he put forth as a challenge earlier in his rant as well.
Sorry, I don't really understand what you mean by "flubbing the riddle"... That's my English sorry.
I've seen a number of differing interpretations given for it by scholars, taking it at face value, none of which were especially convincing.
If even scholars are having trouble with it and don't agree, I guess it's just not the easiest passage...
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Sorry, I don't really understand what you mean by "flubbing the riddle"... That's my English sorry.

If even scholars are having trouble with it and don't agree, I guess it's just not the easiest passage...
To flub something is to botch it, screw it up. The riddle comes earlier in the text: 'qui de nobis? longe venio, late venio: solve me.' Have you come across any plausible explanation for it?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Actually I hardly get what that sentence means at all. I've already posted about it (and other things) here. "Who of us (will win)? I come large, I come wide ---> no clue what that means. Solve me = beat me or so? Or let me go?
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
solve me is quite literally "solve me", i.e. "figure out which one I am" (of course, there may be a double-meaning involved as well). It's like those riddles in English that end with "what am I?", but he starts it off with "which of us is it?" implying that there's two things involved, each representing one of them. One needs to understand the riddle to make any sense of it. Undoubtedly the riddle would have been familiar to the majority of Romans, who would easily get the humor, but we're kind of left groping in the dark.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Ok... I see, that's a "devinette"! But that late venio, longe venio, in short, you don't know - and no one knows maybe - what it means... As no one can solve the thing.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Right. And riddle continues with dicam tibi, qui de nobis... "I'll tell you, the one of us who...[etc.]"
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
One last thing, if you've got any idea: if he's supposed to guess who is what, there should be two definitions... That's weird. Unless late venio and longe venio don't go together, there's one of them who late venit, and the other one longe venit...? But can it work with verbs in first pers...? It rather looks like they're only one definition of the same thing.

EDIT: Oh, wait, maybe it's just: which one of us is the one who longe venit and late venit?

Longe venio, late venio, which one of us am I?
 
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