When the ship is sinking, the rats jump off..

Puer Pedens

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Cum navis mersura est, mures saliunt, is it ok?
Nave mersura, saliunt mures.
Nave mergente, saliunt mures.
 
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syntaxianus

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I think along the lines of

ex nave fracta desiliunt [primum] mures.

= From a sinking ("broken") ship, the rats jump [first].

Mergere is active transitive: to sink [something else]. There is a technical term for a sunken ship: navis depressa. But a sinking ship is not yet sunk. It is wrecked (naufragium).
 
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kmp

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So is there no verb in Latin that can be used intransitively for "to sink"? What about the passive of summergere? Or demergere?
 

syntaxianus

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The passive can be used.

Stellarum iste discursus quicquid praeterit repetit; 12 pars caeli levatur assidue, pars mergitur.

The wandering stars retrace their former courses ; a part of the sky is rising unceasingly, and a part is sinking. Seneca EPISTLE XXXVI. (Loeb)
 

syntaxianus

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There is no present passive participle...so those previous suggestions are out of play except in a clause where a passive voice is used. But I see that you might say

navi abeunti pessum [in altum] = with the ship sinking [into the deep]

abeunti : abl sg present participle from abeo. For navi rather than nave, see L&S. Both forms occur.

See L&S:

pessum

I. to the ground, to the bottom, down (mostly ante-class. and post Aug.; esp. freq. in the connection pessum ire and pessum dare).

I. Lit. : nunc eam (cistellulam) cum navi scilicet abisse pessum in altum, Plaut. Rud. 2, 3, 64: quando abiit rete pessum, id. Truc. 1, 1, 15; and: ne pessum abeat (ratis), id. Aul. 4, 1, 12: multae per mare pessum Subsedere urbes, have gone to the bottom, been swallowed up Lucr. 6, 589: ubi dulcem caseum demiseris in eam (muriam), si pessum ibit, etc. (opp. si innatabit), goes to the bottomsinks Col. 12, 6, 2 (cf. also the fig. taken from a ship, in II.): ut (lacus) folia non innatantia ferat, sed pessum et penitus accipiat, Mel. 3, 9, 2: sidentia pessum Corpora caesa tenent, Luc. 3, 674: quam celsa cacumina pessum Tellus victa dedit, sent to the bottom id. 5, 616: pessum mergere pedes, Prud. praef. ap. Symm. 2, 36.—
 
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Callaina

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Might sido work? It's often used of e.g. heavenly bodies as they sink. I'm not sure I've ever seen it used of a ship, but anyway:

Nave sidente, desiliunt mures.

I would prefer desilio over the simple salio because the latter sounds to me like the rats start jumping around, like leaping on the spot.
 

Callaina

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Might sido work? It's often used of e.g. heavenly bodies as they sink. I'm not sure I've ever seen it used of a ship, but anyway:

Nave sidente, desiliunt mures.

I would prefer desilio over the simple salio because the latter sounds to me like the rats start jumping around, like leaping on the spot.
Another idea might be to use the gnomic perfect (thoughts on this, @Pacifica ?)

Cum navis sideret, desiluerunt mures. ("When the ship was sinking, the rats leapt off.")
 

Callaina

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Another idea might be to use the gnomic perfect (thoughts on this, @Pacifica ?)

Cum navis sideret, desiluerunt mures. ("When the ship was sinking, the rats leapt off.")
Or actually, one could use the ablative absolute here as well, which I think is my favorite:

Nave sidente, desiluerunt mures.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima

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In any case I like it better with the ablative absolute. Maybe I'm wrong but I feel like the cum clause together with the perfect tense makes it sound too much like a narration of past events rather than a general statement. As for present vs. gnomic perfect, I personally would have used the former, maybe because it's more usual, but the latter works too.
 

syntaxianus

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To Callaina's interesting suggestion of sido: there is the problem of one of its technical connotations:

sido
[...]
2. Naut. t. t., of a vessel, to stick fast on shallows: veniat mea litore navis Servata, an mediis sidat onusta vadis, Prop. 3, 14 (3, 6), 30; cf.: ubi eae (cymbae) siderent, Liv. 26, 45; Quint. 12, 10, 37; Tac. A. 1, 70; 2, 6; Nep. Chabr. 4, 2.—​
 

Matthaeus

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Sido is actually pretty cool.

 

Matthaeus

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Seems ok to me.
 
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