A few Latin pangrams


New Member

Salvete omnes!

I’ve been attempting to practice Roman calligraphy lately (early uncial in particular), and to that end I started compiling abecederian phrases in Latin. They’ve come in really handy for my writing exercices, but when it comes to translating them, well… they’re much more challenging. Full disclosure: my Latin is nowhere near as good as it ought to be, because I’ve been completely out of practice for years. Therefore, I need your help! Lengthy post incoming.

1) Gaza frequens Libycum duxit Karthago triumphum.
Many years ago, some started a thread (http://latindiscussion.com/forum/threads/lazy-brown-dog.5763/#post-26788) about a Latin pangram that allegedly dated to the nineteenth century, and whose text was given as Gazifrequens Libycos duxit Karthago triumphos.

I managed to track that phrase down and realized that it appears as a handwriting example in Pedro Madariaga's Libro subtilíssimo intitulado Honra de escrivanos de Pedro Madariaga, a Spanish calligraphy book from the sixteenth century (1565, to be exact). Also, the text given in the aforementiond thread appears to have been deformed. In the Libro, it’s actually given as Gaza frequens Libycum duxit Karthago triumphum.

Now, how do we translate that exactly? This fine gentleman here (http://thecampvs.com/2009/03/16/latin-hexameter-pangrams/ ) says that we should read Libycum as a poetic genitive plural (for Libyc(or)um), and that there’s an omitted copula. Therefore, the reconstructed sentence would be: Gaza frequens Libycorum est: duxit Karthago triumphum, which he translates as "The treasury of the Libyans is full: Carthage has led a triumphal procession."

That seems about right to me, but I have a doubt. When it means "full," can actually frequens be used alone, or does it require a complement?

2) Sic fugiens, dux, zelotypos quam Karus haberis.
Source: Poetae Latin Minores (author uncertain)

This one is more of a headscratcher. I’ve seen it translated online, as "Thus fleeing, o leader, you are regarded with jealousy like Karus." But that seems a bit off, doesn’t it? My theory is that there’s a tam omitted somewhere, and it should in fact be understood as Sic fugiens, dux, haberis (tam) zelotypos quam Karus (haberit), ie. "Thus fleeing, o leader, you are considered (just as) jealous as Karus (is)"?

3) Te canit adcelebratque polus rex gazifer hymnis.
Source: Cod. Sang. 913

I found this one via Marc Drogin’s Medieval Calligraphy, translated as "The Hymn, oh treasure-bearing king, sings of you, and the (north?) pole also honors you." Does that actually work, grammatically speaking? Can you actually ascribe canit and adcelebrat to two distinct subjects in the same sentence? (In all fairness, Drogin does say that, because abecedarian sentences were usually nonsense phrases, the examples he gives are very loosely translated.)

4) Trans zephyrique globum scandunt tua facta per axem.
Source: Cod. Sang. 913

Same source and same comment as before. Translation given: "Your achievements rise across the earth and throughout the region of the zephyr." Does this sound all right to you fine people?

5) Duc, Zephyre exurgens, currum cum flatibus æquor.
Source: Iter Poëticum

My first attempt at translating this was: "As you rise, o Zephyr, lead my ship with the winds and the calm sea." But of course it’s all wrong, because æquor seems to be in the nominative, which I can’t make sense of. I guess that, for my translation to be true, it should’ve been et æquore. Any ideas about this one?

6) Vix phlegeton zephiri, quaeres modo flabra Mycillo.
Source: Scaliger(?)

Now this one is truly baffling, and I’m willing to believe it truly is a nonsense, agrammatical sentence. According to a nineteenth-century German book, it was created by the French scholar Scaliger (and therefore in the late 16th to early 17th century). The same German books translates it in French as « Qui, flamboyant, guida Zéphire sur ses eaux » (litterally: "Who, flaming, led Zephire on his waters."), and I don’t need to tell you that it sounds all kinds of wrong. I’ve made several attempts at translating this one myself, but nothing seems to make sense.