Annales I:7

Symposion

Active Member
I have some problems translating section I:7 of Annales by Tacitus.

"ne edictum quidem, quo patres in curiam vocabat, nisi tribuniciae potestatis praescriptione posuit sub Augusto acceptae".
I would translate the bold text it into English as except by an act which he placed in the position of tribune which he had received during the time of Augustus.

de honoribus parentis consulturum, neque abscedere a corpore, idque unum ex publicis muneribus usurpare.
I would translate that sentence as in accordance with the honorable values of the father, and does not leave the body, and he alone takes upon himself the services of the people.

Causa praecipua ex formidine, ne Germanicus, in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor, habere imperium quam exspectare.
The main reason for the fear was that Germanicus, with the power of so many legions, the enormous help of the allies, and the great encouragement among the people, did not prefer to wait than to be in power.
Why is ne used? It is negative. I would maybe use ut?

Dabat et famae, ut vocatus electusque potius a re publica videretur quam per uxorium ambitum et senili adoptione inrepsisse.
He gave and is known to be seen as called and preferred by the republic chosen rather than flattered by his wife’s writhing and old adopted popularity.
It is weird how this sentence changes subject that quickly and the "Dabat et famae" confuses me.

Postea cognitum est ad introspiciendas etiam procerum voluntates indutam dubitationem: nam verba, vultus in crimen detorquens recondebat.
After knowing that he also wanted to realize the suit on top of uncertainty: for he recognized the words, the accusation twists in a gesture.
The whole grammatical structure is unclear for me.

Could someone please explain the structure of these sentences? Otherwise this section was quite easy to translate.
 

EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
I'm not a native English speaker. Although, in this Paragraph Ti. Iulius Caesar (the adoptive son of Augustus) fears Germanicus (nephew of Augustus, son of Nero Claudius Drusus, loved by the people, the army), but he is the rightful successor of Augustus (who died).


Posuit=proposuit--> subject is Tiberius (previous sentence, because this sentence is an explanation)
edictum--> direct object
acceptae & potestatis are together

Tiberius wouldn't even publish the edict by means of which he called the senators of the "curia", except in virtue of the tribunicial powers he had received at the time of Augustus.

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de honoribus parentis consulturum (here there is an ESSE you don't see), neque abscedere a corpore, idque unum ex publicis muneribus usurpare.

fuere= fuerunt (in the previous sentence you deleted, which says: the words of the edicts were few and very "humble" (prae- modesto= premodesto))

consulturum, abscedere, usurpare are infinitives constructions that explain the meaning of the previous sentence. Although there's no direct object.

I think you didn't correctly translate the second sentence. "De honoribus parentis" actually refers to the exequies after the father's death or the "funeral". Where did you take this translation?
 

EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
Ok. I think they are not bad but the sense of this sentence:

[Verba edicti fuere pauca et sensu permodesto]: de honoribus parentis consulturum, neque abscedere a corpore, idque unum ex publicis muneribus usurpare.
is, IMHO:
[the words of the edict where few and with a very humble meaning]: that he conferred regarding the exequies of his parent, that he wouldn't depart the body, that this were the only rights/faculties he arrogated to himself from the public office (he held).
If there is a better translation, I hope someone on the forum will step in, and rescue me ;)

In the following Tacitus explains the reason of this irresoluteness:
First, I answer to Why is ne used? It is negative. I would maybe use ut?

This is a standard construction under disguise: it's ne + verba timendi
Just, here there's no "verba timendi", but the sense of it is kinda surreptitious, it's as if "Causa praecipua ex formidine erat ne Germanicus" can be read as "Tiberius timebat". You translated very good this first part of the sentence, I think. I wouldn't change a comma.
ut+ verba timendi has basically (but this is not entirely correct) the opposite meaning. Actually the meaning isn't truly opposite, because there are some caveat to take into consideration. However, "ut" does not fit in here, it would alter the meaning of the clause.
So:

Causa praecipua ex formidine (here there is another ERAT you don't see), ne Germanicus, (relative clause) in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor (here there is another ERAT you don't see), mallet (concealed word!) habere imperium quam exspectare .

The main reason for the fear was that (=ne in the construction) Germanicus (*) would rather (mallet) occupy the empire (habere imperium) than wait (quam expectare).

(*)
relative clause here: in whose hand there were a lot of legions, immense allies' helps, an unbelievable "popularity" among the people
 
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EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
This is another reason for the fear:
And this is difficult. I add a little bit of colour, to make it more fun:

Dabat et famae, ut vocatus (ESSE) electusque potius a re publica videretur quam (VOCATUS ESSE) per uxorium ambitum et senili adoptione inrepsisse.

Dabat et famae= he wanted to give to the "public opinion" too (too=et), he wanted to make the publick believe that...

ut goes with videretur

there is the personal construction of videretur= nominative + accusative
Long story short:
He wanted to give to the "public opinion" THAT (ut) he would seem/ show as (videretur) called and elected by the publick (re publica) rather than (quam) by means of the wifes' family ties (uxorium ambitum) and his being adopted by an old man* (senili adoptione inrepsisse).

*Tiberio was adopted by Augustus when Augustus was already old.
 
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EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
In here Tacitus gives basically what is his personal take on the matter:

Postea cognitum est ad introspiciendas (gerundive) etiam procerum voluntates inductam (ESSE) dubitationem (=inducere personam, to wear a mask): (coordinate - a kind of polysyndeton here) nam verba (ET- asyndeton) vultus in crimen detorquens (present participle, final meaning) recondebat.

Later on was understood that this uncertainty was asserted (inductam esse dubitationem) in order to survey also the thoughts (ad introspiciendas etiam voluntates) of the eminent men (procerum): and he beared in mind (recondebat) their words and "facial expressions" (vultus) and interpreted them (detorquens= to misinterpret on purpose) as accuses (crimen) (=to read them as accuses).

The meaning "in nuce" (in a nutshell) is that Tiberius was environed with adulators and flatterers, so he wanted to be very attentive to what were the other's purposes, descry them and use them against his concealed opposers.
In fact, he was cuel, but died at 79 thanks to this methods.
 
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Symposion

Active Member
My contemplation regarding "de honoribus parentis consulturum" is that Tacitus use consulturum esse from the verb consulo and not confero. Does the verb consulo have the semantic meaning of conferre?

I checked "verba timendi" and now I think that I understand that construction. I agree with you now that ne is better than ut here. The verb mallet is not concealed but put at the end of the sentence Causa praecipua ex formidine, ne Germanicus, in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor, habere imperium quam exspectare mallet. I did forget it in my text above. Sorry! At the same time I think the word order by Tacitus confused me. I would maybe have had it habere imperium mallet quam exspectare or something. I got confused by the place of the verb that Germanicus wanted to wait rather than to be in power. When the point here is of course that Tiberius did fear that Germanicus wanted to be in power.

I became confused when the subject of Dabat et famae is suddenly again Tiberius. I understood it to refer to Germanicus here. I understand uxorium to be in singular. It was Augustus and not Tiberius that was old at the adoption? I see procerum as an adjective nominative singular neuter modifying here. That confuses me when you wrote "of the eminent men".
 

EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
I realize now my translation isn't that good, the English is quite deficient under many aspects. But I can assure you what I wrote is no fiction. I perused extensively my little faithful book of Roman history here, with this very passage extensively commented:
20210409_220022.jpg

I think the cover must have been chewed by a rat at some point, probably before my grandfather splitted ink all over it (the book was issued in the thirties or so).
But everyone can feel free to step in and amend to my errors per tabulas.

As for the rest:

My contemplation regarding "de honoribus parentis consulturum" is that Tacitus use consulturum esse from the verb consulo and not confero. Does the verb consulo have the semantic meaning of conferre?
In this case I worked under that illusion. What I meant to say is that the funeral was normally a matter of the Res Publica, but here Tiberius wanted to take upon himself this particular task.
I understand uxorium to be in singular
I have to think about it, but I would say it's plural. The wife of Augustus, Livia, interceded with Augustus so that he would adopt her son -Tiberius-. That's for sure.
I am sleeping over this and let you know what I'll come up with in my sleep.

It was Augustus and not Tiberius that was old at the adoption?
Yes, I think so. He was the oldest of the two for sure.

I see procerum as an adjective nominative singular neuter modifying here
Proceres is a noun you find only in its plural form, so this is the genitive plural of proceres.
 

Symposion

Active Member
I did think procerum nominative neuter singular of procerus. The genitive plural of proceres is procerum indeed. It is chiefly found in the plural but not always. I did not think of this word at first. Thanks. :)
 

EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
Tacitus often conceals the "to be" (Esse/erat/est/fuerit) verb. That makes difficult to work out which is the main clause. I think that's the worst thing.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
First, I answer to Why is ne used? It is negative. I would maybe use ut?

This is a standard construction under disguise: it's ne + verba timendi
Just, here there's no "verba timendi", but the sense of it is kinda surreptitious, it's as if "Causa praecipua ex formidine erat ne Germanicus" can be read as "Tiberius timebat". You translated very good this first part of the sentence, I think. I wouldn't change a comma.
ut+ verba timendi has basically (but this is not entirely correct) the opposite meaning. Actually the meaning isn't truly opposite, because there are some caveat to take into consideration. However, "ut" does not fit in here, it would alter the meaning of the clause.
So:

Causa praecipua ex formidine (here there is another ERAT you don't see), ne Germanicus, (relative clause) in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor (here there is another ERAT you don't see), mallet (concealed word!) habere imperium quam exspectare .

The main reason for the fear was that (=ne in the construction) Germanicus (*) would rather (mallet) occupy the empire (habere imperium) than wait (quam expectare).
Could it not also be here that the ne here used is the interjection "indeed"? The main reason for the fear was, indeed that Germanicus, with the power of so many legions, much assistance from allies, and the favor of the populace, would have imperial power rather than wait for it.
 
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EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
Dabat et famae, ut vocatus electusque potius a re publica videretur quam per uxorium ambitum et senili adoptione inrepsisse.
I understand uxorium to be in singular
I still think uxorium is plural. Althought, is that "i" in uxorium that makes me wonder about that because "uxor" has "uxorum" as genitive plural. Honestly I would still stick to my original interpretation, but I recognize there is a little problem.

Sorry. Uxorius is an adjective, and therefore makes. uxorium as accusative singular. Hence, it's singular as you correctly pointed out.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
You are right!
As an interjection, ne is one of the wierdest and most counterintuitive lexemes to be found in all of Latin, for while ne the adverb and ne the conjunction are both negating, ne the interjection is a strongly affirmative particle. It is derived from an entirely different IE root than the adverb/conjunction, and of course, is cognate to the conjuntions enim and nam, and also to the Ancient Greek affirmative adverbs ne and nai (sorry, no Greek keyboard at present), with which it has identical meaning. Though I haven't ever read it so described, I suspect that ne came to be used in Latin as an affirmative interjection, in imitation of the Greek adverbials, but not as an affirmative adverb because of the preexistence of the negating adverbial ne, of the affirmative adverb quidem ("indeed" used adverbially, which is more rational than the subject ne within the context of the Latin lexicon), and of aforementioned enim, but this is simply conjecture. Many Roman writers used to enjoy imitating Greek when they could. Greek poetry, philosophy, drama, mathematics, and "science" having rendered unto the Greek language, a certain lustre among all the ancients. Many of these Greek imitations entered Latin via the early Roman playwrights, who, after all, wrote all of their plays based upon the themes, settings and stylistic devices of Greek drama. Certainly, by the time of Tacitus, many such imitations had entered the Latin lexicon by rote repetition. This type of borrowing from Greek was much to the chagrin of other Roman writers, such "latinocentrists" as Cato the Elder, who (often viewing Greek culture as being decrepit or degraded) hated to witness that, and perhaps to us as well, who are regularly confounded by it.
 
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EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
That's interesting. Anyway, now that you said that I definitely think that here:
Causa praecipua ex formidine, ne Germanicus, in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor, habere imperium quam exspectare.

"ne" means, as you said earlier, "indeed".. There is no verba timendi construction there, as I thought at first.
 
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Symposion

Active Member
Tacitus often conceals the "to be" (Esse/erat/est/fuerit) verb. That makes difficult to work out which is the main clause. I think that's the worst thing.
Tacitus does not write Classical Latin so there are of course differences in how Tacitus use the language compared to for example Cicero. At the same time one could also omit the esse verb in Classical Latin.
 

Symposion

Active Member
This is a standard construction under disguise: it's ne + verba timendi
Just, here there's no "verba timendi", but the sense of it is kinda surreptitious, it's as if "Causa praecipua ex formidine erat ne Germanicus" can be read as "Tiberius timebat". You translated very good this first part of the sentence, I think. I wouldn't change a comma.
ut+ verba timendi has basically (but this is not entirely correct) the opposite meaning. Actually the meaning isn't truly opposite, because there are some caveat to take into consideration. However, "ut" does not fit in here, it would alter the meaning of the clause.
So:

Causa praecipua ex formidine (here there is another ERAT you don't see), ne Germanicus, (relative clause) in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor (here there is another ERAT you don't see), mallet (concealed word!) habere imperium quam exspectare .

The main reason for the fear was that (=ne in the construction) Germanicus (*) would rather (mallet) occupy the empire (habere imperium) than wait (quam expectare).

(*)
relative clause here: in whose hand there were a lot of legions, immense allies' helps, an unbelievable "popularity" among the people
I think that you are correct here regarding ne because now when you mentioned it. Verbs relating to fear (verba timendi) take ne instead of the usual ut. When a statement of intent is associated with an expression of fear or danger, ne are translated "that" and ut or ne non "not." The significance of the conjunctions is due to the fact that the side sentence related to the expression of fear is of the same origin as the wish slate.
 
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Symposion

Active Member
That's interesting. Anyway, now that you said that I definitely think that here:
Causa praecipua ex formidine, ne Germanicus, in cuius manu tot legiones, immensa sociorum auxilia, mirus apud populum favor, habere imperium quam exspectare.

"ne" means, as you said earlier, "indeed".. There is no verba timendi construction there, as I thought at first.
Why? I think your original thought was correct as I mentioned above.
 

EstQuodFulmineIungo

Auditor et Discipulus
Why? I think your original thought was correct as I mentioned above.
I think @Michael Zwingli 's explanation is better:
As an interjection, ne is one of the wierdest and most counterintuitive lexemes to be found in all of Latin, for while ne the adverb and ne the conjunction are both negating, ne the interjection is a strongly affirmative particle. It is derived from an entirely different IE root than the adverb/conjunction, and of course, is cognate to the conjuntions enim and nam, and also to the Ancient Greek affirmative adverbs ne and nai (sorry, no Greek keyboard at present), with which it has identical meaning. Though I haven't ever read it so described, I suspect that ne came to be used in Latin as an affirmative interjection, in imitation of the Greek adverbials, but not as an affirmative adverb because of the preexistence of the negating adverbial ne, of the affirmative adverb quidem ("indeed" used adverbially, which is more rational than the subject ne within the context of the Latin lexicon), and of aforementioned enim, but this is simply conjecture. Many Roman writers used to enjoy imitating Greek when they could. Greek poetry, philosophy, drama, mathematics, and "science" having rendered unto the Greek language, a certain lustre among all the ancients. Many of these Greek imitations entered Latin via the early Roman playwrights, who, after all, wrote all of their plays based upon the themes, settings and stylistic devices of Greek drama. Certainly, by the time of Tacitus, many such imitations had entered the Latin lexicon by rote repetition. This type of borrowing from Greek was much to the chagrin of other Roman writers, such "latinocentrists" as Cato the Elder, who (often viewing Greek culture as being decrepit or degraded) hated to witness that, and perhaps to us as well, who are regularly confounded by it.
I would only add that "nae" is an adverb with a similar meaning.
 
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