Tacitus, Annales I.1: Urbem Romam a principio reges habuere

Decimvs

Aedilis
Staff member
Urbem Romam a principio reges habuere; libertatem et consulatum L.Brutus instituit. dictaturae ad tempus sumebantur; neque decemviralis potestas ultra biennium, neque tribunorum militum consulare ius diu valuit. non Cinnae, non Sullae longa dominatio: et Pompei Crassique potentia cito in Caesarem, Lepidi atque Antonii arma in Augustum cessere, qui cuncta discordiis civilibus fessa nomine principis sub imperium accepit.

I am having trouble mainly with the last relative clause; qui cuncta discordiis civilibus fessa nomine principis sub imperium accepit.

My total translation thus far:

Kings held the Roman city from the beginning; L. Junius Brutus established freedom and the consulship. Dictatorships were taken on in emergencies; neither Decemviral power nor the rightful power of the commanders of the soldiers was valid for long beyond two years. Long dominion was not to (dative of possessor) Sulla (and) not to Cinna: Also, the legitimate power of Pompey and Crassus was quickly (yielded? is a form of cedo, cedere, cessi, cassus implied here?) onto Caesar, the arms of Lepidus and Antony were conceded to Augustus, .......

I cannot figure out the grammar of that last clause. "He received all things having been worn out by means of civil hostilities into his power with the name of Princeps?" Am I right there, or am I missing something?
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Re: Tacitus, Annales I.1

This really is tricky. All I can tell you is that cessere is an alternative form of cesserunt, which you translated correctly as 'they yielded/conceded.' It seems strange to me that sub isn't followed here by an ablative; I would expect 'sub imperio,' but maybe it's misplaced as often happens in poetry, but this is prose! Let's wait for others to respond.
 

Cato

Consularis
Re: Tacitus, Annales I.1

I had a professor who once said "Tacitus is the ultimate test" for Latin readers. He leaves so much for the reader to fill-in and goes out of his way to avoid reader-friendly grammatical structures like parallelism (note this small example in the text: The mismatch between Pompei Crassique potentia and Lepidi atque Antonii arma).

Qui cuncta discordiis civilibus fessa nomine principis sub imperium accepit. - "who, with the title Princeps, subjected a world worn out with civil discord to empire."

Sub imperium works something like the common phrase sub manum - "at hand"; imperium here is literally "empire", a term more in vogue in Tacitus' time than Augustus'. Cuncta is literally "all (things)", but IMO is better translated as "the world". Also, since things cannot technically be fessa, you need a term that is more easily "personifiable" (if that's a word).

That last point is a good example of how the poetical language seen in Virgil came more and more into the prose of the Silver age; it's no accident, for example, that Tacitus' opening line Urbem Romam a principio reges habuere is a dactylic hexameter (not a great one, but still).
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Re: Tacitus, Annales I.1

I think now I understand why sub here is followed by the accusative, since it implies motion, right? He subjected all things into the empire, not the same as simply having something in or under, which normally take the ablative and implies rest. I guess this is one of those prepositions that can take either case, depending on context. Am I correct on this?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I think it's because discordiis civilibus is nothing like an ablative absolute, so the mistake of thinking it was one seemed funny.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Oh, I see he's laughed at your last post, too. I hadn't seen. Well, I guess he just didn't believe your statement.
 

rothbard

Aedilis
Staff member
You laughed at the last post.
Because you claimed to have been proven right when you had in fact been wrong. Earlier I laughed because you had just resurrected a thread from 12 years ago to ask such a question. If you were really interested in learning Latin, then I would advise you to focus on the basics first, before attempting one of the most difficult authors.
 

Symposion

Active Member
If you were really interested in learning Latin, then I would advise you to focus on the basics first, before attempting one of the most difficult authors.
I have not memorized the grammar because my goal is to be able to read Latin and not to analyze the language linguistically. I have already reas Cicero, Caesar and Vergilius. Now I am reading Tacitus. I think Vergilius was the most difficult of these.
 

EstQuodFulmineIungo

Civis Illustris
I have not memorized the grammar because my goal is to be able to read Latin and not to analyze the language linguistically. I have already reas Cicero, Caesar and Vergilius. Now I am reading Tacitus. I think Vergilius was the most difficult of these.
Well, this is "a bit" difficult to achieve, don't you think? There is no teacher in his right mind that would suggest to read the "auctores" before you had a grammar basis. However... tractent fabrilia fabri.
 
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