Fragmentary Friday, Latin Edition: Pacuvius

Pacuvius, 160-1

Orestes

“But if your qualities are so great, I fear I am unable to equal them
Unless I never hesitate to accomplish whatever good I can.”

At si tanta sunt promerita vestra, aequiperare ut queam
Vereor, nisi numquam fatiscar facere quod quibo boni.

Pacuvius, 179-180

“Although slow in itself, old age has this native trait:
All things seem to it to be accomplished slowly.”

Habet hoc senectus in sese ipsa cum pigra est
Spisse ut videantur omnia ei confieri

Pacuvius, 240, Medus

“If I pause, he urges me forward; if I try to advance, he stops me from going.”

Si resto, pergit ut eam, si ire conor, probibet baetere

Success, Slowness and Reins: Three More Fragments from Pacuvius

Pacuvius, 160-1

Orestes

“But if your qualities are so great, I fear I am unable to equal them
Unless I never hesitate to accomplish whatever good I can.”

At si tanta sunt promerita vestra, aequiperare ut queam
Vereor, nisi numquam fatiscar facere quod quibo boni.

Pacuvius, 179-180

“Although slow in itself, old age has this native trait:
All things seem to it to be accomplished slowly.”

Habet hoc senectus in sese ipsa cum pigra est
Spisse ut videantur omnia ei confieri

Pacuvius, 240, Medus

“If I pause, he urges me forward; if I try to advance, he stops me from going.”

Si resto, pergit ut eam, si ire conor, probibet baetere

What Ails Awake Plagues in Sleep as Well: Accius on Dreams

Accius, Brutus 29-38

“King, it is not at all a surprise that the things men do in life, what they think
Worry over, see, what they do and pursue while awake, should plague each man
While sleeping too. But in this one, the gods present you something quite unexpected.
Be on guard that the many you consider an imbecile just like a sheep
Might actually possess a heart especially safeguarded with wisdom.
He may supplant you in this kingdom: for the sign which comes to you from the sun
Foretells of a great change in the near future for your people.
May these things actually be a good change for the people.
For, since the most powerful sign moved from left to right in the sky,
It has prophesied that the Roman Republic would reign on high.”

Rex, quae in vita usurpant homines, cogitant curant vident
Quaeque agunt vigilantes agitantque ea si cui in somno accidunt
Minus mirum est, sed di in re tanta haut temere inprovisa offerunt.
Proin vide ne quem tu esse hebetem deputes aeque ac pecus
Is sapientia munitum pectus egregie gerat,
Teque regno expellat; nam id quod de sole ostentum est tibi
Populo conmutationem rerum portendit fore
Perpropinquam. Haec bene verruncent populo! Nam quod ad dexteram
Cepit cursum ab laeva signum praepotens, pulcherrume
Auguratum est rem Romanam publicam summam fore

Fragmentary Friday, Latin Edition: Accius’ Achilles

 Achilles Schools Antilochus in Word Choice (Accius, Myrmidons, 452-7)

“Antilochus, this behavior that you declare obstinacy
I call constancy and desire to practice it.
To conquer and to be called constant
Is something I suffer happily; but I do not tolerate being called obstinate.
Constancy qualifies the brave; untrained men are obstinate.
You add the sense of fault and erase what should be praised.”

Tu pertinaciam esse, Antiloche, hanc praedicas,
Ego pervicaciam aio et ea me uti volo;
Nam pervicacem dici me esse et vincere
Perfacile patior, pertinacem nihil moror.
Haec fortis sequitur, illam indocti possident.
Tu addis quod vitio est, demis quod laudi datur.

Accius, Lucius Accius? A Roman tragedian and scholar who was born before the third Punic War and lived through the time of Sulla.

AChillesAjax

“You go first.” “No, YOU go First”…

If the Gods Loved Me, Rome Would Forget Latin: Naevius’ Epitaph (Fragments of Naevius; Gellius 1:24.2)

“If it were right for gods to mourn for mortals
Then the Muses would mourn the poet Naevius.
And when he was brought down to death’s warehouse
Rome would forget how to speak the Latin tongue.”

Immortales mortales si foret fas fiere
Fierent divae Camenae Naevium poetam
Itaque postquamst Orchi traditus thesauro
Obliti sunt Romae loquier lingua latina.

Naevius? A Roman poet who flourished between he first two Punic wars.

The News of War Corrupts our Public Discourse: Ennius, Annales fr. Book viii. 252-8

Ennius, Annales book 8, 262-8

“After [the details of] the battles are well-known
Wisdom is publicly rejected, affairs are pursued with force,
A good speaker is spurned, and the wretched warrior is loved.
Men strive not with educated speeches but instead with insults
attack one another and enter into mutual enmity.
They seize property suddenly not by the right of law but with swords
As they seek sovereignty and wander with the power of the mob.

<proeliis……promulgatis>
Pellitur e medio sapientia, vi geritur res,               263
Spernitur orator bonus, horridus miles amatur.
Haut doctis dictis certantes sed maledictis
Miscent inter sese inimicitiam agitantes.
Non ex iure manu consertum sed magis ferro
Rem repetunt, regnumque petunt, vadunt solida vi.

The Annales of Quintus Ennius are available only in fragmentary form. They told the tale of Roman history in epic form from the story of Romulus and Remus down to his own time period (2nd Century BCE; Ennius served in the Second Punic War). While there are many fragments, only a handful are longer than a line or two.

It is difficult to evaluate from the short lines the quality of Ennius (his reputation is pretty good). From what we have, however, it seems that he was well-versed in the Homeric epics. One thing to note about the style from a Latin perspective, is how short the sense-units are in comparison to those of a later epic poet like Vergil (the slightly earlier Lucretius seems to be closer to Ennius in allowing most of his lines to make sense on their own).

Indeed, the ringing and repetition of the last line above (Rem repetunt, regnumque petunt, vadunt solida vi) seems much more akin to Lucretian style and some oral Greek traditions, perhaps…

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