Monday, 23 July 2012

Phaedrus I.1 The lamb and the wolf.

The nice thing about fables is, is that they are short, have a point and are relatively easy. You may think of fables as children’s stories because the roles are played by animals. This is true for modern times, but the Hitopadesha and the Panchatantra, the Indian cycle of fables composed in Sanskrit at least a couple of centuries BC, were certainly not. Fables serve to bring points of conduct and warnings forward readely applicable to everyone’s life. Most famous in the West are those by Aesop (620 – 584 BC). His fables gained wide popularity and were translated and adapted by the Roman poet Phaedrus (15 BC- 50 AD), In all honesty, he was not the most gifted poet, but it is all we have.
A point of interest is, is that both Aesop and Phaedrus started their carreer as slaves. Could it be that people in such a position must have a greater feeling for human conduct in order to survive, than their masters?

I. Lupus et Agnus
Ad rivum eundem lupus et agnus venerant,
siti compulsi. Superior stabat lupus,
longeque inferior agnus. Tunc fauce improba
latro incitatus iurgii causam intulit;
'Cur' inquit 'turbulentam fecisti mihi
aquam bibenti?' Laniger contra timens
'Qui possum, quaeso, facere quod quereris, lupe?
A te decurrit ad meos haustus liquor'.
Repulsus ille veritatis viribus
'Ante hos sex menses male' ait 'dixisti mihi'.
Respondit agnus 'Equidem natus non eram'.
'Pater hercle tuus' ille inquit 'male dixit mihi';
atque ita correptum lacerat iniusta nece.
Haec propter illos scripta est homines fabula
qui fictis causis innocentes opprimunt.

rivus, I small stream
sitis, f. thirst.
superior  note that Latin can use an adjective where we use an adverb. So not  `the superior wolf’ but `the wolf was standing….’
inferior can’t be a problem now
fauce improba with wicked throat (fauces, f.)
latro –onis, m brigand
incitatus stirred up
iurgium strife, quarrel
incitatus iurgii causam stirred up a cause for strife                                          
inferre bring forward
turbulentus restless, turbulent
mihi goes with bibenti
laniger `wool-bearer’
qui   not the relativum, but quī with long i `how’(the Romans made no distinction in writing between long and short vowels, but in dictionaries you will find sometimes these strokes in order to distinguish between various homonyms and to guide in pronounciation.)
quaeso I pray, `please’ (only this form  and quaesumus)
queror questus sum complain
haurio hausi haustum draw out water
repello reppulli repulsum thrust back
veritatis viribus by the power of thruth
male dico + dative : speak bad about someone
equidem even
corripio ripui reptum seize
correptum, supply `agnum’
lacero -avi -atum tear to pieces 
nex necis, f death
fictis causis by made up reasons
Haec propter illos scripta est homines fabula, in English word order: haec fabula scripta est propter illos homines

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