Friday, March 18, 2011

Arnobius, Against Nations (Book 1)

Arnobius of Sicca
4th c. CE
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Late Imperial/Early Christian Era)


1.1 Quoniam comperi nonnullos, qui se plurimum sapere suis persuasionibus credunt, insanire, bacchari et velut quiddam promptum ex oraculo dicere:
1 [We have discovered that, in the time before, many men, who believed they knew so much on account of their own arguments--these men go wild, go into frenzies, and speak things as though it were taken from an oracle.]

postquam esse in mundo Christiana gens coepit, terrarum orbem perisse, multiformibus malis affectum esse genus humanum, ipsos etiam caelites, derelictis curis sollemnibus, quibus quondam solebant invisere res nostras, terrarum ab regionibus exterminatos,
2 [Afterward, a Christian people came into the world--the Earth began to perish--and the human race was afflicted by all kinds of evils, even those heavenly souls, whose solemn cares had been ignored--at a time when they used to look upon our affairs--had been killed off from the regions of Earth,]

2. statui pro captu ac mediocritate sermonis contraire invidiae et calumniosas dissolvere criminationes, ne aut illi sibi videantur, popularia dum verba depromunt, magnum aliquid dicere aut, si nos talibus continuerimus ab litibus, obtinuisse se causam putent, victam sui vitio, non adsertorum silentio destitutam.
3 [they encouraged violence, and to oppose the moderation of envious speech, and loosen slanderous accusations, lest either they seem only for themselves, while they make promises to the people, or they say something great, even if we could avoid dialetics like these, they think that they can obtain a sacrifice for their own sin, a sacrifice not made poor by the silence of their crown achievements.]

 3. Neque enim negaverim validissimam esse accusationem istam hostilibusque condignos odiis nos esse, si apud nos esse constiterit causas per quas suis mundus aberravit ab legibus, exterminati sunt dii longe, examina tanta maerorum mortalium inportata sunt saeculis.
4 [You see, I won't have denied that the accusation--that we all were worthy of hatred and hostilities--was the most valid there could be, if someone among us had decided the reasons for which our world has strayed away from its laws; the gods have indeed been exterminated, and such terrible extermination has been carried out during the centuries of wretched mortals.]

2.1. Inspiciamus igitur opinionis istius mentem et hoc quod dicitur quale sit summotisque omnibus contentionum studiis, quibus obscurari et contegi contemplatio rerum solet, an sit istud quod dicitur verum, momentorum parium examinatione pendamus.
5 [So let us look upon the mind that holds this kind of opinion and that which is declared to belong to all the passions and emotions of argument, by which the contemplation of ideas are obscured and hidden, or let us think upon the concept that is called truth through an examination of parallel examples.]

 2. Efficietur enim profecto rationum consequentium copulatu,
[you see, completely has it been accomplished through the cooperation of consequential reasons,]

 ut non impii nos magis, sed illi ipsi repperiantur criminis istius rei,
[and the result? That not only do we find ourselves more wicked, but those men themselves more guilty of this kind of crime,]

 qui se numinum profitentur esse cultores atque inveteratis religionibus deditos.
[I mean the ones who profit from the fact that they are worshippers of divine powers, and adherents to long - standing faiths.]

3. Ac primum ab his illud familiari et placida oratione perquirimus:
[And, at first, we asked deeply about that very subject from men like these with a heart-warming and calm speech:

 postquam esse nomen in terris Christianae religionis | f.1b | occepit,
[after which time, the name of the Christian religion fell upon the world,]

 quidnam inusitatum, quid incognitum, quid contra leges principaliter institutas aut sensit
[so what unusual thing, what unknown thing, what thing contrary to ours laws, the ones originally established, did he sense,]

aut passa est rerum ipsa quae dicitur appellaturque natura?
[or did the very thing, which we call and name the 'universe', suffer?]

4. Numquid in contrarias qualitates prima illa elementa mutata sunt,
[Have any of these basic principles been changes into different forms,]

 ex quibus res omnes consensum est esse concretas?
[from which things we have agreed that all things have been grouped? ]

 5. numquid machinae huius et molis, qua universi tegimur et continemur inclusi,
[What of this kind of process and mass, through which we all are covered, and once locked in, we are contained,]

 parte est in aliqua relaxata aut dissoluta constructio?
[and where is any structure that has been loosened back and broken apart?]

numquid vertigo haec mundi, primigenii motus moderamen excedens, aut tardius repere aut praecipiti coepit volubilitate raptari?
[Is there anything like the confusion of the world, the motion of the firstborn that exceeds the temperance, either beginning to creep more tardily or head-over-heels snatched away through its tumbling?]

 6. numquid ab occiduis partibus attollere se astra atque in ortus fieri signorum coepta est inclinatio?
[And how did the rising of the signs begin to lift itself from regions of the West and become stars upon their emergence?]