Friday, March 4, 2011

Aulius Gellius, Attic Nights Book 1


Aulus Gellius
125-180 AD
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Imperial Era)

Quali proportione quibusque collectionibus Plutarchus ratiocinatum esse Pythagoram philosophum dixerit de comprehendenda corporis proceritate, qua fuit Hercules, cum vitam inter homines viveret

[Plutarch would have said that the philosopher Pythagoras once created the theory concerning how to understand the height of a person's body--for example, how tall Hercules was--
using his understanding of proportions and his memory--because Hercules lived his human life among human beings.]

1 Plutarchus in libro, quem de Herculis, quamdiu inter homines fuit, animi corporisque ingenio atque virtutibus conscripsit, scite subtiliterque ratiocinatum Pythagoram philosophum dicit in reperienda modulandaque status longitudinisque eius praestantia.

[In his book on Hercules, at least during the time the hero spent living among human beings, the author wrote about the talent and strengths of his mind and body, and in a wise and subtle manner, he mentions how the philosopher Pythagoras set his mind to discovering a theory and way to measure how much Hercules' stature and body excelled over others.]

2 Nam cum fere constaret curriculum stadii, quod est Pisis apud Iovem Olympium,

[You see, just as there a stadium almost always has a track, so the Pisis plays the same role on Jove's home on Mt. Olympus]

Herculem pedibus suis metatum idque fecisse longum pedes sescentos, cetera quoque stadia in terra Graecia ab aliis postea instituta pedum quidem esse numero sescentum, sed tamen esse aliquantulum breviora, facile intellexit modum spatiumque plantae Herculis ratione proportionis habita tanto fuisse quam aliorum procerius, quanto Olympicum stadium longius esset quam cetera. 3

[And with ease, Pythagoras figured out Hercules' speed, and that the Pisis was 600 feet in length, and also that while some Greek stadiums down on Earth might actually have been set up to be about 600 feet, still these were just a little bit shorter in distance--and so he calculated, using a proportional approximation, that by the same extent the track on Olympus was larger than other tracks, so the space and pace of Hercules' stride was greater than other men.]