Friday, April 29, 2011

Nepos, Epaminondas

Cornelius Nepos
100-24 BCE
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Republican Era/Golden Age of Latin Literature)


[1] EPAMINONDAS, Polymnidis filius. Thebanus.
[Epaminondas, son of Polymnides, was Theban.]

 De hoc priusquam scribimus,
[Before I write about this guy,]

 haec praecipienda videntur lectoribus,
[it seems that these things must be understood by the readers,]

ne alienos mores ad suos referant
[lest they perceive these men to be strange to their culture,]

neve ea, quae ipsis leviora sunt, pari modo apud ceteros fuisse arbitrentur.
[or lest these things that were less important to those same men, be thought to have been of the same nature in their own world.]

 2 Scimus enim musicen nostris moribus abesse a principis persona,
[You see, I know a musician is missing from my usual habits, from the character of this commander,]

saltare vero etiam in vitiis poni;
[and indeed, I even set to myself to dance upon his vices;]

 quae omnia apud Graecos et grata et laude digna ducuntur.
[these are all things though that are taken as both pleasing and praisworthy in the land of the Greeks.]

 3 Cum autem exprimere imaginem consuetudinis atque vitae velimus Epaminondae,
[In any even, since I wish to paint a picture of the Epaminondas' personality and life,]

nihil videmur debere praetermittere,
[I think that I ought not to skip over anything,]

 quod pertineat ad eam declarandam.
[that might pertain to these things that need by made clear.]

4 Quare dicemus primum de genere eius,
[And that's why I will first explain his type of personality,]

deinde, quibus disciplinis
 et a quibus sit eruditus;
[and then, with and by which disciplines he was instructed;]

tum de moribus ingeniique facultatibus,
[after than, his personal habits and talents of mind,]

 et si qua alia memoria digna erunt;
[and anything else that might by chance pop into my memory;]

postremo de rebus gestis,
[and last of all, his accomplishments,]

 quae a plurimis animi anteponuntur virtutibus.
[which are preceded by the great number of virtues his character possessed.]

[2] Natus est igitur patre, quo diximus, genere honesto,
[And so, he was born to a father of very humble background, as I've said,]

pauper iam a maioribus relictus,
[he was already left a pauper by his forefathers,]

eruditus autem sic ut nemo Thebanus magis.
[and yet, there was a no Theban man that was more well-brought up than he.]

Nam et citharizare et cantare ad chordarum sonum doctus est a Dionysio,
[You see, he learned from Dionysius how to play the harp, and sing to the tune of choral bands]

 qui non minore fuit in musicis gloria quam Damon aut Lamprus,
[as the latter was no less famous in the musical arts than Damon, or Lampros,]

 quorum pervulgata sunt nomina;
[whose reputations are very much well-known in public.]

 cantare tibiis ab Olympiodoro, saltare a Calliphrone.
[he learned how to play the flute from Olympiodorus, and to dance from Calliphrones.]

 2 At philosophiae praeceptorem habuit Lysim Tarentinum, Pythagoreum;
[On the other hand, he had for his instructor in philosophy, Lysis of Taranto, a member of the Pythagorean School;]

 cui quidem sic fuit deditus,
[a man to whom, in fact, he was so indebted,]

ut adulescens tristem ac severum senem omnibus aequalibus suis in familiaritate anteposuerit,
[that, as a young man, he valued this glum, severe-minded old man above all his peers among people he related with,]

 neque prius eum a se dimisit,
[and he never sent him away from his side any time before,]

 quam in doctrinis tanto antecessit condiscipulos,
[than when he excelled before his fellow classmates in their studies so far,]

ut facile intellegi posset pari modo superaturum omnes in ceteris artibus.
[that one could easily tell that he would one day surpass them all in like fashion in all the rest of life's challenges.]

3 Atque haec ad nostram consuetudinem sunt levia et potius contemnenda;
[And these things are also considered to be childish and rather contemnible to our customs;]

 at in Graecia utique olim magnae laudi erant.
[but at any rate, they were things worthy of great praise in Greece.]

4 Postquam ephebus est factus
[After he became a young man of military youth,]

 et palaestrae dare operam coepit,
[and began to concentrate his attention on the exercise grounds,]

 non tam magnitudini virium servivit quam velocitati.
[he did not find his advantage so much in the magnitude of his strengths, than from his sheer speed.] 

Illam enim ad athletarum usum, hanc ad belli existimabat utilitatem pertinere.
[You see, one used to think that the latter pertained to the practice of athletes, while the other pertained to its utility in battle.]

 5 Itaque exercebatur plurimum currendo et luctando ad eum finem,
[And so, all the more, did he practice running and fighting hand-to-hand to such a point,]

quoad stans complecti posset atque contendere.
[to such a point that he could wretch and fight back on his feet.]

In armis vero plurimum studii consumebat.
[In fact, he most of all was consumed by a desire to gain skills in battle.]

[3] Ad hanc corporis firmitatem plura etiam animi bona accesserant.
[And to this firmness of physical shape, a great many good qualities appeared in his personality.]

 Erat enim modestus, prudens, gravis, temporibus sapienter utens;
[You see, he was modest, prudent, serious-minded, and wisely constructive in crises;]

 peritus belli, fortis manu, animo maximo;
[he was experienced in battle, with a strong hand, and the greatest intelligence you can imagine;]

adeo veritatis diligens,
[he was so devoted to the truth,]

 ut ne ioco quidem mentiretur.
[that, in fact, he could even lie in jest.]

 2 Idem continens, clemens patiensque admirandum in modum, non solum populi,
[Likewise, he was moderate, merciful, and in an admirable way, patient not only with his people,]

 sed etiam amicorum ferens iniurias;
[but even when he suffered insults from his friends;]