Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nepos, Pelopidas

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


PELOPIDAS Thebanus, magis historicis quam vulgo notus.
[Pelopidas was a Theban, who was more known by historians than by the common public.]

 Cuius de virtutibus dubito, quemadmodum exponam,
[Of whose qualities I doubt that I could describe each and every one,]

 quod vereor;
[which is something I'm afraid of;]

 si res explicare incipiam,
[if I can describe the situation,]

 ne non vitam eius enarrare,
[and not only by laying out the account of his life,]

sed historiam videar scribere;
[but also if I can write a history;]

 si tantummodo summas attigero,
[if I could only touch upon the key details,]

 ne rudibus Graecarum litterarum minus dilucide appareat,
[that is, so that it not might appear less clear from a crude understanding of Greek literature,]

 quantus fuerit ille vir.
[about how great this man was.]

 Itaque utrique rei occurram,
[And so, on both accounts, let me run its course,]

 quantum potuero,
[as much as I can manage,]

 et medebor cum satietati tum ignorantiae lectorum.
[and since I will remedy both the satiety and ignorance of my readers.]

 2 Phoebidas Lacedaemonius cum exercitum Olynthum duceret
[When Phoebidas, the Spartan, lead his forces to Olynthus,]

iterque per Thebas faceret,
[and made his way through Thebes,]

 arcem oppidi, quae Cadmea nominatur, occupavit impulsu paucorum Thebanorum,
[he besieged the city's citadel, which is called the Cadmea,]

 qui, adversariae factioni quo facilius resisterent, Laconum rebus studebant, idque suo privato, non publico fecit consilio.
[he did this by his own choice, not from his people's advice, thinking that people would resist their opposing faction, and start to support the actions of the Spartans.]

 Quo facto eum Lacedaemonii ab exercitu removerunt
[But after this was done, the Spartans kicked him out of the army,]

 pecuniaque multarunt,
[and fined him a sum of money,]

 neque eo magis arcem Thebanis reddiderunt,
[nor did they restore the citadel to the Thebans anymore,]

 quod susceptis inimicitiis satius ducebant eos obsideri quam liberari.
[than that they could more satisfactorily have these men reduced through siegefare, than for them to be freed, after hostilities had began.] 

Nam post Peloponnesium bellum Athenasque devictas cum Thebanis sibi rem esse existimabant et eos esse solos,
[You see, after the Peloponnesian war, whereby Athens was completely beaten, they began to esteem that they shared a common affair with the Thebans, and these men were alone,]

qui adversus resistere auderent.
[even if they should dare to put up an resistence.]

 Hac mente amicis suis summas potestates dederant
[And with this intention, they bestowed the greatest powers to their associates,]

 alteriusque factionis principes partim interfecerant,
[and in part, had killed off the leading men of any opposing faction,]

 alios in exsilium eiecerant;
[and they cast other men into exile.]

 in quibus Pelopidas hic, de quo scribere exorsi sumus, pulsus patria carebat.
[and among these men, Pelopidas, at this point, after he was cast out, was deprived of his nation, and it's at this point that I've begun to write my account.]

[2] Hi omnes fere Athenas se contulerant,
[Almost all of these men had moved themselves to Athens,]

non quo sequerentur otium,
[for because they could live in peace there,]

sed ut, quem ex proximo locum fors obtulisset, eo patriam recuperare niterentur.
[but that they could fight to restore their nation, that is, the place that chance had previously passed over from their neighbor.]

Itaque cum tempus est visum rei gerendae,
[And so, when the time to carry this affair out appeared,]

 communiter cum iis, qui Thebis idem sentiebant,
[when in alliance with those men who likewise sympathized with the Thebans,]

 diem delegerunt ad inimicos opprimendos civitatemque liberandam eum,
[they assigned a day to attack their enemies, and liberate their city,]

 quo maximi magistratus simul consuerant epulari.
[on which the leading officials of the government had grown accustomed to dine together.]

 3 Magnae saepe res non ita magnis copiis sunt gestae;
[Often great affairs were not carried out by so great numbers of resources,]

sed profecto numquam tam ab tenui initio tantae opes sunt profligatae.
[but in every respect, never had so much of their resources been frittered away in such a scant amount of time.]

Nam duodecim adulescentuli coierunt ex iis,
[You see, 12 young youths meet from among these folks,]

qui exsilio erant multati,
[who had been previously punished with exile,]

 cum omnino non essent amplius centum,
[while there was not more than a round hundred,]

qui tanto se offerrent periculo.
[who would offer to face such great danger.]

 4 Qua paucitate percussa est Lacedaemoniorum potentia.
[But by this paucity of men, the power of the Spartans was thoroughly beaten.] 

 Hi enim non magis adversariorum factioni quam Spartanis eo tempore bellum intulerunt,
[You see, these men waged war, at that time, no more against the faction of their opponents, than against the Spartans,]

qui principes erant totius Graeciae;
[that is, whoever were the leading men of all of Greece;]

quorum imperii maiestas, neque ita multo post, Leuctrica pugna ab hoc initio perculsa concidit.
[there majesty taken from their control of the state, struck up a dust-up with Leuctra, from this very beginning, nor was it very much afterward.]

 5 Illi igitur duodecim, quorum dux erat Pelopidas, cum Athenis interdiu exissent,
[Therefore, those famous twelve men, whose leader was Pelopidas, when they had left a little from Athens,]